ERC Ideas Starting Grants

Who ResearchFacultyYear
Rik Peels 2020When is someone a fundamentalist? And to what extent can fundamentalists be held responsible? Philosopher and theologian Rik Peels develops an epistemology and ethics of fundamentalism. Existing explanations of fundamentalism in terms of poverty, social isolation, and psychiatric diseases are widely acknowledged to fall short. This project works with the hypothesis that most fundamentalists are relatively normal, healthy, rational human beings. It focuses on fundamentalist beliefs, since many fundamentalists seem to act from sincere beliefs. Based on philosophical inquiry, tested by a wide variety of case studies, this project will develop a new normative-theoretical framework for better understanding and preventing fundamentalism.FRT / FGW
Freek van Ede 2020Memory regards the past but serves the future. Cognitive psychologist and neuroscientist Freek van Ede will investigate not only how our brains maintain visual information in short-term memory (also known as working memory), but also how it dynamically transforms our memories in light of anticipated goals, to ensure optimal readiness for future behaviour.FGB2019
Wouter Halfwerk 2018
Evolutionary biologist Wouter Halfwerk is planning to research how animal communication systems adapt to the changing environment in urban areas. Scientists know that the appearance of many city-dwelling animal species is different from that of forest or rural animals, but what exactly causes this or whether there is an evolutionary adaptation is not yet known.
AnneliesVredeveldt 2018
In our multicultural society, more and more people have to give their eyewitness accounts of serious crimes to investigators and legal professionals from a different cultural background. In many court cases, eyewitness accounts are the only available evidence. Incomplete and inaccurate eyewitness reports can lead to incorrect convictions or unjustified acquittals. To counter this, legal psychologist Annelies Vredeveldt wants to investigate how culturally dependent variables influence the memory of eyewitnesses.
EvaMMerz 2018
Why do people repeatedly help strangers, even if this involves personal costs? Sociologist Eva-Maria Merz indicates that earlier research into pro-social behaviour has its shortcomings: it is contradictory, fragmented across different disciplines or limited to research within one country, no account is taken of contextual influences, and the dynamic character of pro-social behaviour is not recognized. According to Merz, an integrated model is needed, taking into account these elements. With her ERC Starting Grant, she wants to further develop and test this model using the example of blood donation.
Evelyn Ersanilli
Migrants who do low-skilled work, for example in construction or agriculture, are often in a vulnerable position. They work under hazardous conditions, receive little or no payment and have poor housing. The research project of Evelyn Ersanilli looks at what the countries of origin of low-skilled migrants do to improve the position of these migrants.
Janne Koornneef
Janne Koornneef wants to find out what quantities of volatile substances, sediments and oceanic crust are transported in the deep mantle, or are returned, ie 'recycled' to the earth's crust and atmosphere. The current global recycling flux estimates, including carbon, are contradictory. That is why a new, more accurate approach to their quantification is of great importance.
Jasmin BlanchetteJasmin Blanchette is developing a new generation of automatic theorem provers that will be able to derive theorems in expressive logics, with applications to verification of software and design of programming languages.SCIENCE
Nadia DominiciNadia Dominici investigates the neural mechanism underlying the emergence of walking in children. She aims in particular to elucidate the reorganization of the brain and the muscular activity accompanying the altered development of walking in children with locomotor impairments. She aims to apply the results of these studies to the identification of optimal rehabilitation techniques for children with cerebral palsy.FGB2016
Nienke van AtteveldtNienke van Atteveldt investigates the interplay between the beliefs students have about their learning abilities (their mindset) and their actual learning, and whether the neural processing of feedback explains this interplay.FGB2016
Jopshua TyburJosh Tybur researches how people detect and respond to pathogens, and how these anti-pathogen strategies influence our personality, our health behaviors, and our attitudes toward foods.FGB2015
Jorien VonkJorien Vonk investigates the release of organic matter from thawing permafrost into aquatic systems, and the role this has on global climate.SCIENCE
Tom Grossman

Tom Grossmann works on peptide-inspired bioactive molecules that are used to disrupt interactions between proteins and RNA. Such molecules hold the potential to serve as blue prints for new therapeutic agents.

daniel Balliet 2015Daniel Balliet investigates how people infer their interdependence with others in social interactions, and the role this has in regulating cooperation.FGB2014
Stefan WitteStefan Witte develops methods to do microscopy without using lenses, enabling miniaturised imaging systems and soft-X-ray microscopes.SCIENCE2014
Toby Kiers Toby Kiers investigates how plants and fungal partners employ economic strategies to optimize the trade of nutrient resources.SCIENCE
Thomas Wurdinger Thomas Wurdinger investigates the crosstalk dissection of brain tumors and normal stem cells.  VUmc2013 
Sonja Utz examines whether and how the use of social media (can) help people to receive more emotional support and non-redundant information.FSW2012
Peter Verburg investigates how human agency can be represented in global land change models.SCIENCE2012
Guido van der Werf investigates how deforestation impacts the global carbon cycle and the climate system.SCIENCE2011 
Sander Koole investigates how people can use the body to manage their emotions. FGB2011 
Jacqueline Vink studies the complex interplay of genes and environmental influences in substance use (nicotine, alcohol, caffein and cannabis) and addiction. FGB2011 
emptyemptyemptyRoberta Croce studies the molecular mechanisms that allow photosynthetic organisms to deal with fluctuating environmental conditions.SCIENCE2011
Little is known on how activity of neurons in the brain is orchestrated to focus our thoughts and direct our attention. Huib Mansvelder uses an optogenetics approach to uncover causal relations underlying neuronal control of attention behaviour.SCIENCE2011
Most software is only available in binary form - without source code. Herbert Bos works on novel techniques for reverse engineering, to enable one to map an existing binary back to readable source code.SCIENCE2010
Molecular machines constantly process DNA. Gijs Wuite reconstructs these processes in a test tube and investigates them using the tools and methods of physicists.SCIENCE2010
emptyCaroline Waerzeggers conducted research on the degree to which post-exilic changes in the practice of worship and social organization in Jerusalem were inspired by Babylonian models during her stay at VU University Amsterdam.FGW
emptyArianna Betti is rewriting Tarski’s semantic revolution through the inclusion of axiomatic developments from Bolzano to the Polish school of logic.FGB
emptyBas van der Klaauw conducts research on the effect of government interventions in the labour market and the relationship between health and labour market results.SBE
emptyemptyDavide Iannuzzi is developing a new technology in the field of scale-model devices: the ‘fiber-top’ technology. SCIENCE2008
emptyemptyRick Bethem is creating a molecule fountain in which molecules are slowed down, cooled and launched 10-50 cm before they fall back again as a result of gravity.SCIENCE2008
Hagit Amirav is focusing in her research on the history of the interpretation of the bible; rhetoric in the broadest sense of the word.FRT2008
 emptySabrina Corbellini conductes research on the ‘late-Middle Ages cultural revolution’ and its socio-cultural context: the production, dissemination and use of the bible in the vernacular during her stay at VU University Amsterdam.FGW