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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has granted an ‘Investment Subsidy NWO Medium’ to four researchers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Academic Medical Center (AMC-UvA).

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has granted an ‘Investment Subsidy NWO Medium' to four researchers at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Academic Medical Center (AMC-UvA). Dr Maarten Marx, Prof. Cyriel Pennartz, Dr Przemek Krawczyk and Dr Peter Hordijk have each received a subsidy. They will be able to use the money to buy equipment and set up data collections, associated software and bibliographies.

In total, the NWO has granted 31 subsidies, with a total investment of 10 million euros. It received 79 applications, which were assessed by university staff in the Netherlands and abroad.

Many researchers depend on large pieces of equipment, data collections and new software to carry out their work, whether in scientific and technical fields, social and behavioural sciences or the humanities. With its Investment Subsidy NWO Medium, the NWO finances such large acquisitions, which tend to be too costly for individual groups. These acquisitions are vital to upholding the standing of Dutch academic research.

The UvA/AMC-UvA grants

Political mashup - Dr Maarten Marx (Institute of Computer Science, Faculty of Science)
Maarten Marx is working on bringing together an enormous quantity of political data, including reports of parliamentary discussions and political biographies. This new data infrastructure will offer insights into many interesting social issues. A case in point is the question of the nature of influence: Do particular discourses first appear in the media, or in politics?

Multi-area ensemble recording systems for investigating neural substrates of cognition - Prof. C Pennartz
Although cognitive processes such as memory, attention and perception depend on the electrical activity of large groups of brain cells, most measurement techniques are restricted to the activity of just one cell or several cells. Cyriel Pennartz is using ‘ensemble' measurement equipment to gain insight into how areas of the brain, and brain cells, work together during cognitive processes.

Measuring DNA damage - Dr Przemek Krawczyk (AMC-UvA)
Przemek Krawczyk is developing a high-throughput instrument to induce specific types of micrometre-level DNA damage in parts of cell nuclei. This innovative device will make it possible to treat thousands of cells at once, monitoring responses in individual cells using an integrated microscope and then analysing them in detail. The device will help to unravel the myriad of molecular and cellular DNA repair processes and provide some fundamental information about how repair errors contribute to processes of malignant cell transformation, which is an unwanted side-effect of cancer therapy.

Measuring nano-scale signals in normal and malignant blood cells and blood stem cells - Dr Peter Hordijk (AMC-UvA)
Biochemical analysis of stem cells is often impossible because these cells exist in such limited numbers. A new technique, based on unravelling the contents of the cell in glass capillary tubes with a volume of just 400 nanolitres, has now made it possible to measure specific signals in stem cells or other rare cells in small numbers (less than 1000).