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Research in the fields of mathematics and computing science at the UvA has received a major boost with the announcement that the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), Jet Bussemaker, has awarded a grant of €22. 7 million to the ‘Networks’ research project. Headed by UvA mathematician Michel Mandjes, the ‘Networks’ project will focus on large-scale networks, ranging from digital networks to traffic, transport and energy networks. The researchers who will take part in this project will address some of the most pressing challenges posed by these networks.


Creating school timetables and transport schedules, ensuring that the most efficient and optimal routes are used by delivery vehicles, determining prime locations for factories and distribution points, predicting the three-dimensional structure of proteins: all of these are classic examples of large-scale networks. For the most part, these types of networks are inadequately prepared for unexpected events. The ‘Networks’ project is aimed at modelling, understanding, managing and optimising complex and extremely changeable networks. The research will be carried out by a consortium in which eleven researchers from the following four institutions will join forces: the UvA, the Centre for Mathematics and Computing Science (Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica, CWI), Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) and Leiden University (UL).  

Fundamental and socially relevant

Michiel Mandjes, professor of Applied Probability at the UvA: ‘This is a huge success for mathematics in the Netherlands. My co-applicants and I have jointly worked on this ambitious research proposal. The fact that it has been awarded this grant clearly indicates that we are among the very best within our research fields. We can’t wait to start with this research project, which will produce cutting-edge research at a fundamental level whilst also staying firmly rooted in the world around us.’

Professor Dymph van den Boom, the UvA’s Rector Magnificus, calls the grant ‘wonderful news’. ‘I am extremely proud of our professors, Michel Mandjes, Harry Buhrman and Lex Schrijver, and their co-applicants. Fundamental research will eventually lead to many applications in society. That is the power of this project.’


The co-applicants of this project are: Prof. Mark de Berg (TU/e), Prof. Sem Borst (TU/e), Prof. Onno Boxma (TU/e), Prof. Harry Burhman (CWI and UvA), Prof. Remco van der Hofstad (TU/e), Prof. Frank den Hollander (UL), Prof. Ton Koonen (TU/e), Prof. Johan van Leeuwaarden (TU/e), Prof. Lex Schrijver (CWI and UvA) and Prof. Gerhard Woeginger (TU/e). Mandjes will lead the consortium. The UvA will be the lead organisation for the project.


Through the Gravitation programme (Zwaartekracht), the Minister of OCW will be able to give world-class Dutch researchers the opportunity to conduct groundbreaking research which could lead to international breakthroughs. An international committee was established by the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for the purpose of assessing the various proposals. A total of six consortiums – in which prominent researchers from various Dutch universities collaborate – have jointly received €153 million for long-term and extensive research.