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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vici grants worth 1.5 million euros to UvA researchers Jason Hessels, Christof Monz and Roger Laeven. The grants will enable them to develop innovative lines of research and set up their own research groups over the next five years. Vici is one of the largest scientific grants for individuals in the Netherlands and targets advanced researchers.

A total of 32 researchers received a Vici grant.

The UvA recipients

Dr Jason Hessels (Astronomy) – Fast & Furious Astrophysics
Extreme astronomical sources push our understanding of basic (astro)physics to the limit. Using a unique network of radio telescopes that span the globe, Hessels and his fellow astronomers aim to solve the riddle of what powers a recently discovered and mysterious phenomenon: the furiously energetic `fast radio bursts’ that originate deep in extragalactic space.

Dr Christof Monz (Informatics) – Multi-Parallel Neural Machine Translation
Multilingual neural machine translation offers exciting possibilities for achieving interlingual representations. However, current approaches only accomplish this under limited conditions. In this project, Monz proposes novel translation models that will allow for the exploitation of multi-parallel corpora, resulting in better interlingual representations and better translation quality.

Professor Roger Laeven (Econometrics) – 21st-Century Risks: Tackling the Complex Interplay of Risks in Time and Space
The most important global risks we currently face are those of a financial, climate or cyber crisis. These risks are characterised by the feedback loops that generate them and are surrounded by pervasive uncertainty. This research will develop innovative concepts, methods and techniques to model and measure these 21st-century risks.

About Vici: Talent Scheme
The Vici grant targets highly experienced researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research, and to act as coaches for young researchers. Vici provides researchers with the opportunity to set up their own research group, often in anticipation of a tenured professorship. The Vici grant is one of three funding instruments within the Talent Scheme. The other two instruments are the Veni grant (for recently graduated PhDs, up to 3 years after graduation) and the Vidi grant (for experienced postdocs, up to 8 years after graduation).