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Three VU Amsterdam PhD students receive a Mosaic 2.0 grant

20 July 2022
Three PhD students of Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will start with a Mosaic 2.0 grant of NWO for their PhD research. They have, in addition to excellent study results, already developed initiatives alongside their studies.

The PhD scholarship program is aimed at the group of graduates with a migration background from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Central and South America and Turkey, who are underrepresented in the Netherlands. With this, Mosaic 2.0 aims to promote the further development of an inclusive work environment within Dutch universities. Mosaic 2.0 is part of the Impulse programme for Inclusion in Academia. Mosaic 2.0 aims to promote the further development of an inclusive work environment within Dutch universities. Mosaic 2.0 is the doctoral grant programme aimed at Dutch graduates with a migration background.

The awarded Mosaic 2.0 proposals for VU Amsterdam
Neuroimmunologist Tom Sa’ar Halperin with The involvement of a new B-blood cell in multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is a severe, neurological disorder affecting young adults and causing cognitive and motoric disability. The cause of the disease is, despite extensive research, still unknown. The researchers will use human tissue from brain and blood donors to investigate how a newly discovered group of immune cells (B1- cells) contribute to the disease progression. In addition, they will use modern biomedical and high-resolution microscopy techniques to characterize these cells inside the brain. Ultimately, the researchers hope to identify new treatment targets for MS.

Zihra Khazai with Care for peer support: organizing community care for refugee women with experiences of sexual and gender based violence.
Worldwide the number of refugees is increasing. Refugee women are at continuous risk for experiencing sexual and gender based violence (SGBV), and SGBV has enormous consequences for their health, integration and participation. Refugee women experience barriers in accessing formal care and simultaneously, their social networks are limited. Peer support groups are an accessible way for support and discussing SGBV. Although community care organizations know how to reach these women, barriers exist for structural implementation of peer support groups. In this project, the accessibility of peer support groups for these women and their implementation in care chains will be explored.

Jamilah Sherally with What is needed for good care around sexuality and reproduction of girls and women in the refugee camp of Mavrovouni on Lesbos?
Girls and women in refugee camps are at high risk of sexual violence, unwanted pregnancy and poor reproductive and pregnancy care. To find out what is needed to enable good care in the Mavrovouni camp on Lesbos, experiences and opinions of all stakeholders are researched: (1) health problems, needs, experiences and barriers to care among refugees, using a household survey, group interviews and innovative participatory techniques, and (2) experiences and possibilities of care providers through systematic evaluation of facilities and interviews with service providers and stakeholders involved in care organization. Together with all stakeholders, recommendations for improvement are co-created.

More information about the other laureates on the NWO website