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The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded Veni grants worth up to €250,000 to 27 UvA and AMC-UvA researchers who recently obtained their doctorate. The grants give promising young scientists the opportunity to further elaborate their own ideas over a three-year period.

The Veni laureates will conduct research on, among other things, brain response to psychotropic medication, the emergence and dynamics of moral markets, the influence of political satire on political engagement among adolescents and the brightest neutron stars in the Universe.

The NWO awards Veni grants every year. A total of 1,115 researchers applied for funding for a research project, and of these, 154 have now been awarded a grant.



  • Dr Jeffrey Kroon (Vascular Medicine): Steer blood vessel metabolism against atherosclerosis
    Research shows that 20 per cent of the population has increased levels of lipoprotein(a). This is also known as the underexposed, more pathogenic brother of LDL or ‘bad cholesterol’. Lipoprotein(a) often leads to inflamed vessel walls and atherosclerosis. Kroon will investigate ways to reduce this by steering blood vessel metabolism.
  • Dr Janet MacNeil Vroomen (Medicine): The influence of stay-at-home policies on institutionalisation,costs and crises in persons with dementia
    Several countries have invested heavily in helping persons with dementia to live at home longer. Vroomen researches the effects of these investments: have persons with dementia lived at home longer? Do they spend less time in nursing homes and hospitals? Do they experience fewer crises? What are the costs associated with such crises?
  • Dr Marij Hillen (Medical Psychology): Dealing with the unknown: supporting physicians to better tolerate uncertainty in clinical practice
    Increasing amounts of medical knowledge are becoming available, simultaneously making clear how much information is unknown or uncertain. Hillen will investigate how physicians deal with such medical uncertainty and what effects this has for patient care. Following on this, she will develop a training to help physicians deal with uncertainty.
  • Dr Anouk Schrantee (Radiology): The brain’s response to medication: zooming in with pharmacological MRI
    The exact brain response to psychotropic medication is difficult to investigate using regular brain scans. Schrantee will develop a new method to zoom in on the activation of brain cells during psychotropic drug administration. This method will advance treatment monitoring and the development of psychotropic medication.

Faculty of Economics and Business

  • Dr Yuval Engel (Business Administration): Tackling startup diversity debt: how to debias early startup hiring?
    Startups are proclaimed as crucial job creators by scholars and policy-makers. However, to the extent that biased startup hiring undervalues workforce diversity, it also undermines promises for positive economic and societal impact. Engel will investigate how to debias startup hiring and will offer novel insights for entrepreneurs, jobseekers, investors, and policy-makers.
  • Dr Panayiotis Georgallis (Business Administration): Let it shine: the emergence and evolution of moral markets
    Moral markets, sectors that emerge to foster social change, are critical for society. But what are the circumstances that spur and sustain these markets? Using data from the European solar sector, Georgallis will develop a novel framework of the emergence and evolution of moral markets.
  • Dr Vittoria Scalera (Business Administration): Connect or perish: from the genesis of connections to the creation of innovation
    Innovation represents an enabling factor to address political and socio-economic challenges. Collaboration is today’s godliness, but where and how people innovate is rapidly changing due to digitalisation and international mobility (e.g., migration). Scalera will systematically investigate how connections across and within countries are formed and affect knowledge generation and diffusion.

Faculty of Humanities

  • Dr Hannah Bosma (Musicology): Preservation as performance: liveness, loss and viability in electroacoustic music
    It is very difficult to re-perform experimental electronic music later. The unique software and equipment become obsolete quickly. Knowledge and information are dispersed through interdisciplinary collaboration. Sound and performance are volatile. How to keep this music for future generations? Or is loss essential for this music? What remains?
  • Dr Marta Domínguez Delmás (Art History): Wood, trade and technology for art
    Wood from historical art objects represents material evidence of historical timber trade and former workshop practices. Combining technical art history and dendrochronology, Delmás will provide scientific support for attributions to certain artists, schools or workshops, and will establish a scientific basis for curatorial decisions regarding restoration and conservation methods.

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Dr Mark Boukes (Communication Science): Not just funny? Political satire’s influence on youth political engagement
    While the consumption of traditional news is rapidly declining, the popularity of political satire is growing, especially among a young audience. Boukes will examine the democratic consequences of this ‘infotainment’ phenomenon. In particular, he will investigate whether and how political satire influences the political engagement of young Dutch citizens.
  • Dr Sacha Epskamp (Psychometry): Intelligent apps to aid clinical therapists
    Epskamp will lay foundations for intelligent apps designed to, for example, quickly diagnose patients on psychological symptoms as well as to monitor symptom severity and interrelationships over time. The apps will self-learn complex relationships, using sophisticated network models, to only ask questions the apps are uncertain about.
  • Dr Sarah Geven (Sociology): What do you expect? Studying teacher expectations through an institutional lens
    Teacher expectations and track recommendations for similarly achieving children are higher when they come from more affluent families. What is the role of the national and school context on the formation of these expectations? Using vignette experiments and observational data, Geven will provide insights on how to tackle educational inequality.
  • Dr Eelco Harteveld (Political Science): From ‘disagree’ to ‘disapprove’: the origins and consequences of affective polarisation in Europe
    Citizens in Western democracies appear to become more hostile towards people with different political views. This phenomenon has been called affective polarisation. Using experiments and a large-scale analysis of surveys and politicians’ speeches, Harteveld will identify the causes and consequences of affective polarisation in Europe.
  • Dr Terrence Jorgensen (Psychometrics): Separating the individual from the relationship in causal models
    Merging the structural-equation and social-network modeling paradigms will empower researchers to explain interpersonal psychosocial processes in real human interactions, such as how peer conversations affect body image and disordered eating. More effective targeted interventions can be identified and evaluated, for example, whether antibullying programmes work on specific victim–bully pairs.
  • Dr Max Keuken (Psychonomics and Cognitive Psychology): Functional differentiation and generalisation of the cortico-basal-ganglia thalamic loops
    The brain engages in a wide range of cognitive, limbic, and motor functions but it remains unclear which brain areas are involved. Keuken will provide an in-depth structural and functional description of the cortical-basal ganglia-thalamic loops, a brain network thought to be essential to these three functions.
  • Dr Toni van der Meer (Communication Science): A negative media reality?
    Media are prone to select information with negative characteristics despite that global data show how living conditions have improved. Van der Meer will investigate how media bias has changed over-time in news coverage, who self-selects negative news today, and what the effects are on publics’ fear perceptions.
  • Dr Rahil Roodsaz (Gender Studies): The Paradox of romantic love: negotiating autonomy and commitment in intimate relationships in the Netherlands
    The ideal of romantic love appears hard to achieve in practice. Its appeal to the paradoxical values of autonomy and commitment coupled with the late-modern individual responsibility for happiness causes profound challenges. Roodsaz will investigate how individuals in the Netherlands negotiate romantic love in various intimate relationships and households.
  • Jorien Treur (Psychology): The cognitive causes and consequences of smoking
    Smoking remains common and it is notoriously difficult to quit. In this project, Treur will use cutting-edge research methods – from genetics and experimental psychology – to investigate the role that executive functions (cognitive abilities) play in smoking behaviour, and whether we can help smokers quit by training these executive functions.
  • Dr Renée Visser (Clinical Psychology): In search of the affective engram of autobiographical memory
    Strong emotional memories form the basis of psychological disorders, such as depression and anxiety. Visser will first map the representation of such memories in the brain, using functional magnetic resonance imaging, and then test if interventions during memory retrieval can enhance or reduce the emotional tone of these memories.
  • Dr Joyce Weeland (Child Development and Education): Working towards personalised intervention-strategies for child behaviour problems
    Although every family is unique, we mostly treat families with disruptive children the same way. In the profile study, Weeland will assess which families benefit from parenting-interventions, which do not, and why they (do not) benefit. Family-centered research strategies can help us administer existing interventions more precise and thus more efficiently.
  • Dr Lucy van de Wiel (Cultural Anthropology): Embryo in Silico - the datafication of IVF
    New data technologies (predictive analytics, machine learning) play an increasingly prominent role in IVF, especially in embryo selection based on visual and genetic information. Why has the widespread introduction of these technologies happened so rapidly and what are their effects on the lived experience of IVF and reproductive decision-making?

Faculty of Science

  • Dr Matteo Biagetti (Physics): Looking for cosmic fingerprints from billions of years ago
    Billions of years ago, the Universe expanded exponentially, giving rise to countless spinning particles. Biagetti will look for imprints of those primordial particles in today’s astronomical observations, testing theories of cosmic expansion and opening a window to our early Universe.
  • Dr Joen Hermans (Chemistry): The molecular structure of oil paint
    Oil paint ages, sometimes with dramatic consequences for the appearance of paintings. In this research, Hermans will recreate the molecular structure of oil paint. With advanced spectroscopic techniques, Hermans will investigate how indoor climate and restoration methods can be adapted to optimise paintings conservation.
  • Dr Andrew Jupp (Chemistry): From nitrogen gas to useful products
    Nitrogen gas is all around us, but it is very unreactive. Jupp will study the trapping and activation of nitrogen with main-group compounds to afford a range of interesting and industrially relevant products, including dyes and molecular switches.
  • Dr Janne-Mieke Meijer (Physics): Revealing big consequences of small defects
    Defects can always occur in any crystalline material. Even the smallest defects can completely change the behaviour of the bulk crystal. To improve crystalline materials, Meijer will combine smart particles and new microscopy techniques to unravel how defects form, move and interact on the smallest scale.
  • Dr Alexander Mushtukov (Astronomy): The Brightest neutron stars in the Universe
    Pulsating ultra-luminous X-ray sources are the brightest neutron stars in the Universe. Investigating the nature of these objects, Mushtukov will shed light on physics of radiation and matter interaction under conditions of extreme magnetic fields and temperatures.
  • Dr Emily Petroff (Astronomy): Astronomy’s newest mystery: fast radio bursts
    Fast radio bursts are short powerful radio pulses from other galaxies. They release more energy in 1 millisecond than the sun does in a day, but their origins are still a mystery. This project will study a large sample of bursts to uncover the sources and the physics driving them.

Talent scheme

Veni grants are part of NWO’s Talent Scheme, together with Vidi and Vici. Veni grants are aimed at excellent researchers who have recently obtained their doctorate. The Talent Scheme allows researchers to submit their own research topic 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.