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Four UvA and AMC academics have been awarded Vici grants worth up to €1.5 million by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), to pursue research into topics ranging from political masculinities to tension in blood vessels. The grants will enable the laureates 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. The funding enables academics to pursue research of their own choice. This gives innovative research a boost and encourages the promotion of talent at scientific research institutes. Overall, 35 Vici grants were awarded by NWO.

The recipients at UvA

Miranda Cheng (Mathematics/Physics) - Topology in Mathematics and Physics
Topology is the study of shapes, focusing on persistent features unchanged by deformations. Cheng’s project is inspired by topology’s fundamental role in mathematics and physics. Cheng will adopt an innovative approach facilitated by rapid advances in theories and computing. Employing artificial intelligence (AI), topological invariants will be decoded, revealing hidden correlations. AI-driven computational tools for systems will be created with non-trivial topology, set to impact fields from mathematics to fundamental physics and engineering.

Liza Mügge (Political Science) - Political masculinities in Europe
Politics is traditionally a man's world. Despite much progress in recent years, most politicians are still men. What knowledge we have about gender and inequality in politics is mainly based on counting women and men. In contrast, the underlying gendered norms about behaviour that is considered inappropriate and appropriate - political masculinities- are not well understood. Mügge’s research will reveal how political masculinities change or persist among voters, elected politicians, leaders, and aspirants.

Maartje van Gelder (Early Modern History) - Daily Bread. Or: who owns the past?
Van Gelder will investigate how regular people, men and women, influenced politics before they had the right to vote. And how their stories were recorded or silenced in the archive, thus determining how history has been written. She will do so by examining food protests, often led by women, in Dutch, Italian and Ottoman cities in the period between 1500-1800, when the Little Ice Age caused bad weather, poor harvests, and frequent famines.

Stephan Huveneers (AMC) - Tension in blood vessels
The endothelial cells within blood vessels are closely linked through molecular connections. Recent discoveries show that tension can generate protective signals at these connections. These signals safeguard blood vessel integrity, for instance, in response to changes in blood pressure. However, during the onset of cardiovascular disease these connections are damaged, resulting in leaky blood vessels. Huveneers’ project will study how endothelial cells respond to tension and stiffness and search for possibilities to counteract vascular leakage in disease.