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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Vici grants worth 1.5 million euros to four prominent UvA researchers Rene Gerritsma, Erik Rietveld, Floris Roelofsen and Chris Slootweg. The grants will enable them to develop innovative lines of research and set up their own research groups over the next five years.

The UvA laureates

Dr R. (Rene) Gerritsma (Institute of Physics) - A programmable quantum simulator
One of the best miniature quantum computers around is formed by ions in electric fields. A major challenge is to increase its size while maintaining control over them. Gerritsma will employ optical tweezers to scale up the system and to programme the interactions in a new way.

Prof. E.D.W. Rietveld (AMC – Philosophy) - Change-Ability for a world in flux
Climate change, social cohesion and the pandemic require collective behavioural change, they require what Rietveld calls "Change-Ability". This philosophical research uses insights into the role that the environment plays in everyday action to understand societal change. Rietveld studies material interventions by experimental architects that increase people's openness to surprising possibilities for collective change.

Dr F. Roelofsen (Semantics and philosophy of language) - I can't hear you - Could you repeat the question in sign language please?
The language barrier between deaf and hearing people hinders smooth communication and leads to social inequality and exclusion. Roelofsen will investigate the form and interpretation of questions in sign languages, and apply the obtained insights to develop a machine translation system and training sessions for sign language interpreters.

Dr J.C. (Chris) Slootweg (Van ’t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences) - Enabling the sustainable use of phosphorus
Phosphorus compounds are essential for life on earth and play a prominent role in modern science and technology, yet their current production routes are not sustainable. This project will use P-based waste as a resource to contribute to decreasing environmental pollution and create high-value products using novel, eco-friendly methods.

NWO Talent Scheme

The Vici grant is one of three funding instruments within the Talent Scheme. The other two instruments are the Veni and Vidi grants. Vici grants target 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.