The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) will award €800,000 each to Wageningen University & Research (WUR) researchers David Ludwig, Annemiek ter Heijne, Chiel van Heerwaarden, Vera Ros, and Emilie Wientjes. They will be able to use this money over the next five years to develop innovative research lines and to establish the accompanying research group.
The Vidi incentive programme is aimed at experienced researchers who have conducted research for several years after obtaining their PhD. The Veni, Vidi and Vici grants together form the NWO’s Innovational Research Incentives Scheme. Within the scheme, researchers are free to submit their own project for funding.
What will they research?
David Ludwig will use the Vidi grant to conduct research into how people with different backgrounds can work together on difficult challenges, such as climate change and the destruction of the environment. He will research how people - from indigenous peoples to academics - can work together despite their differing perspectives and values.
Annemiek ter Heijne will use the €800,000 to research how biological transitions can be made more efficient. Biological transitions form the basis of many processes, such as wastewater treatment and recovery of nutrients from waste streams. With a team, she will measure exactly how electrons move through bacteria. These insights will allow her to develop new, more efficient technologies based on biological transitions.
Chiel van Heerwaarden will begin research on cloud shadows. These are responsible for significant local fluctuations in light quantity. In locations where solar energy is harvested, this can lead to significant variation in the power supply. The objective of this project is to study cloud shadows using innovative measurements and cloud simulations in order to better predict these fluctuations in sunlight.
Vera Ros will use the Vidi grant to learn more about insects, because it is being increasingly discovered that they are hosts to latent viruses which do not cause disease while in this state. Ros aims to understand how these viruses are transmitted and how they remain “undercover” as well as the effects they have on the host. This research is important for breeding insects on a large scale.
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Emilie Wientjes wants to learn how flexible photosynthesis is. Plants use light to create sugars. However, the quantity and colour of the light that shines on a leaf vary significantly throughout the day. The researchers will use molecular technologies and advanced microscopy to understand how plants adapt to this. This knowledge may contribute to improved photosynthesis in crops.
Selection of researchers by NWO
NWO selects researchers based on their qualities, the innovative nature of their research, the expected academic impact of their research proposal, and the opportunities for the application of knowledge. In this round of Vidi grant applications, 443 researchers submitted an eligible research project for funding. At the moment, 85 have been granted. This amounts to a 19% conversion rate.
More information about Vidi can be found on the NWO website.