Vici-grant for Wageningen research on poverty reduction

April 14, 2021

Scientist Ewout Frankema of Wageningen University & Research (WUR) has been awarded a Vici-grant this year for his research on poverty reduction in Asia and Africa. The Vici-grant is one of the largest personal scientific awards for advanced research in the Netherlands. A total of 33 leading scientists received 1.5 million euros each from the Dutch Research Council (NWO)


Ewout Frankema’s research on poverty reduction in South-East Asia and Sub-Sharan Africa caught the NWO’s attention. Both areas experienced a profound economic crisis following the colonial era. However, their recovery differed. In Asia, poverty decreased rapidly, while in Africa, it did not. Frankema’s historical research reveals that regional integration and disintegration play an important role in these divergent development paths. The NWO has awarded Frankema the Vici-grant because he adds a regional aspect to the global debates in poverty reduction.

New research

With the prize of 1.5 million euros linked to the prize, Frankema will investigate the deeper historical causes that allowed countries in South-East Asia to experience a booming economic development since 1970, while the growth in almost all African countries ground to a halt. With historical research on trade, migration, and capital flows in Asia and Africa, he will test his hypothesis. Frankema explains this in Resource.

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NWO-Talent programme

With the Veni and Vidi grants, the Vici-funding is part of the NWO Talent Programme. The Vici grant targets extremely experienced researchers who have successfully proven to have developed their own research trajectory and who coach young researchers. The 1.5-million-euro funding will allow Frankema to set up his own research group. According to the NWO, previous experience has shown that a Vici-grant is often the springboard to tenure as a professor.

Other Vici-awards

In addition to Ewout Frankema’s poverty reduction research, the other 32 scientists conduct research in a variety of domains. One studies the opportunities and challenges of reading comprehension of digital texts, while another seeks to discover why children often refuse to eat vegetables.