Press release

Six young Wageningen researchers receive a Veni grant worth 250,000 euros

Published on
July 28, 2017

Six recently graduated Wageningen researchers have been awarded a Veni grant worth up to 250,000 euros from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The Veni grant provides these highly promising young scientists with the opportunity to further elaborate their own scientific ideas during a period of three years.

The Wageningen Veni laureates and their research topic:

Robbert Biesbroek – Public Administration and Policy. ‘The unbearable slowness of integrating climate change adaptation into existing policy domains’.

Timely adaptation to climate change impacts requires integration of adaptation in existing policy domains. This comparative research analyses if and how institutional characteristics and political processes influence the depth, scope and pace of integration. The research offers new insights for strategic interventions to accelerate, deepen and upscale policy integration processes.

Mirte BosseAnimal sciences. ‘What makes inbreeding so depressing? A genomic perspective on the role of harmful mutations in inbreeding depression’.

Inbreeding causes many viability problems in small populations. A major contributor to these problems is the expression of harmful mutations in homozygous state during inbreeding. This project quantifies harmful mutations based on individual genome sequences and evaluates the predictive value of these genomic measures for the harmful effects during inbreeding.

Anneke Horstman - Plant sciences. ‘Tuning growth/defense trade-offs in plants by dissecting their molecular basis: grow and defend?’.

Insect herbivory and plant pathogens cause severe crop losses. Plants can defend themselves against these attackers, but this generally reduces their growth. With this research, we explore the regulation of the balance between growth and defense. The results can be used to develop resistant crops with decreased yield loss.

Dieuwertje Kok - Human nutrition. ‘Folate in the intestine, more than just a gut feeling’.

Some intestinal bacteria can produce essential vitamins such as folate. This research will determine whether local production of folate affect the DNA in the cells of the large intestine. The obtained information will be essential to better understand causes of common diseases like cancer of the large intestine.

Sonja de Vries - Animal Nutrition. ‘Gut feeling of chickens: exploiting the unique mechanism of digesta reflux to improve sustainability of poultry production’.

In chickens, feed travels from beak to cloaca AND reverse. How much feed travels upstream and whether this depends on age, breed, and diet of the birds is unknown. Researchers will study flow of gut contents in young and mature chickens from various breeds for different diets.

Pim de Zwart – Rural and Environmental History. ‘Unfair Trade? Globalization, Institutions and Inequality in Southeast Asia, 1830-1940’.

Trade and colonial institutions have arguably had an important impact on the growth of inequality within developing countries since the 19th century. Yet the historical evidence is thin and it is unclear what mechanisms were key. This project explores this relationship in Southeast Asia during the “first era of globalization”.


The Veni is awarded by NWO every year. A total of 1127 researchers submitted a research project for funding. 154 of these(14%)  have been granted. The submissions were assessed by means of peer review by external experts from the disciplines concerned. NWO thus invested a total of 38,3 million euros in free and curiosity-driven research.