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Twenty-three recent doctorate recipients have been awarded a Veni grant from the Dutch Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) for research at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the UvA’s Academic Medical Centre (AMC-UvA).

Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research

In total, 1124 researchers applied for a Veni grant from the NWO this year, of which 161 were successful. Each researcher will receive €250,000. With a Veni grant, they can carry out research for up to three years.

Accepted projects

Economics and Business

  • Dr Maël Lebreton (Economics): The strategic dimension of preferences
    Economists use binary choices to understand people’s preferences. Using this method, this project will investigate how participants’ choices not only depend on their core preferences, but also on strategies they have developed to choose quickly and efficiently.


  • Dr Marlena Whiting (Archaeology): Gendering sacred space: female networks, patronage and ritual experience in early Christian pilgrimage
    Many of the earliest Christian pilgrims to the Holy Land were women. Their stories survive to this day, but scholars have so far not considered how their gender shaped their experiences. This project will investigate how women performed pilgrimage and experienced their encounters with the sacred in the Early Christian centuries.

Medicine (AMC-UvA)

  • Dr Bakiye Avciv (Biomedical Engineering): Cell mechanics for regenerative medicine
    In this project, Bakiye Avciv will develop a non-invasive measurement technique, based on optical coherence tomography and the principle of vibrography, for the evaluation of the quality of oocytes and pre-implantation embryos by means of acoustic forces. The ultimate goal is to increase the success rate of IVF treatments.
  • Dr Bram Coolen (Radiology): Risky arteries - MRI sees what we do not see
    The risk of stroke is strongly determined by the degree of vascular inflammation in the entire vascular bed between the heart and the head. In this project, Bram Coolen will develop new MRI technology to accurately measure, within one scanning session, the degree of inflammation of the vascular wall in the carotid artery, aorta and cerebral vessels.
  • Dr Anke Tijsen (Cardiology): Less severe congenital cardiac arrhythmia?
    In hereditary cardiac arrhythmias, patients with the same mutation (change in genetic material) do not all have an equally serious condition. Anke Tijsen will determine whether additional changes in the diseased gene may explain this difference. She will attempt to develop a novel therapy for these arrhythmias based on these additional changes.

Social and Behavioural Sciences

  • Dr Thijs Bol (Sociology): Pay gaps between occupations
    In recent decades, income inequality increased in many Western countries. Research shows that this increase is mainly explained by a growing gap in wages between occupations. In this project, Thijs Globe will examine why some professions are becoming more lucrative, while incomes in other professions are stagnating or decreasing.
  • Dr William Boterman (Urban Studies): Educational inequality and socio-spatial strategies of parents
    What social and spatial strategies do parents use to get access to good schools? William Boterman examines the relationship between neighbourhood and school choice in Dutch cities and how it differs between parents of different education levels and backgrounds (immigrant/Dutch).
  • Dr Katjana Gattermann (Communication Science): Facing Europe: the personalisation of European Union politics in news coverage and its consequences for democracy
    Can the personalisation of politics in the news media promote the relationship between politicians and citizens in the European Union? Katjana Gatterman will examine developments in the personalisation of media coverage in six EU member states. She will also look at how these developments affect the knowledge and attitudes of citizens towards the EU.
  • Dr Beste Isleyen (Political Science): The daily governance of transit migration in Turkey at European Union borders: the Europeanisation of Turkish border and migration governance
    Beste Isleyen will research the influence of the EU migration regime on Turkish risk perceptions regarding transit migration. She will also examine its effects on the physical control of borders and border crossing in Turkey, and on the mobility decisions of migrants using Turkey as a transit country. New insights into the impact of the EU migration regime on the everyday management of borders and migration in Turkey will be offered.
  • Dr Dora Matzke (Psychology): Bayesian approach to cognitive process models of response inhibition
    Which cognitive processes play a role in interrupting (inhibiting) an act already begun? Dora Matzke will develop a framework for process models of response inhibition, with which scientists can evaluate the contribution of cognitive processes to response inhibition using Bayesian model selection.
  • Dr Dylan Miller (Psychology): Psychological measurement procedures for responses and response times
    Statements about psychological traits such as intelligence are based on respondents’ answers to test questions. Dylan Miller will develop procedures that take into consideration not just the answers but also the response times to questions, in order to reach better conclusions about the psychological differences between and within people.
  • Dr Eline Smit (Communication Science): Personal preferences in online health communication
    With online health messages, people can improve their lifestyle in order to prevent chronic diseases. But not everyone wants to receive such messages in the same way. Eline Smit will therefore explore how the presentation of online health messages can best be tailored to personal preferences.


  • Dr Sebastian Altmeyer (Computing Science): The time is now: timing verification for safety-critical multi-cores
    Safety-critical computer systems embedded into cars or airplanes must work correctly, for a single failure or a wrong timing may have catastrophic consequences and cost lives. This research aims at guaranteeing the correct timing behaviour of such safety-critical systems for modern processor architectures by devising new mathematical models and tools.
  • Dr Anne Archibald (Astronomy): Mapping the accretion processes that form the Universe's most rapidly rotating stars
    Some neutron stars, called millisecond pulsars, rotate hundreds of times a second because of the transfer of matter from a companion star. The details of this process are not exactly known. Using radio, optical, X-ray and gamma telescopes, Anne Archibald will look for the origins of such systems.
  • Dr Sonja Cox (Mathematics): Numerical analysis of nonlinear stochastic partial differential equations
    Many processes in the sciences are described by (non-linear) stochastic partial differential equations. For these equations, there are no explicit solutions. Numerical approximations are therefore used in order to gain an understanding of the underlying process. Through her research, Sonja Cox will demonstrate that such approximations can be made efficiently.
  • Dr Andrea Gargano (Chemistry): Intact protein analysis (IPA)
    Andrea Gargano will develop an automated, multi-stage analytical system for the separation and characterisation of intact proteins. By combining gel electrophoresis, multi-dimensional liquid chromatography and mass spectrometry, various forms of proteins can be mapped.
  • Dr Ivan Kryven (Mathematics/Computing Science): Deterministic modelling in multiple dimensions
    The evolution of large populations - such as the formation of planets from interstellar dust, the emergence of tiny crystals, or the growth of social networks - is full of hidden similarities, despite the enormous differences in scales and worlds. Ivan Kryven will develop mathematical tools to help scientists understand, simulate and predict these phenomena.
  • Dr Thomas Mensink (Computing Science): What & where: learning visual representations of concepts in context
    Millions of photos are taken every day. In order to automatically index, classify and analyse them, it is necessary to translate the images into a language understandable to humans. Thomas Mensink will explore combinations and relationships between different objects, scenes and people in an image in order to generate comprehensible translations.
  • Dr Elly Morriën (Biology): Soil bugs and fungal threads: restoration of nature below ground
    Ecological restoration on former agricultural land is expensive, slow and does not always lead to the desired result. Elly Morriën will focus her research on the role of soil in ecosystem development during the ecological restoration of former farmland. Through her research, she would like to find out more about secondary succession and discover ways to improve the success of ecosystem restoration.
  • Dr Guus Regts (Mathematics): Making mathematical sense of large networks
    Researchers have developed the concept of graph limits in order to analyse huge networks like Facebook and the Internet with the aid of mathematics. In this project, Guus Regts will study graph limits using models from statistical mechanics.
  • Dr Laura Rossi (Physics): Design of 2-dimensional soft materials
    Despite their importance in science and technology, 2D materials are difficult to study directly at the atomic scale. Lauri Rossi will assemble smart, micron-size particles into directionally bonded 2D structures mimicking atomic systems, allowing observation of single particle behaviours.
  • Dr Lisa Zeune (Physics): Towards realistic predictions for new physics searches at the LHC
    What is the Universe? What is dark matter? Using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), scientists are searching for new physics to find answers to these and other questions. The search is only possible if there are realistic and accurate theoretical predictions for new physics processes. These predictions are central to the research that Lisa Zeune will carry out at the FOM Institute for Subatomic Physics Nikhef.


  • Dr Marija Bartl (Civil Law): Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP): the de-democratisation of European market regulation?
    Marija Bartl will analyse the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) within the framework of ‘de-democratisation’ of markets outside the state. She will explore the democratic influence of TTIP institutions and offer practical applications for minimising negative effects.