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Several NWA grants for VU, three times project coordinator

23 March 2022
A total of 28 consortia will work in interdisciplinary teams on research that will bring both scientific and societal breakthroughs within reach. VU Amsterdam is official secretary of three of them.

The research projects have received funding in the third round of the Dutch Research Agenda programme Research along Routes by Consortia (NWA-ORC). A total of more than 149 million euros has been made available. The Dutch Research Agenda NWA has contributed 131 million euros and the remaining 18 million euros is co-funded by the local and international consortium partners.

VU Amsterdam is a partner in various consortia, like the research to bring gene therapies to patients more often. VU is also the coordinator of three projects:

Professor in animal ecology Matty Berg is the official secretary of VeenVitaal. This research project is awarded 2 million euros. VeenVitaal is a unique collaboration of scientists, nature managers, nature organizations, farmers and policy makers, with the aim of making the peat meadow area in the Amsterdam region more sustainable.

VeenVitaal investigates forms of nature-inclusive land use in the characteristic Dutch peat landscape that restores biodiversity, halt peat degradation, make business operation profitable for landowners and landscapes inspiring for citizens. VeenVitaal contributes new knowledge through integration of biodiversity, ecosystem and business data and aims to develop an integral set of simple/reliable indicators that quantifies the degree of landscape restoration with which we can monitor the transition to a sustainable peat bog landscape.

Environmental economist Julia Blasch is the official secretary of ALIGN4energy. This research project is awarded 4.9 million euros. ALIGN4energy unites scientists from the humanities and social sciences (economics, psychology, political sciences) and technical sciences (computer science, energy systems modelling), as well as companies, municipalities, and NGOs to jointly work towards a quick and low-cost transformation to natural gas-free homes in the Netherlands.

The consortium develops an online platform that serves as an adaptive digital decision-support system for citizens and policymakers, to help them make energy-related investment decisions that are simultaneously optimal for each individual citizen and for the energy system. Citizens will receive information that will simplify investment decisions and help them coordinate with neighbours for collective investments.

Professor in Oral Microbial Ecology (VU/UvA-ACTA) Egija Zaura is the official secretary of METAHEALTH. This research project is awarded 9 million euros. Overweight and tooth decay are commonly co-occurring conditions in children, especially from families at a low socio-economic position. This impacts their health later in life and increases health inequalities.

In this project together with all stakeholders, we 1) will acquire knowledge on the interplay between lifestyle, environment and microbiota during the first 1000 days of life; 2) will learn how to provide care that fits the needs and the complex daily reality of the children and their families; and 3) based on this knowledge we will co-create effective interventions for the prevention of overweight and tooth decay.

Read more about the partners, and other projects VU Amsterdam participates in, in the NWO news release.