Veni grants for 14 young Leiden researchers

During the next three years, 14 promising researchers from Leiden University who have just been awarded their PhDs will be able to further develop their research ideas funded by a Veni grant from the NWO. A total of 147 Veni grants were awarded.

The research projects

What makes language complicated?
Dr Jenny Audring, Linguistics
Languages are constantly changing. Sometimes this causes them to develop qualities which are difficult to learn for the next generation of children. Drawing on a number of languages, this project focuses on what makes grammar easy or difficult and where the boundaries of our ability to learn languages lie.

Fighting tumours at their source
Dr Jeroen Buijs, LUMC – Urology
It seems that a mere fraction of cancerous cells are responsible for unbridled growth and metastasis. The so-called tumour stem cells are relatively unreceptive to chemotherapy and radiation. The researchers want to develop new therapeutic approaches in order to target these cancer cells.

Directing blood vessels with lasers
Dr Jeroen Bussmann, Leiden Institute of Chemistry / Institute of Biology Leiden
Every human organ has a network of blood vessels with a unique structure. In order to grow human organs with the correct blood vessel structure in the future, the researchers are going to develop a technique with which the growth of new blood vessels can be guided using lasers.

Early detection of Alzheimer’s dementia
Dr Jeske Damoiseaux, LUMC – Leiden Institute for Brain and Cognition
Damoiseaux and his team are researching whether the brains of people experiencing memory problems are already displaying signs of Alzheimer’s disease, which would mean being able to start treatment earlier. Aside from this Jeske is studying the changes in brain function during the course of this disease.

A commercial revolution in ancient Rome
Dr Miko Flohr, Ancient History
An important development in Roman times was the increasing popularity of shops. Before this, everyday products were largely sold at markets. Ancient Rome even boasted the world’s first shopping centres. This research project examines how this development radically changed Roman cities.

Disentangling the reactions behind the production of chlorine
Dr Irene Groot, Interface Physics
The production of industrial chlorine is an important yet extremely expensive and environmentally harmful reaction. The researchers are going to track exactly how this reaction takes place, both in the lab and using a supercomputer. Subsequently they will look for ways to make the production of chlorine cheaper and more environmentally friendly.

 The poet as a pop
Dr Rick Honings, Dutch Language and Culture
Modern pop stars cultivate their image. The invention of the current cult of celebrity, however, has its origins in the nineteenth century. This project is about Literary celebrity and the question of how Dutch poets manifested themselves as public figures between 1780 and 1900.

A population of vibrating stars exposed
Dr Haili Hu, Astronomy
Stars can vibrate in their resonance frequencies, which yields information about the interior of the stars. Indeed, just as with musical instruments, the ‘sound’ is determined by size and composition. The researchers are developing a new statistical method which can study a large population of vibrating stars at once.

How do Creole languages originate?
Dr Bart Jacobs, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics
Using two never before studied archaic variations on Haitian Creole, which is spoken in Cuba and Samaná, Jacobs wants to unravel the controversial history of the origins of these and other comparable Creole languages.

Expressive structures in sign languages
Dr Victoria Nyst, Leiden University Centre for Linguistics
Deaf people all over the world use languages composed of signs. ‘Expressive’ structures occur frequently in these languages. In West Africa many sign languages are used by deaf people as well as by people who can hear. This project researches the influence of people who can hear on the development of expressive structures used in three West African sign languages.

Digital Nationalism in China
Dr Florian Schneider, Leiden Institute for Area Studies
China has more internet users than there are people living in the European Union. This means a lively online community, but also a lot of nationalist feelings. With Sino-Japanese history in mind Schneider analyses how nationalism works within the digital networks of a developing world power.

From the First Galaxies to the Peak of the Star Formation History
Dr David Sobral, Astronomy
Using the largest telescopes with unique widescreen technology, Sobral follows galaxies such as ours up to the very beginnings of their origins. We will finally be able to understand how galaxies are formed and how they have developed during the last 13 million years.

Roman colonies: not cities but villages?
Dr Tesse Stek, Archaeology
Roman colonies are generally perceived as proud cities. New research indicates, however, a non-urban settlement system, in which villages played a central role. The researchers are examining how this system worked. In order to do this, they are studying Latin inscriptions and doing archaeological fieldwork.

Dr Nienke Biermasz, LUMC – Endocrinology and Metabolic Diseases
Information about Biermasz’s research project will follow.

About the Veni awards

A Veni grant consists of a maximum of 250,000 euro and is one of the NWO’s individual financing options designed to stimulate academic talent. This year the NOW has allocated 37 million euro to Veni grants. Veni is part of the prestigious Innovational Research Incentives Scheme, which consists of Veni, Vidi and Vici. With these schemes the NWO offers researchers opportunities to do ground-breaking work at different stages in their career.

See also:

NWO invests 37 million in talented young researchers

(24 juli 2012 - Bron NWO)

Last Modified: 26-07-2012