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VU professor Heleen Slagter receives ERC Consolidator Grant

9 December 2020
The funding is part of the current EU research and innovation program (Horizon 2020) which has a total value of € 655 million.

In her ERC consolidator project Heleen Slagter (Cognitive Neurosciences) hopes to find answers to how the brain learns to predict the sensory outcomes of self-generated actions, how that shapes visual perception and consciousness, and how plastic the action-oriented predictive brain is. To this end, she will combine modern brain measurement methods such as EEG and fMRI with virtual reality, and conduct research in healthy adults, patients with Huntington's disease, and meditation experts.

Plasticity of Mind
In this new project Slagter studies how predictions of the outcomes of actions influence our perception and consciousness. Perception is often seen and studied as being driven by information entering the brain. A stimulus elicits a response. Slagter: “But in daily life, much of the sensory information that enters the brain is precisely determined by our actions, such as movements of our eyes or hands. By means of such an action, the brain itself can generate an image of the outside world. Action thus shapes perception. However, little is known about this. ”

Heleen Slagter
Heleen Slagter obtained her PhD in 2005 from the University of Amsterdam, and then spent almost 5 years in the United States, conducting research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Duke University. In 2009 she returned to the University of Amsterdam to set up her own research group. Since 2019 she has been a professor at the department of Experimental and Applied Psychology at VU University Amsterdam. Slagter is an acclaimed scientist who previously received an ERC Starting Grant and a VIDI grant for her research.

ERC Consolidator Grants
The ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to excellent researchers of any nationality and age, with a minimum of seven and a maximum of twelve years of experience after their PhD, and a scientific track record that is promising. The research must be conducted in a public or private research organization in one of the EU Member States or "Associated" countries. The funding - up to € 2 million per grant, plus in some cases an additional € 1 million for start-up costs - is provided for up to five years and largely covers the employment of researchers and other staff to consolidate the beneficiaries' teams.