Eight Radboud-projects to receive NWA-ORC grant

Date of news: 25 November 2020

Researchers from Radboud University and the Radboud university medical center are involved with eight consortiums that will team up on interdisciplinary research aimed at scientific and societal breakthroughs. Researchers from the Faculty of Arts are co-applicants in two of the consortia.

These projects are part of the National Science Agenda’s ‘Onderzoek op Routes door Consortia’ (‘NWA-ORC’ in Dutch). In total, 21 consortiums have been given a grant through this program, and over 93 million euros is available for the various projects. The overarching goal is to achieve broad cooperation on urgent matters and issues. Below is a brief summary of each of the eight consortia in which the Radboud University is involved. In the first two applicants from the Faculty of Arts are involved.

Opening the Black Box of Deep Learning for Language, Speech and Music

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Jelle Zuidema, University of Amsterdam. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Iris Hendricx and Louis ten Bosch.

Deep learning is producing AI models so accurate that they are significantly affecting individuals, businesses and society. New responsibilities and questions are arising, and the poor interpretability of deep learning is a serious limitation. The consortium studies how to make deep learning transparent and ‘explainable’ for speech, language, and music applications.

Looking for the limes: the Romans in the Netherlands

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Saskia Stevens, Utrecht University. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Henk van Houtum and Jaap Verheul.

This project investigates how borders work and how they can become visible as cultural and political constructs. It looks particularly at the limes, the border of the Roman Empire in the Netherlands, how it was constructed and what its societal impact has been from the Roman period until today.

One second after the Big Bang

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Auke Colijn, University of Amsterdam. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Nicolo de Groot and Uli Zeitler

Every second Earth is bombarded with an enormous number of neutrinos from the cosmos. These neutrinos were created in the primordial soup one second after the Big Bang, but they have never been observed. The researchers will develop an experiment to observe ‘relic neutrinos’ by investigating the decay of heavy-hydrogen tritium.

Revitalized Democracy for Resilient Societies

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Frank Hendriks, Tilburg University. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Carolien van Ham and Kristof Jacobs.

The research project REDRESS (‘Revitalized Democracy for Resilient Societies’) looks at whether and how ‘hybrid democracy innovations’ combining plebiscitary and deliberative instruments can strengthen representative democracy, under which conditions, and with what effects. For this purpose field experts, valorization specialists, international and Dutch knowledge leaders in this field closely cooperate.

Brain and AI for safe navigation

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Sander Bohté, Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Pieter Medendorp

Humans are good at predicting and responding to others’ behavior, machines are not. This is a major obstacle for integrating “smart” machines in our society. The consortium will chart out human behaviors and implement them in AI systems, to safely guide autonomous agents in society, following newly defined laws and regulations.

eHealth Junior

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Manon Hillegers, Erasmus MC. Coproject with Radboud University Medical Center.

Within eHealth junior, care professionals, patients, business partners, and government collaborate to develop high quality eHealth tools for one million chronically ill children. These tools allow personalized and trans-diagnostic prevention of psychological problems and optimal participation. eHealth tools will be made widely available through accessible, user-friendly, safe, and sustainable platforms.

Quantum Inspire – the Dutch Quantum Computer in the Cloud

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Lieven Vandersypen, Delft University of Technology. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Bert Kappen

The quantum computer is underway, but is society ready for it? Quantum Inspire combines the latest quantum technology into the first European prototype quantum computer and makes it available to everyone 24/7, with a view on first exposure, education, development and new applications that address important societal issues.

The Dutch Black Hole Consortium

Coordinator on behalf of the consortium: Stefan Vandoren, Utrecht University. Co-applicant from Radboud University: Peter Jonker

This “Dutch Black Hole Consortium” will carry out an interdisciplinary black hole research programme, from developing telescope technology and doing geological research for the upcoming Einstein Telescope, to pure astronomy and foundational questions, curiosity driven, and with an educational and citizen science programme to further enhance societal impact.

For more information, please contact:

Science Communication Radboud University,, +31 24 3616000