Eleven Radboud-projects to receive NWA-ORC grant

Researchers from Radboud Universiteit and the Radboud university medical center are involved with eleven consortiums that will team up on interdisciplinary research aimed at scientific and societal breakthroughs. These projects are part of the National Science Agenda’s ‘Onderzoek op Routes door Consortia’ (‘NWA-ORC’ in Dutch).

Re/Presenting Europe: Popular Representations of Diversity and Belonging

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Rachel Gillett  - Utrecht University. Co-applicants from Radboud University: Marjet Derks and Jaap Verheul

Dutch representations of Europe have not acknowledged the long presence of the super-diverse groups of non-white “others”. This lack of knowledge is intensified by ethno-racial stereotyping which has produced exclusion and social tension. NWA-Re/Present analyses misrepresentations in Dutch sports, urban arts, and education. It examines how to heal resulting social divides. It uncovers and disseminates information about how Europe’s “others” have contributed to its culture and history and integrates it into educational practices. It produces complex knowledge of Dutch and European identities and co-creates meaningful representations with communities to increase belonging and foster social resilience for a super-diverse European future.


Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Ine Dorresteijn – Utrecht University. Co-applicants from Radboud University: Martin Drenthen (main), Noelle AartsRiyan van den Born and Jeremias Herberg

Wildlife such as wild boar, wisent, and wolf are returning to the Netherlands on a large scale. This return leads to tensions between people and wildlife and calls for new forms of wildlife management. WildlifeNL will develop new technologies, governance arrangements and communication strategies that influence the behaviour of wildlife ánd people to enable lowconflict human-wildlife coexistence. Moreover, together with all stakeholders, we explore various scenarios for how sustainable human-wildlife coexistence may look like, for example by playing a serious game. In this way WildlifeNL contributes to the search for a nature-inclusive society in which humans and wildlife can flourish.

Social Work and the Art of Crafting Resilient Societies

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Anouk de Koning – Leiden University. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Anick Vollebergh

Social resilience is seen as the panacea for challenges ranging from deepening inequalities, polarisation to the energy transition. But how can social resilience be created? Working with partners from government, professional associations and knowledge institutions, this project will study social interventions in eight Dutch cities that seek to bolster social resilience by crafting new relations between the state and marginalized citizens. How do social professionals work with policymakers and citizens to envision new state-citizen relations, and how do they deal with the conflicts, dilemmas and power relations they encounter?

Healthy Loading to combat osteoarthritis: Leveraging molecular variations in load bearing capacity for individualized movement aDvice: The LoaD project

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Gerjo van Osch - Erasmus MC. Co-applicant from Radboud University Medical Center: Dennis Janssen

What is “healthy loading” for patients with osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis is a painful, disabling joint disease that affects millions of people. There is no cure for Osteoarthritis. Patients are encouraged to stay physically active, but the optimal joint loading for the individual patient is not known. In the LoaD project, researchers from Medical Centers, Technical Universities, Colleges of Applied Science and companies collaborate to investigate what activity is optimal for an individual patient with knee osteoarthritis and how to coach patients towards healthy loading. With the obtained knowledge we will develop personalised support strategies for use in daily life.

CureQ: Predict, Delay & Cure polyglutamine(Q) caused neurodegeneration

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Eric Reits - Amsterdam UMC - Locatie AMC. Co-applicant from Radboud University Medical Center: Bart van den Warrenburg

There are over ten inherited neurodegenerative disorders that are caused by a similar DNA mutation, including Huntington’s Disease. Recent trials are hopeful but also leave many questions. What is the best moment to start therapy? Can we predict age-of-onset more accurately, and do gene-carriers want to know this? Are there alternative therapeutic strategies possible that don’t require repeated lumbar injections? What does this all mean for very young patients? Researchers from academia and biotech, neurologists, lecturers and patient foundations aim to answer these questions together, with a personalized treatment as the ultimate goal.

Next generation immunodermatology (NGID)

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Robert Rissmann  - Leiden University. Co-applicants from Radboud University Medical Center: Ellen van den Bogaard, Marieke Seyger, Juul van den Reek, Elke de Jong, Tom Ederveen, Anna Niehues and Peter-Bram ’t Hoen

In the Netherlands over 2.5 million patients suffer from chronic inflammatory skin diseases. Although not life-threatening, the personal impact and socio-economic costs of these chronic conditions are very high. The biggest problem is that many treatments are not suited for every patient and often do not work. To improve this, we need to find out which treatment works for each individual patient. Therefore, we will investigate six inflammatory skin diseases in ultra-high detail. With this information, we will make patient-specific fingerprints that will predict the best care for each individual patient.

LESSEN: Low Resource Chat-based Conversational Intelligence

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: prof. dr. M. (Maarten) de Rijke – University of Amsterdam

Our interaction with devices and access to information is increasingly conversational. People express their questions and needs to a system via a conversation; the system responds in a natural way, possibly by asking questions for clarifications, and meets the needs of its users. How do we ensure that this chat technology is also accessible for languages and applications with limited training data and compute power? LESSEN focuses on developing efficient chat algorithms and methodologies that can make optimal use of written conversational data, in a safe and transparent way.

OBSeRVeD - Odour Based Selective Recognition of Veterinary Diseases

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Cas Damen - Saxion University of Applied Sciences

When chickens in a farm become infected or have parasites, specific odours are produced. A cross-disciplinary team will combine innovative sensors, affinity layers, and machine learning to develop and test an electronic nose. This sensitive system can recognize a fingerprint of Volatile Organic Compounds and thus recognise specific diseases at an early stage, when (preventive) measures are most effective. In this project, veterinary health, industry, science professionals and societal organisations will collaborate towards developing a practically applicable poultry health monitoring system to improve chicken and public health, general welfare and reduce antibiotics/chemicals use and the environmental impact of livestock farming.

Screen & Intervene (SCIN): Neurobiological assessments in screening and individual treatment decisions in the forensic youth setting

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Lucres Nauta-Jansen - Amsterdam UMC - VUMC. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Roy Otten.

Juvenile delinquency is a significant problem in our society. In forensic practice, we focus on the diagnosis and treatment of juvenile delinquents, in order to reduce the risk of recidivism. Unfortunately, this treatment is not yet effective for everyone. The approach to juvenile crime can be improved by taking more account of the neurobiological development of individual young. SCIN will integrate neurobiological with standard psychosocial assessments to better predict which interventions are most effective for whom. With this knowledge, existing forensic interventions and adolescent criminal law can be more effectively used.

CURE4LIFE: Development and societal impact of stem cell based genetic medicines

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Frank Staal – Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC)

For a number of rare genetic diseases, lifelong cure can be obtained by correcting the genetic defect in the patients’ own blood stem cells. Many curative gene therapies do not reach patients for reasons other than a lack of treatment quality. The consortium proposes to develop platform infrastructure that can be used for many diseases rather than every time focusing on one approach unique for each disease. Simultaneously they address challenges regarding the regulation, reimbursement and public acceptance of these therapies in a knowledge hub for dialogue with society.

From co-creation to innovative animal-free solutions for bio-electrical organ dysfunction: a CIRCULAR research approach

Official secretary on behalf of the consortium: Bianca Brundel - Amsterdam UMC - Location VUmc

The most common cardiac arrhythmia, atrial fibrillation (AF), is difficult to diagnose and treat. This is due to the lack of knowledge on the molecular mechanisms driving AF. By utilizing citizen science, patients identified already five leading triggers for AF. Together with patients, researchers and health professionals, we aim to further explore these triggers. Moreover, experimental research is directed at building the molecular human AF atlas, which serves new (high-throughput) drug discovery and biomarker research. By co-creation with patients, novel treatments are tested in clinical trials. The approach is unique, as it combines animal-free advanced systems and circular research for patient tailored solutions.

A total of more than 149 million euros has been made available for all the projects. Read more about all the projects that received funding from the NWA-ORC programme.

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