Was the Great Depression of the thirties a wasted crisis? How do inhabitants of remote areas handle digitalisation and a history of anti-colonial revolt? How can drinking water be purified even further? These are the research questions three young Wageningen University & Research (WUR) researchers will work on in the coming three years. The scientists are awarded a Veni-grant by the Dutch Research Council (Dutch acronym NWO), the national science financier. The Veni-grants for the ENW and ZonMw were announced last December.
A good crisis gone to waste? The 1930s Great Depression and primary export dependence in Africa
African economies are vulnerable to unpredictable global demand for agricultural and mineral commodities. This causes boom-bust cycles en complicates poverty reduction. Studying historical crises and their consequences can improve our understanding of this persistent pattern. The 1930s Great Depression signifies the deepest global economic crisis since the Industrial Revolution. Prices for Africa’s export commodities collapsed. Why did Africa’s dependency on such exports increase nonetheless? Using colonial archives, newspapers, and historical statistics, I study the reactions of colonial administrators, farmers and workers in Central and East Africa to explain the impact of the Depression and its consequences for development.
Data exploits: Uncovering pathways to digital autonomy for science and society
Digital technologies collect and process data through a top-down process that allows for exploitation. By studying how residents of remote environments with long histories of anticolonial resistance navigate digitization, this project uncovers possibilities for autonomy from digital exploitation and generates practice-based responses for more inclusive uses and management of data.
Removal of toxic anthropogenic solutes in drinking water treatment by electrochemical polishing
The presence of anthropogenic components in surface water, sometimes already toxic at very low concentrations, challenges the applicability of conventional technologies to produce safe drinking water. The chemical charge of some components, such as boron, arsenic and some organic micropollutants, is affected by the solution pH, and effective removal is challenging with conventional technologies. An innovative, chemical-free, electrochemical technology will be developed to polish, after conventional treatment, water, and to remove these harmful components. A physical-chemical transport model will be developed, which will aid the design of this innovative process
The Veni grants are awarded annually by the NWO. These awarded grants are part of the second and last leg of the 2021 Veni round. Over the past two years, the NWO was forced to alter its planning for the Veni-rounds due to the Covid-19 pandemic and a hack.
Last spring the planning was split into different science domains. For the domains ENW (no pre-registration yet) and ZonMW (not affected by the hack), the NWO stuck with the original planning, which means the distribution of these grants was announced in December 2021. For the domains TTW and SGW decisions were made in March and April, respectively. Now that all the grants have been awarded, the scores for the entire round have been released (see below). The new Veni-round opens in May.