The researchers will receive up to €800,000 each in order to develop their
own innovative line of research and establish a research group.
- Dr Robin Celikates (Philosophy): Civil disobedience: democratic, global,
Civil disobedience has played a key role in the history of democracy.
Prominent examples include Dr Martin Luther King and others. How has civil
disobedience changed over time? Celikates's research focuses on the challenges
of democratisation, globalisation and the digitisation of disobedience at the
start of the 21st century.
- Dr Michiel van Groesen (History): News from the New World
The first printed newspapers were filled with news from the New World. News of
the struggle for control over Brazil and the annual arrival of the Silver Fleet
was followed closely at home. Van Groesen is studying the dynamics of
transatlantic news correspondence in the new media of the Golden Age.
- Dr Judith Rispens (Linguistics): Rules are (language) rules! But how do
we learn them?
Young children can learn the rules of their mother tongue without having
received any explicit explanation. This study will see Rispens identify the
neurological processes underlying this innate ability.
- Dr Joris de Groot (Cardiology): The role of connective tissue in atrial
Atrial fibrillation is the most common cardiac arrhythmia and is caused by the
build-up of connective tissue in the left atrium. De Groot will be studying the
build-up and degradation of connective tissue in patients' atria, in order to
determine whether atrial fibrillation can be cured through treatment of the
- Dr Max Nieuwdorp (Internal and Vascular Medicine): Bacteria: from
unwanted intestinal guests to perpetrators of diabetes
Obesity tends to cause the inflammation of abdominal fat tissue, and this
inflammation triggers the onset of diabetes in obese people. Nieuwdorp will be
working to determine whether specific intestinal bacteria cause this
inflammation and identify potential treatments.
- Dr Carol Ann Remme (Experimental Cardiology): Complex electrical
conduction in the heart
Sodium channels in the cardiac muscle cells are responsible for ensuring normal
electrical conduction in the heart. A disruption of their normal operation can
cause life-threatening cardiac dysrhythmia. Remme will be working to describe
the complexity and diversity of these sodium channels' composition, structure
Social and Behavioural Sciences
- Dr Daniel Mügge (Political Science): The politics of economic
Key figures such as inflation and unemployment are the basis of our economic
policies. Although these figures are generally objective, the way in which we
measure our economies in practice is anything but logical. Mügge is researching
why governments choose specific measurement formulas over others.
- Dr Sanne de Wit (Psychology): The brain on autopilot
We often fail to stick to our resolutions because it takes a lot of effort to
unlearn old behaviour and gradually automate new patterns. De Wit will be
working to determine whether the human brain can skip this demanding process by
strategically switching to autopilot.
- Prof. Rens Vliegenthart (Communication Science): The media's role in the
General perceptions of the economic crisis are often based on the news media
rather than actual first-hand experience. Vliegenthart will be assessing how
these media stories take shape and determining their effect on economic and
- Dr Renée van Amerongen (Molecular Cytology): The eternal life of stem
Stem cells seem to have an ability to keep dividing endlessly. This remarkable
property is crucial to our body's ability to repair tissue and other forms of
physical damage. However, the process is also highly regulated. In an attempt to
gain a clearer understanding of stem cell activity, Van Amerongen will be
identifying the relevant control mechanisms.
- Dr Alejandra Castro (Theoretical Physics): Gravity as a hologram
Black holes open up a radical possibility: our universe as a hologram. Castro's
project is aimed at exploring the consequences of holography. As a part of his
central research question, he will be examining how geometry is rooted in
- Dr Merijn Kant (Molecular and Chemical Ecology): Liberating
Some parasites have the ability to suppress the natural resistance mechanisms of
tomato plants. Kant will be studying this Achilles' heel and selecting tomato
plants that cannot be suppressed. He will then be applying this property to
liberate tomatoes from the stranglehold of natural pests.
- Dr Joris Mooij (Informatics): The search for cause and effect
Which online advertisements will yield optimal results? Do austerity measures
help reduce government debt? How do tumour cells respond to specific chemical
substances? Mooij is currently developing a new theory and efficient algorithms
in order to facilitate this type of causal prediction.
- Dr Chris Ormel (Astronomy): Origins of super-Earths
Super-Earths are a new, commonly occurring type of extrasolar planets. They are
large and in close orbit around their host stars. Ormel aims to gain greater
insight into the origins of these planets and the diverse architecture of
- Dr Isabel Smallegange (Theoretical Ecology/Population Biology): The
impact of climate change on animal populations
How is climate change impacting plant and animal populations? Smallegange will
be working to prepare and test a mathematical model that can chart both the
ecological and evolutionary effects of climate change with regard to animal
- Dr Christoph Weniger (Physics): Shedding light on dark matter
The universe is dominated by dark matter, a mysterious substance composed of
unknown material. Weniger will be using telescopes and particle accelerators to
identify dark matter and determine its exact nature.
- Dr Jasper van Wezel (Theoretical Physics): Helical electrons become
The electrons in certain metals can cooperate to the point where they
simultaneously take on the shape of a corkscrew. The electrons then look like
levorotatory or dextrorotatory spirals. Van Wezel will be assessing the
potential role of these helical electrons in the formation of superconductors:
metals capable of conducting electrical current without resistance when cooled.
- Dr Shimon Whiteson (Informatics): Co-evolution for Autonomous
The autonomisation of intelligent systems such as robots requires algorithms
capable of automatically identifying the rules that determine their behaviour.
Whiteson will be developing such algorithms by applying the principle of
co-evolution to simultaneously optimise behavioural rules and the manner in
which they are tested.
- Dr Chantal Mak (European Contract Law): Europe and civil law
The public interest imposes restrictions on the freedom of private parties. How
does this affect the judges charged with balancing EU objectives and national
policies? Mak is working to develop a theoretical framework for representing the
public interest in European and national civil law.