Radboud University

Vici grants

The Veni, Vidi and Vici grants together form the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme, a subsidised programme for talented, creative researchers who conduct innovative research. The Vici-grant is for outstanding senior researchers who have successfully demonstrated the ability to develop their own innovative lines of research.

Vici grants 2021
Vici grants 2020
Vici grants 2019

Vici grants 2018
Vici grants 2017

Vici grants 2016
Vici grants 2015
Vici grants 2014
Vici grants 2013

Vici grants 2021

Brigitte Adriaensenprofessor of Spanish Language and Culture: Poison, Medicine or Magic Potion? Shifting Perspectives on Drugs in Latin America (1820-2020).

Drugs play a key role in the cultural history of Latin America. This project focuses on ayahuasca, peyote and coca(ine), the main psychoactive plants from the continent, intimately linked to different Latin American Indigenous cultures. The aim is to better understand the changing perceptions of drugs and to give Indigenous perspectives a central place within drug studies.

Alexander Khajetoorians, professor of Scanning probe microscopy: What can we ‘learn’ with atoms?

In this program, the researchers investigate how the quantum nature of intertwined and interacting atoms can be used in creating materials that mimic the computational principles of the brain. This will be performed using the highest resolution microscopes in the country.

Erno Hermans, Principal Investigator van het Donders Institute for Brain, Cognition and Behaviour: Building stress resilience.

Although stress-related mental health problems are common, the vast majority of people have good resilience to stress. We also know that some people become mentally stronger after stressful life events. This research aims to understand how people build this resilience.

Ioannis Sechopoulos, researcher at the Department of Imaging of the Radboudumc: improving breast cancer diagnostics.

Sechopoulos will conduct research into improving tomosynthesis, an X-ray examination that radiologists use to detect breast cancer. Improvement of the technique should lead to less unnecessary follow-up examinations during population screening, and clearer analysis of tumours before and after treatment.

Vici grants 2020

Dirk Lefeber, professor of Glycosylation Disorders in Neurology: A system-level view on sugar metabolism – creating the basis for high-precision sugar therapies.

Sugar metabolism is essential throughout our body. Still, the mechanisms differ per tissue. What is the reason? Lefeber will study the complete repertoire of sugar metabolites in muscle and brain models of children with a severe disease. The results will allow us to better treat these children.

Eliane Segers, professor of Learning and Technology at the Behavourial Science Institute of Radboud University: Opportunities and challenges in comprehension of digital texts.

Segers' research is aimed at comprehension of digital texts by children. Reading digital texts from multiple sources has become the norm nowadays. Are children digital natives for whom this is not a problem, or can they no longer focus their attention, preventing deep reading comprehension? Segers will investigate this and develop effective lesson materials to promote comprehension of digital texts.

Michiel Vermeulen, professor of Molecular biology: Reading the epitranscriptome.

Michiel Vermeulen will use his grant to further study the epitranscriptome. Recently it became apparent that RNA modifications play an important role in regulating gene expression in health and disease. In this project, the underlying molecular mechanisms will be studied in great detail during blood cell differentiation. Furthermore, aberrant RNA modification patterns will also be studied in leukemia.

Vici grants 2019

Sabine Hunnius, professor of Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, director of the Baby and Child Research Center: how curiosity drives child development

Early development occurs at a breathtaking rate. Sabine Hunnius examines the role of curiosity – the drive to learn new things – for development. It will examine the (brain) mechanisms underlying curiosity, whether children differ in their degree of curiosity, and how learning environments can be created that foster curiosity.

Bas van de Meerakker, professor of the Spectroscopy of Cold Molecules: taming chemical reactions.

When molecules meet, they can react with each other forming new molecules. This process is ubiquitous in nature, but poorly understood. Bas van de Meerakker will unravel chemical reactions by colliding molecules very precisely with each other, while making detailed images of the reaction products.

Anouk Rijs,  associate professor at the FELIX Laboratory: peptide self-assembly, one non-covalent interaction at a time

For her research, Anouk Rijs combines infrared and terahertz spectroscopy with advanced mass spectrometry to elucidate protein folding and aggregation interactions with unprecedented structural detail.
The spontaneous assembly of biological molecules into ordered nanostructures plays a vital role in the development of incurable neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. The researchers will develop new experimental methodology that will track their assembly, uniquely, one peptide at a time, in order to understand and control the aggregation process.

Jana Roithová, professor of Spectroscopy and Catalysis: selecting the Optimal Catalyst

With new spectroscopic techniques, Jana Roithová investigates highly reactive ions in the gas phase; in particular metal-organic compounds that play an important role in homogeneous catalysis. Natural enzymes are much better than any man-made catalyst at catalysing challenging reactions such as CO2 fixation. Biomimetic catalysts attempt to reconstruct the chemistry that nature has developed over millions of evolutionary steps. This research aims to find the optimal catalyst by using cutting-edge spectroscopic methods to select the most efficient chemical modifications.

Christian Beckmann, professor of Statistical Imaging Neuroscience:
Big data for precision medicine: new tools for brain connectopics

Christian Beckmann is appointed as professor Statistical Imaging Neuroscience. His research focus is on developing novel methods for imaging neurosciences. Over the last two decades neuroimaging has made significant contributions to our understanding of human brain function. The indirect nature of the data requires sophisticated modeling and analysis approaches in order to infer interpretable quantities of interest.
The researcher will develop techniques that allow researchers to better understand human brain processes and compare individual patients to ‘normal’ ranges of cognitive functioning. These techniques will be tested in a large Dutch sample of early Parkinson’s Disease patients to better understand the underlying neurobiology of the disorder.

Sander Leeuwenburgh, professor of Regenerative Biomaterials: Regeneration of infected bone by biomaterials built from nanoparticles

The research group of Sander Leeuwenburgh is developing injectable and self-healing biomaterials which stimulate the regenerative capacity of the human body.
Currently available biomaterials are not able to heal defects in diseased bone effectively. In this project novel self-porous and healing biomaterials will be self-assembled from nanoparticles to release antibacterial and anticancer drugs directly into cells. These new properties will accelerate bone regeneration and combat bone diseases effectively.

Annette Schenck: towards treatment of Intellectual Disability and Autism disorders

Annette Schenck's research focuses on dissecting molecular networks and mechanisms underlying human brain function and disease. In order to be able to investigate the large number of genes, we use a powerful genetic model organism, the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster.
Intellectual disability and autism are frequent and currently untreatable disorders. The researchers will use an ancient, highly conserved form of learning and the fruit fly as a model to investigate the neurobiology of these disorders and develop effective translational treatment strategies for subgroups of patients.

Vici grants 2018

Maaike van Berkel, professor of Medieval History

Maaike van Berkel will use her Vici grant to conduct research into the water supply in the Medieval Middle East. Water supply is the largest challenge of the  Middle East, which has little water as it is. Nevertheless, pre-modern urban societies still managed to provide their many citizens with drinking water. Van Berkel will be conducting research into the prerequisites for sustainable water supply by analysing the successful (and less successful) strategies and practices of the pre-modern Middle East.

Moniek Buijzen, professor of Communication Sciences

Moniek Buijzen will use her Vici grant to research social networks such as Instagram and Snapchat. These social media offer unprecedented technological possibilities to encourage the health of young people, for instance by peer influencers in the network. She and her research team will use innovative data technology to discover how the possibilities of online social networking campaigns can be optimally utilised, without breaching the privacy of young people.

Marguérite Corporaal, associate professor of English Literature

Marguérite Corporaal will use her Vici grant to research nineteenth and early-twentieth century European couleur locale (local colour). To date, it has mostly been interpreted in the context of national identity formation. Corporaal wants to show that regionalism is not less relevant to transnational questions, such as globalisation and migration, in which transnational circulation, republication and reception of couleur locale in the media and in fiction played important roles.

Dennis Schutter, associate professor of Cognitive Psychology

Dennis Schutter will use his Vici grant to conduct research into aggression driven by blind rage. Studies into the psychobiological foundations of this destructive behaviour are of great importance as this form of aggression is a threat to our society. His research will chart the role of the cerebellum in anger and aggression. From there he wants to develop a new method for the regulation of anger attacks.

Vici grants 2017

Carolina de Weerth, Professor of Developmental Psychology of Early Development

Carolina de WeertCarolina de Weerth is an Argentinian-Dutch biologist. Her research focuses on pregnancy, babyhood and childhood. The integration of biological and psychological processes in development is fundamental to her research. In her research, she is mainly interested in how psychological factors, such as stress and anxiety, can play a role in our development at an early stage as well as influence our behaviour and physical well-being.
With her Vici grant, De Weerth wants to find out how intestinal bacteria affect typical human development, from infancy to adolescence. She will do this by investigating how bacteria colonise the intestines, in situations with more or less early life stress. Intestinal bacteria are essential for health, and as recently shown in animals, probably also affect our brain and behaviour.

Maroeska Rovers, Professor of Evidence Based Surgery

Maroeska RoversIt is her ambition to contribute to the development of effective, affordable, and valuable surgical innovations. Rovers will use her Vici grant to perform research with the aim of developing better methods to evaluate surgical innovations as early as possible. Currently, this evaluation takes place when these innovations have largely been developed and marketed. Up to half of the innovations do not add any value which results in a waste of healthcare costs in Europe. According to Rovers, new medical tools should already be evaluated for added value for patients as early as the very first concept. She intends to develop, test, and validate methods for this.

Vici grants 2016

Onno Crasborn, Professor of Dutch Sign Language

Onno-CrasbornOnno Crasborn directs research into sign language. His personal research primarily involves the composition of gestures: the movements and positions of the hands, face, head, and upper body.
With his Vici grant, Crasborn will research how, although each country has its own sign language, the hearing impaired are able to communicate with signers from other countries with remarkable ease. Crasborn will attempt to discover how well this functions in practice and what the hearing impaired and interpreters do exactly when communicating across linguistic borders.

Anneke den Hollander, Professor of Molecular Ophthalmology

Anneke-den-HollanderAnneke den Hollander performs research into viruses and molecular causes of frequently occurring ocular illnesses, including age-related macular degeneration. Macular degeneration is the most significant cause of severely poor vision and blindness among the elderly.
With her Vici grant, Den Hollander would like to develop an "eye chip" for various sub-groups of patients, which would mimic the functions and structure of the eye. Using this model, new treatments can be tested, allowing patients to receive personalised treatment in the future.

Mark Huijbregts,
Professor of Integrated Environmental Analysis

Mark HuijbregtsMark Huijbregts is Professor of Integrated Environmental Analysis. He works on the development and evaluation of environmental factories, methodological development in the field of life-cycle and risk analyses, and the life-cycle analysis of renewable energy sources. He is looking to devise the best method for determining environmental stress.
With his Vici grant, Huijbregts intends to research how large the global environmental footprint of renewable energy sources is. However, that environmental footprint is contingent upon a number of environmental factors. In this project, Mark Huijbregts will use information about the location, time, and type of technology to determine the environmental footprint of renewable energy sources in a systematic fashion when compared to fossil energy sources for all places on earth.

Lotte Jensen,
Professor of Dutch Cultural and Literary History

Lotte-JensenShe researches the development of national identity and, in addition to her other focuses, examines the role of war and peacetime literature in shaping an early-modern Dutch identity (ca. 1648-1815).
With her Vici grant, Jensen will research how disasters impact societies. They not only have a destructive effect, but also create a sense of solidarity. Jensen’s project will investigate the ways in which disasters have contributed to the development of local and national identity in The Netherlands between 1421 (the St. Elizabeth's flood) and 1890 (the Harsh Winter) from a cultural-historical perspective.

Alexey Kimel, physicist at the Institute for Molecules and Materials

Alexey-KimelAlexey Kimel researches the properties of magnetic materials and how magnetisation in materials can be changed, e.g. with pulses of light. One of his discoveries was a new method of magnetic storage, that utilised less energy.
With his Vici grant, Kimel intends to research spins, the elementary magnets of which all other magnets are composed. These elementary magnets are joined via a reciprocal effect. It is one of the strongest quantum effects and the strongest force in magnetism. Kimel would like to develop methods for controlling the strength of this force with light and use this to achieve the fastest possible and most efficient magnetic data storage.

Ronald van Rij, Associate Professor of Experimental Virology

Ronald-van-RijRonald van Rij researches viruses that have been transmitted by mosquitoes, such as the Dengue and Zika viruses. His research group primarily studies the molecular interplay between virus, human host, and mosquito.
With his Vici grant, van Rij will study the anti-viral defence of the mosquito. His group has recently discovered new classes of small, non-coding RNAs in the mosquito. In the Vici project, the role of these small RNAs in the regulation of gene expression, anti-viral defence, and virus transmission will be researched.

Vici grants 2015

Agnes Akkerman,
hoogleraar Arbeidsmarkt Instituties en Arbeidsrelaties

Agnes Akkerman heeft een Vicibeurs van 1,5 miljoen euro ontvangen voor haar onderzoek: Een ontevreden werknemer, een ontevreden burger?
Mondige werknemers worden soms bestraft met slechtere carrièrekansen of pesterijen door werkgevers en collega’s. onderzoekt hoe en waarom het uiten van onvrede door werknemers wordt onderdrukt en welke gevolgen dit heeft voor het gedrag van werknemers, binnen en buiten de organisatie, zoals hun stemgedrag.

Olivier Hekster, Professor of Ancient History

Olivier-Hekster-159376-3kHekster studies the role of ideology in Roman antiquity. He specifically studies the image of Roman emperors: How did these most powerful men in the most successful empire in Western history view themselves and how were they viewed by others? With his Vici grant, Hekster will research the significant role traditions play in the way in which people present, challenge and accept power. Especially at times when political systems go through change, such as in Roman times, it is important to formulate power in traditional terms. Hekster’s project studies how this process works with Roman history (50 B.C. – 565 A.D.) as a reference.

Olga Igonkina, Professor by special appointment in Experimental High Energy Physics

Olga IgonkinaTogether with her colleagues from the ATLAS experiment at CERN, Igonkina aims to shed light on questions about how our universe was created. During the Big Bang, matter and antimatter were 'made' in equal quantities. So why is it that 13.8 billion years later we see a vast excess of matter and practically no antimatter? Particle physicists think that specific elementary particles called leptons can provide an answer to this fundamental question about the evolution of our universe.

Gijs Nelemans, Professor of Gravitational wave astrophysics

Gijs NelemansAstrophysicist Gijs Nelemans thinks that we still know frustratingly little about the evolution of binary stars: two stars that revolve around each other. With his Vici grant, he will use the recently discovered gravitational waves to better understand these extreme events in the universe. The merging of black holes that cause gravitational waves are the final stage of the long and complex evolution of binary stars. “Now that the final products have been observed for the first time, we can better map out the earlier stages,” says Nelemans. “It would be helpful if, in addition to gravitational waves, light or other electromagnetic radiation during this merging could also be measured.” Nelemans is building such a telescope: BlackGEM, which will interface with LIGO-Virgo detectors.

Vici grants 2014

Roshan Cools, Professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry

Brain drugs: the pros and cons.
roshan coolsOur society believes in ‘human improvement’. For example, there are healthy people who try to enhance their brain functions by using dopamine-stimulating drugs such as Ritalin and Concerta. Professor Roshan Cools is doing research on cognitive control, an important brain function that ensures we are not too easily distracted if we have set ourselves specific goals. Some people try to increase this control by taking medicines such as Ritalin or Concerta, but it is not totally clear whether these substances really do enhance cognitive performance or what their effects are on thinking. There are even indications that they actually reduce certain cognitive functions such as creativity.
We see differences between individuals, but the effects also seem to depend on the situation in which the medicines are used. To determine these effects more precisely, a better insight is needed into the way in which dopamine influences the neurocognitive mechanisms involved in cognitive control. The consequences are unclear. This project is investigating the pros and cons of using dopamine in terms of the brain functions important for both optimal cognitive control and creative thinking.

Asli Özyürek, Professor in Gesture language and cognition

asli ozyurekAsli Özyürek is full professor at Radboud University’s Center for Language Studies. She investigates the relations between meaningful bodily actions, language, cognition, and communication. For this aim, she studies two domains of human communicative behavior in which body and language are closely related: gestures that speakers use spontaneously and signed languages, the natural languages of deaf communities. Signed languages use space and iconic structures to depict space. For example to describe a pen next to paper, a signer can use one hand to represent the shape of the paper and the other for the pen. In spoken languages, the speech does not allow such iconic mappings- except for their gestures accompanying speech. In her Vici project, Özyürek aims to investigate whether the iconic aspects of signed languages influence the spatial cognition of signed language users in another way than those of spoken language users.  Multimodal Language and Cognition Lab

Joris Veltman,  Professor of Translational Genomics

veltmanNew mutations in egg and sperm cells (de novo mutations) can cause illness if they occur precisely at a relevant position on a gene. Professor of Genomics Joris Veltman: “In my exome and genome research, I have demonstrated for the first time that de novo mutations are an important cause of, for example, intellectual development disorders. We also see that the numbers of mutations in a father increase with age.”
Veltman, also affiliated to the Maastricht UMC+, would like to do more research into the causes of these spontaneous mutations and the consequences for health and illness. Do these mutations have an effect if they are not all present in one gene, but somewhere else in the DNA material? How many de novo mutations are passed on to a child from its fifty-year-old father, either by normal means or through IVF techniques? Could de novo mutations be affecting male fertility? Veltman is going to use his Vici to find reliable answers to such questions using the newest genetic techniques and bioinformatics. He also hopes to gain more insight into de novo mutations in the whole genome. Veltman: “The research will enable us to offer a better interpretation of the causes and effects of variation in genetic material. This is of great clinical significance.”

Vici grants 2013  (in Dutch)

Rob Baltussen, Professor of Global Health Economics

20140127 Baltussen 200Wie krijgt wat in de gezondheidszorg? 
Het stellen van prioriteiten in de gezondheidszorg wordt steeds belangrijker. Rob Baltussen combineert theorieën en methoden uit de economie, ethiek en de besliskunde om deze beter te kunnen onderbouwen. Inzichten worden toegepast op het gebied van HIV in Zuid-Afrika.

Jolanda de Vries, Professor of  Translational tumor Immunology

20140127 De Vries 200Een zichtbaar effectief vaccin tegen kanker
Dendritische celtherapie berust op de wetenschap dat dendritische cellen een centrale rol spelen in het tot stand komen van afweerreacties in het lichaam. Soms is deze therapie succesvol, maar lang niet altijd. Jolanda de Vries gaat met haar onderzoek zichtbaar maken wat er in de patiënt met kanker gebeurt als de dendritische cellen zijn toegediend. De onderzoekers hopen zo te achterhalen waar het cellulaire vaccin aan moet voldoen en welke processen belangrijk zijn om een effectieve afweerreactie tegen kanker op te wekken.