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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a Vidi grant to nine researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC-UvA).

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a Vidi grant to nine researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Amsterdam Medical Center (AMC-UvA). This will give them the opportunity to develop their own line of research and establish their own private research groups. Each scientist will receive a maximum of 800,000 euros. In total, the NWO accepted 94 applications in this funding round.

The Vidi grant is aimed at outstanding researchers who, after obtaining their doctorates, have conducted successful research for several years. The scientists are among the best ten to twenty percent in their field of study. A Vidi grant will enable them to conduct research for five years. The Vidi grant is part of the NWO's Innovational Impulse programme which consists of the Veni, Vidi and Vici grants.

The awards

■ Dr Shin'ichiro Ando (Theoretical Physics): Revealing dark matter with gamma rays
Dark matter is the dominant matter component in the universe, but its identity is yet to be uncovered. Dr Shin'ichiro Ando will use gamma rays to reveal the nature of this matter. In addition, he will focus his research on developing theoretical models and analysing telescope data.

■ Dr Elma Blom (Linguistics): Do all children benefit from bilingualism?
Bilingual children make more rapid cognitive development than monolingual children. Does this also apply to children who were bilingual during their youth? And what about bilingual children with language disorder? In her research, Elma Blom is searching for an answer to these questions. The results will contribute to early recognition of bilingual children with a language disorder.


■ Dr Geoffrey Compère (Physics): What is in a black hole?
Black holes are the simplest objects which can be explained by both gravity and quantum mechanics. Physics focuses on understanding the structure of these objects. Geoffrey Compère will develop a new method for this purpose.


■ Dr Birte Forstmann (Psychology): When the brain takes a break: a model-based cognitive neuroscience account of task-unrelated thoughts
Our daily life is permeated with task-unrelated thoughts (TUTs), lapses of attention where the mind starts to wander. Despite the high frequency of TUTs, we know little about what exactly happens when our brain takes a break. This research project aims to develop a quantitative framework to capture psychological mechanisms that drive TUTs.

■ Dr Jeroen Guikema (Pathology): Cut-up DNA in immune cells and leukemia
Immune cells use genetic cutting and pasting to make an enormous range of antibodies. When the cutting work gets out of hand, this can lead to leukemia. In this research, Jeroen Guikema will map out the genetic damage of this cutting process to gain insight into the regulation of this process.


■ Dr Jaklien Leemans (Pathology): Unmasking fat structures in the kidney
The function of the kidneys in fat metabolism is largely unknown. Researchers’ use of electron microscopy had led to the discovery of new lipid structures in kidney cells as a result of a high-fat diet. But what role do these structures play in obesity or food shortages? Jaklien Leemans will focus on this question.


■ Prof. Saskia Middeldorp (Vascular Medicine): Blood-curdling scenes in reproduction
If blood clots too quickly, it increases fertility, but the resulting pregnancy often fails. In this research, Saskia Middeldorp will examine if blood thinning medication miscarriage prevention. In the laboratory it will consider how blood clotting and reproductive exactly related.


■ Dr Christof Monz (Computer Science): Puzzling with translations
Automatic translation is becoming increasingly important in a globalizing world. Present translation systems are still of poor quality. The researchers approached this problem by developing new methods that will result in translations with higher grammatical and substantive quality.


■ Dr Cees Snoek (Computer Science): Which video stories?
Video images are only findable when people describe the content in advance. In this research, Cees Snoek will teach computers how to recognise video images which have not been given descriptions, on the basis of people, objects and scenes which can be recognised and their interaction.