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Vidis for VU Amsterdam

14 July 2021
The Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded 78 experienced researchers, five of whom are from Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Amsterdam UMC, location VUmc, with a Vidi grant of 800,000 euros. This will enable them to develop their own innovative line of research over the next five years and set up a research group.

The laureates are, in alphabetical order:
Historican Pepijn Brandon receives a Vidi for his research 'Land Grabbing and Dutch Empire (16th-18th century)'
Land Grabbing is an urgent global problem with deep historical roots. Brandon shows how the market-oriented early modern Dutch state encouraged large-scale dispossession of land as commercial strategy within and outside Europe. The Dutch example highlights the interplay between violence and markets in the development of agrarian capitalism.      

Biologist Wouter Halfwerk receives a Vidi for his research 'CAMOSENSE: predicting predator-prey interactions across sensory worlds'
Camouflage can hide prey from both visual and acoustic predators. How does camouflage vary across a whole community of moth species, and towards their main predators – bats and birds? Halfweg will quantify visual background matching and echo-acoustic absorption of moth scales in order to predict community shifts under environmental change.

Biochemist Henne Holstege receives a Vidi for her research 'Spotlight on the neglected genome to escape dementia'
Repetitions in the DNA-code influence the chance of Alzheimer's Disease. To increase our understanding of the heritability of Alzheimer’s Disease, Holstege will compare repetitive sequences in Alzheimer-patients and healthy centenarians. This allows us to use individual genomes to predict who should be treated to prevent AD-associated brain damage, and how.

Financial economist Anne Opschoor receives a Vidi for his research 'Heterogeneity in extreme risks in high dimensions'
Uncertainties like covid19 or Brexit have potentially different effects on countries and industries. Most contemporary models cannot describe such heterogeneity sufficiently well. This research develops new models with more heterogeneity in risk responses and investigates the economic differentiation and robustness of different countries and industries in Europe.

Neuroscientist Menno Schoonheim receives a Vidi for his research 'The collapsing brain in MS: Using networks to predict clinical progression'
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex neurological disease, where most patients become impaired in motor and cognitive function. Schoonheim will to understand and predict progression in MS by studying how damage spreads throughout the brain network and also implement these latest insights in daily clinical care.

NWO Talent Programme
Vidi is aimed at experienced researchers who have carried out successful research for a number of years after obtaining their PhDs. Together with Veni and Vici, Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Researchers in the Talent Programme are free to submit their own subject for funding. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. NWO selects researchers based on the quality of the researcher, the innovative character of the research, the expected scientific impact of the research proposal and the possibilities for knowledge use.

A total of 503 researchers submitted an admissible research project for funding during this Vidi funding round. Eighty-one of these have now received grants. That amounts to an award rate of 16%. Read more on the NWO website.