VU Amsterdam success(ful) in Gravitation 2019 round

VU Amsterdam scientists coordinate or are main co-applicants of four of the six projects that receive a 2019 Gravitation (Zwaartekracht) grant.

08/29/2019 | 3:48 PM

Professor of Genetics Danielle Posthuma and Professor of Knowledge Representation & Reasoning Frank van Harmelen, as coordinating applicants, are each responsible for a Gravitation grant of approximately 20 million euro. Professors Toby Kiers (URC Chair, Ecological Science) and Joline Beulens (Epidemiology, VUmc) are co-applicants of projects coordinated by the University of Amsterdam and Utrecht University respectively. VU Amsterdam colleagues professors Guus Smit (Molecular Neurobiology), Huib Mansvelder (Neurophysiology) and Piek Vossen (Computational Lexicology) are co-applicants on the grants led by Posthuma and Van Harmelen, along with colleagues from other Dutch academic institutions.

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) today announced which consortia receive a Gravitation Award. The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science provides funding for these long-term (10 year) multidisciplinary projects, with the ambition to stimulate world-leading Dutch research that could potentially lead to international breakthroughs. The research is carried out by consortia of various Dutch universities, academic hospitals and research institutes.

Rector Magnificus Vinod Subramaniam is delighted with the news: "That we are coordinating two Gravitation consortia and are co-applicants in two more is a fantastic recognition of the strength of our researchers and the consortia. I’m incredibly proud of all the awardees and participating team members."

Danielle Posthuma webBRAINSCAPES: A Roadmap from Neurogenetics to Neurobiology
Professor of Genetics Danielle Posthuma coordinates the research project BRAINSCAPES. The aim of BRAINSCAPES is to map in detail the biological mechanisms underlying brain diseases ('brainscaping'). The scientists involved in this research want to build an innovative bridge between genetics and neurobiology by making smart use of the wealth of results from the current genetic revolution, the availability of large biological datasets at the single cell level and the application of the very latest techniques from neurobiology. Posthuma works with a team of researchers from VU Amsterdam, Amsterdam UMC, LUMC, TU Delft, UMCU and Hubrecht Institute.
Read or watch an extensive interview with Danielle Posthuma here.

Frank van Harmelen webHybrid Intelligence: augmenting human intellect 
Professor of Computer Science Frank van Harmelen leads a team of scientists from six Dutch universities with the aim of combining human and artificial intelligence. The goal is to enrich, rather than replace, human intelligence. Faculty of Humanities professor of Computational Lexicology, Piek Vossen is one of the main co-applicants. Other co-applicants come from the University of Amsterdam, TU Delft and the universities of Groningen, Leiden and Utrecht. The scientists will use the grant to develop AI techniques aimed at collaboration between people and intelligent computers in hybrid teams that perform better than people or computers separately.
Read or watch an extensive interview with Frank van Harmelen here. 

Toby Kiers webMiCRop: Harnessing the second genome of plants 
A consortium of VU Amsterdam, UvA, WUR, NIOO-KNAW and Utrecht University, led by Professor Harro Bouwmeester of UvA, receives a subsidy of over 20 million euros to investigate the relationship between plants and the microorganisms at their roots. Professor of Evolutionary Biology Toby Kiers is one of the main co-applicants with Bouwmeester. The aim of the project is to make an important contribution to the sustainable improvement of the world's food supply by harnessing the complex microbiome of roots for nutrients and pathogen protection. The grant makes it possible to engage in cutting edge research and to apply the latest techniques. The grant makes it possible to speed up the research and to apply the latest techniques. 

Joline Beulens webExposome-NL  
Professor of Epidemiology Joline Beulens (VUmc) is co-applicant of the Gravity grant for the Exposome-NL project of which Professor Roel Vermeulen of the University of Utrecht is the coordinator. Together with scientists from the universities of Leiden and Groningen, the research team will focus on exposomes. Where you live and work, what you eat and drink, how often you exercise, and other choices that you make in your (daily) life influence your health. Whether or not you develop certain chronic diseases is in fact conditional upon these factors for seventy percent. The combination of these factors is called the exposome. We still know little about that exposome and therefore about the development of chronic diseases. In the Exposome-NL project, scientists will apply innovative techniques to investigate which factors of the exposome are important for health and how these work.