The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) announced that seven young researchers from Wageningen University have each been awarded a Veni scholarship worth 250,000 euros, which is enough for three years of research. The Veni scholarship, granted by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, is a personal scholarship aimed at promoting academic talent.
The seven talented researchers from Wageningen to receive the Veni grant this year are:
Bob Douma, Crop and Weed Ecology
Exploiting your neighbour's cry for help - the role of herbivore-induced plant volatiles in plant growth strategies
When plants are attacked by insects, they start producing volatile compounds. But neighbouring plants can also use this information to regulate their investment in defence or growth. Douma is examining which strategy is most advantageous using 3D models, evolutionary game theory and experimentation. These insights will help make crop production more sustainable.
Annemiek ter Heijne, Environmental Technology
Fundamentals and kinetics of electrochemically active microorganisms on capacitive materials
Bacteria can release electrons from wastewater and store these electrons in conducting granules. The researchers will be studying how the bacteria charge these granules and the factors that influence this process. In doing so, they aim to purify wastewater, while at the same time generating and storing as much electricity as possible for future use.
Jaime Hoogesteger van Dijk, Environmental Sciences
Re-patterning water control: Vegetable agro-export chains, water rights and rural livelihoods in the Bajío, Mexico
This research examines how large-scale vegetable cultivation in the Bajío region of central Mexico for consumers in Europe and North America is changing access to water for irrigation and the related lifestyle of rural communities. On the basis of the findings, this research explores the possibilities and limitations of initiatives that attempt to achieve a fair and sustainable societal contribution within these production chains.
Michelle van Vliet, Earth System Sciences
Quality matters: including water quality in global water stress projections
Water stress is increasing worldwide due to a growing demand for high-quality water among a growing and prosperous global population, while water availability is changing as a result of climate change, among other developments.This research is aimed at developing an integral model to determine current and future water stress worldwide. The possibilities for improving water quality through technological solutions are also being evaluated.
Maarten Voors, Development Economics
Africa for sale? Exploring the Development Impacts of Foreign Investments in African Agriculture
Foreign investments in African agriculture have increased significantly in recent years. The consequences are potentially far-reaching, but have not yet been researched systematically. This research analyses the causal effects on development for the African continent and analyses in detail a large-scale commercial agricultural project in Sierra Leone.
Marjon de Vos, Plant Sciences
Experimental evolution of antibiotic resistance in bacterial consortia
Antibiotic resistance is a growing global problem because it complicates the treatment of infections. In infections caused by multiple pathogens, bacteria often interact among themselves, influencing their growth. In this study, the researchers are studying the effect of these interactions on the evolution of antibiotic resistance.
Florian Muijres, Experimental Zoology
Mechanics, aerodynamics and energetics of mosquito flight
How do malaria mosquitos fly? Mosquitos are especially dangerous because they spread serious illnesses like malaria. This dissemination is highly effective because mosquitoes suck blood and fly. But relatively little is known about their flight performance. So Muijres has proposed studying the flight performance of mosquitoes using an experimental and model-based approach.
Bob Douma, Annemiek ter Heijne, Jaime Hoogesteger van Dijk, Michelle van Vliet, Maarten Voors and Marjon de Vos are besides researcher at Wageningen University also alumni of the university.
NWO awards Veni scholarships each year to promising young scientific researchers to enable them to conduct research for three years. A total of 152 Venis are awarded, seven of which have ended up in Wageningen.
Being granted a Veni scholarship is considered an important step in the early stages of an academic career. The scholarship applications are assessed by scientists both in the Netherlands and abroad. The young researchers who receive the grants have demonstrated that they have an exceptional talent for scientific research and are among the top in their field.
The NWO Veni scholarship is one of three forms of subsidies as part of the ‘Innovation Impulse’ (Vernieuwingsimpuls). The other two are the Vidi scholarship (for experienced postdoctoral researchers) and the Vici scholarship (for highly experienced researchers). The Innovation Impulse was initiated by NWO in collaboration with the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the Royal Academy of Sciences and the universities.