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Four scientists from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Academic Medical Center (AMC-UvA) have received a Vici grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO).

Dr Hilde Huizinga, Prof. Esther Lutgens, Prof. Sergey Shadrin and Dr Khalil Sima'an will each receive one and a half million euros for the next five years in order to conduct research.

The assessment criteria are:

  • quality of the researcher;
  • quality, innovative character and academic impact of the research proposal;
  • knowledge utilisation.

This year, 218 researchers submitted a short pre-proposal for a Vici grant. In total, 32 research proposals were approved in this selection round.

The successful UvA proposals:

Hoe beslissen kinderen en adolescenten (How do children and adolescents decide)
Children and adolescents use simple strategies to make decisions. To better understand these strategies, Hilde Huizinga (Psychology) mathematically model decision behaviour and brain activity during decision making.

 

Ontstekingscellen in vet-gedreven aandoeningen (Inflammatory cells in fat-driven disorders)

Arteriosclerosis and obesity are fat-driven diseases in which inflammatory reactions play an important role. Strangely enough, nobody knows how inflammatory cells do their work in a fatty environment. Esther Lutgens (AMC) will research how inflammatory cells behave in fat-driven diseases.

 

Vergelijkingen en ruimten van oppervlakken (Differential equations and moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces)
It turns out that the universal properties of the solutions of a large class of differential equations are reflected in the of the moduli spaces of Riemann surfaces. Sergey Shadrin (Korteweg-de Vries Institute for Mathematics) will look for the origin of this correspondence and will try to prove it in the greatest possible generality.

 

Computers die in eigen woorden vertalen (Computers that translate in their own words)

When a human translator is about to translate a completely new text, he or she often considers the option of  reformulating the text in his or her own words. The current translation engines deliver poor quality translations because they are unable to understand the text and subsequently translate it in their own words. Khalil Sima'an (Institute for Logic, Language and Computation) is going to develop a new translation machine that is able to translate texts using its own words. 

About the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme

Vici is one of the three forms of financing that together comprise of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme aimed at experienced researchers. The other two are Veni (for researchers who have recently received their PhD) and Vici(for experienced postdocs). The scheme was set up in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), the Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and Dutch universities.