InWork Berchmanianum
InWork Berchmanianum

NWO Veni grants for research into frontline workers, social media and more

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded a Veni grant to eleven young researchers at Radboud University. With this grant of up to 280.000 euro they can further elaborate their own ideas during a period of three years.

Veni is aimed at excellent researchers who have recently obtained their PhDs. Together with Vidi and Vici, the grant is part of the NWO Talent Program and is awarded annually. This year, the Veni grant will be awarded to a total of 188 researchers, ten of whom are affiliated with Radboud University.

Growing up in uncertain times: the life and well-being of young adults

Lonneke van den Berg

The well-being of young adults has dramatically declined in the last decade. Concurrently, there has been a large increase in uncertainty in young adulthood, such as temporary contracts and uncertain housing situations. Does this high level of uncertainty explain the low well-being of young adults today? Whereas previous research focused on either the work or relationship domain, this project examines combinations of uncertainty in education, work, housing, and relationships. Hereby, this project yields insight in how uncertainty in young adulthood accumulates and whether certain combinations of uncertainty especially jeopardise well-being.

Psychological safety of frontline workers: towards better public service

Shelena Keulemans 

Frontline workers need psychological safety—the belief that they are safe to take interpersonal risks at work—to learn from their mistakes and provide better public service to citizens. Absence of psychological safety poses a threat to the responsible, accountable exercise of public authority. Yet we know surprisingly little about frontline workers’ psychological safety, which factors affect it, and how psychological safety influences their responsiveness to citizen needs. This project combines different theoretical perspectives and methods (ethnography, survey data, and vignette experiment) to examine psychological safety at the frontlines, uncovering pathways to better public service.

How social are social media? 

Loes Pouwels 

Although there are many concerns in society today about adolescents’ social media use, recent research has shown that the effects of social media use on social connectedness are not straightforward. Some adolescents feel lonely after using social media, while others benefit from increased social connectedness. What applies to whom in which context? And across what timescale? This project will address these questions with voluntarily donated social media archives that will be linked to daily and yearly questionnaires about social media use and connectedness. These insights help to tailor social media policies and interventions to the individual needs of adolescents.

International organizations: responsible and responsive?

Reinout van der Veer 

International organizations address important international challenges, such as climate change and economic inequality. Their political neutrality and expertise make them exceptional at delivering responsible policy. Yet we also increasingly expect these organizations to listen to us. This project investigates how the experts and elites working in these organizations think about and decide on bringing together their expertise and societal demands. In doing so, it provides a fundamentally new perspective on how international organizations balance responsibility with responsiveness.

Wat makes fast and flexible language use possile?

Marieke Woensdregt 

When we use language, we consider what’s going on in our interlocutor’s mind (what knowledge do we share? what could have caused them to misunderstand my utterance?, etc.). However, we don’t have to do all that reasoning inside our own mind: We can also use interaction to ask for clarification (A: “I missed the sale because the shop was closed”, B: “Closed for good?”, A: “No, it’s being renovated”). In this project, Woensdregt will use computational modelling and experiments to develop an explanation of how such social reasoning and social interaction work together to enable fast and flexible language use.

The role of mosquito saliva in malaria parasite transmission

Carolina Andrade, Radboudumc

Malaria is a devastating infectious disease endemic to many tropical countries. Malaria infection starts with a mosquito bite that introduces malaria parasites, mixed with mosquito saliva, into the human host. This project aims to understand the role of saliva in parasite infection of the human host and transmission to the mosquito. This work will provide unprecedented insights into host-- mosquito-parasite interactions and their impact on parasite infection. It may help to identify much needed novel targets to interrupt transmission.

Understanding Non-Locality in Quantum Gravity

Luca Buoninfante

The formulation of a consistent theory of quantum gravity is one of the most outstanding challenges in Theoretical Physics, which has aroused interest since the middle of the last century. This project aims to shed new light on the problem by using mathematical consistency requirements to constrain the viable possibilities for a theory of quantum gravity.

The genome at the break of dawn – illuminating transcriptional control of zygotic genome activation in mosquitoes

Rebecca Halbach, Radboudumc

Mosquitoes transmit dangerous infectious diseases to humans, but there is still very little known about the biology of these insects themselves. Even the fundamental process of embryonic development is not well studied. Embryonic development is a highly complex process, during which expression of thousands of genes needs to be tightly orchestrated. The researchers investigate the mechanisms by which this is achieved during early development of the yellow fever mosquito. This will contribute to our understanding of the biology of this important disease vector and can help to develop vector control strategies to decrease disease burden.

Symbolic Probabilistic Model Checking with Massive Design Spaces (ProMiSe)

Sebastian Junges

The design of safety-critical systems comes with many questions: What is the most cost-efficient hardware for lane assist in cars? What battery size suffices for a satellite? Will the robot safely unload the dishwasher? Although seemingly different, these questions can all be (partially) answered by analysing Markov models that describe how systems behave in uncertain circumstances. However, the complexity of modern computer systems leads to models that are too big to handle.  This research project aims to develop novel algorithms that are able to analyse much bigger Markov models.

Continental margin sediments as a source of bio-essential iron and manganese to high-latitude ocean waters

Wytze Lenstra

Iron and manganese are key nutrients for phytoplankton in the oceans. The growth of phytoplankton affects the uptake of atmospheric CO2 and thereby impacts our climate. The accelerated melting of ice sheets and glaciers due to climate change can lead to an enhanced availability of iron and manganese for the growth of phytoplankton in the ocean. This study investigates, by conducting fieldwork near Svalbard and East-Antarctica and by applying numerical models, how the release of iron and manganese from the coastal zones and oceanic uptake of CO2 changes when glaciers and ice sheets melt due to current climatic changes.

Search Systems with a Bayesian Understanding of Their Users (BAYES-SEARCH)

Harrie Oosterhuis

Search systems are integral to accessing the world’s information. This project will research whether search systems can learn user preferences from their interactions, while being aware of the uncertainty in their predictions. The result will be a Bayesian inference framework that can inform a search system about what users are probably looking for, such that the system can automatically adapt itself to better match user preferences.