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UvA researcher Esther Peeren and AMC-UvA researcher Charles Agyemang have been awarded prestigious Consolidator Grants from the European Research Council (ERC). The grants, awarded to individual researchers, are worth about €2 million per project.

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The Consolidator Grant is meant for young researchers who obtained their PhDs between 7 and 12 years ago. The grants enable researchers to consolidate their position as independent researchers.

Charles Agyemang, associate professor of Public Health (Academic Medical Center, AMC-UvA)

Title: Hypertension susceptibility in African migrants: solving the puzzle through a transcontinental prospective cohort study design

Hypertension is the most important modifiable cardiovascular risk factor. Migrants, especially people of Sub-Saharan African heritage, are extremely affected for reasons that are unclear. This project aims to understand the mechanisms underlying the high risk of hypertension among African migrants by assessing the role of epigenetic modifications that result from rapid socio-environmental and behaviour change. To achieve this, Agyemang and his team will establish an innovative transcontinental prospective cohort study of a homogeneous group of African migrants (Ghanaians) living in the Netherlands and non-migrant Ghanaians living in rural and urban Ghana. This will yield new insights into the key drivers of hypertension and deliver a major breakthrough in knowledge about prevention and treatment among this and other population groups.

Esther Peeren, associate professor of Literary and Cultural Analysis (FGw)

Title: Imagining the rural in a globalising world

Esther Peeren
Photo: Eduard Lampe

With globalisation primarily considered an urban phenomenon, its impact on rural areas has largely been neglected. Tackling this blind spot is urgent as rural-urban divides persist and rural communities, notably in the 2016 Brexit referendum and the US presidential election, claim their concerns about globalisation are being ignored. Using a comparative approach, the project examines the crucial role played by cultural imaginations of the rural in literature, film and television in determining what aspects of contemporary rural life do and do not become visible, which affects how the rural can be mobilised politically. The countries compared are the UK, the US, the Netherlands, China and South Africa.