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Eleven scientists from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Academic Medical Centre (AMC-UvA) will each receive an €800,000 Vidi grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), to develop their own innovative line of research and set up a dedicated research group.


This round, NWO allocated grants to 87 of the 572 eligible research proposals submitted.

Grant allocations


  • Dr Mehdi Habibi (Institute of Physics): Crumpled membranes have surprisingly useful properties
    One of the methods used to develop materials with special characteristics (meta-materials) is an 'origami technique' which involves the clever folding-up of thin layers of material. But even crumpled or wadded layers can have unexpected properties, with uses in a range of applications. Habibi will first analyse the fundamental properties of crumpled layers, before using them to create a meta-material.


  • Dr Danielle van den Heuvel (Amsterdam School of Historical Studies): Women on the street
    Many historians believe that women disappeared from life on the street between 1600 and 1850. In this project, Van den Heuvel will examine whether this is really the case, and look at the factors that influenced women's access to public spaces in two different cities: Amsterdam and Edo (Japan).


  • Dr Jill Hilditch (Amsterdam School for Heritage, Memory and Material Culture): Tracing the potter’s wheel in the Bronze Age Aegean
    Hilditch will conduct research into the spread of the potter's wheel in the Aegean region during the Bronze Age. To do so, she will study the mobility of people, objects and ideas in order to shed new light on how new, innovative technologies were applied in prehistoric societies.


  • Dr Kees Hovingh (AMC): The origin of familial hypercholesterolemia
    Familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH) is a hereditary condition characterised by excessive levels of LDL-cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to cardiovascular disease. In 5-10% of FH patients, the cause is unknown. Hovingh intends to determine the multifactorial causes and ramifications of this type of FH.


  • Dr Tom van der Meer (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, AISSR): From a crisis of political trust to a crisis of democracy
    Although politicians, journalists and academics have been claiming for decades that a drop in political trust is damaging to the stability of democracy, the effects have never been empirically studied. In his project, Van der Meer will systematically test the effects and mechanisms of political crises of trust at the micro, meso and macro levels (citizens, political elites and regimes, respectively) via experiments, content analysis, in-depth interviews and panel research.


  • Dr Jan Molenaar (AMC-UvA): Combining targeted compounds in neuroblastoma tumors; is two better than one?
    Neuroblastomas are childhood tumours with a patient mortality rate of over 50%. While new drugs are being developed, they cannot cure the patient on their own (i.e. as monotherapies). Molenaar wishes to use model systems to demonstrate that a cure is possible using combination therapy.


  • Dr Tiddo Mooibroek (Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences): Supramolecular catalysts for the one-pot selective synthesis of carbohydrate derivatives
    Creating the kinds of sugar molecules required for research into processes such as infection and cancer is laborious and costly. Mooibroek intends to manufacture catalysts that will make the process significantly easier and less expensive. Read more about Tiddo Mooibroek's research


  • Dr Katja Peijnenburg (Naturalis & Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics): The fate of sea butterflies in acidic waters
    Sea butterflies, sea angels and sea elephants are special groups of snails that have adapted to life in the open ocean. However, oceans are now changing faster than ever, becoming warmer and more acidic. Peijnenburg will study whether these spectacular snails will be able to adapt, and whether they may lose their shells. Her project will be based at Naturalis.


  • Dr. Enzo Rossi (AISSR): Legitimacy Beyond Consent
    It is often stated that democracy is in a crisis of legitimacy due to being under fire from two sides: both from the supranational authority of the European Union and the transnational political power of corporations. Rossi is developing a new theory of legitimacy in order to meet these challenges.


  • Dr Rachel Spronk (AISSR): Sexuality and the Making of the Middle Class: A Comparative Study of Desire and Status in Three African Countries
    While global media have ‘discovered’ emerging middle classes in Africa, this project will investigate their historical roots by focusing on the four contentious questions of homosexuality, female circumcision, polygyny and bridewealth. It will study the interface between sexuality and the middle class, examining problematic assumptions behind both terms, and theorise the middle class as a desirable position and thus as a classification in the making, emerging from (shifting) ideas of distinction.


  • Dr Joost Wiersinga (AMC): Intestinal flora against pneumonia
    Intestinal flora helps defend against harmful bacteria. Wiersinga aims to find out which intestinal bacteria can aid recovery from pneumonia, and whether they can be applied as treatment. Pneumonia is the most common fatal infectious disease in the world.

Impulse for innovation

Vidi grants allow researchers to conduct research for up to five years, and are awarded to experienced researchers who have already conducted several years of successful research following their PhD. Together the Veni, Vidi and Vici grants form part of the NWO Impulse for Innovation, a programme that is open to funding proposals by researchers on original subjects. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of their prior research, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the proposal and opportunities for knowledge application.