At Erasmus MC, three persons were granted €800,000. Zhenyu Gao is to find out how cerebellum determines an optimum strategy for the body’s movements. Klazina Kooiman’s study will focus on reducing the side effects of medications by adding small gas bubbles. Qiuwei Pan will search existing medicines for new ways to treat hepatitis E.

At ESE, two academics will receive grants allowing them to embark on five-year projects. Andreas Alfons is to conduct a study on statistics methods allowing people to better judge the value of online rating data. Jan Stoop will deepen our understanding of poverty by sending households envelopes containing money. Amanda Brandellero (ESHCC) has been given the green light for a study on the role of craftsmanship and skilled labour in the future of cities.

85 Vidi grants

Wobbly black holes, personalised nanoparticles, resilience in climate policy and more: 85 experienced researchers were granted Vidi grants, worth €800,000 each. Utrecht University was awarded more grants than any other Dutch university.

Vidi grants are meant for experienced academics who have conducted several years’ worth of research after receiving their PhDs. They can use the money to do research for a five-year period.

Fewer applicants

When selecting the academics who will be awarded the grants, research sponsor NWO takes into account the academics’ qualities, the originality of their research proposals, the expected academic impact of the studies and whether or not it will be possible to apply the knowledge in practical terms. The grants are part of NWO’s so-called Renewal Incentive, involving Veni, Vidi and Vici grants, which are awarded to beginner, experienced and highly experienced researchers, respectively.

This year 443 academics applied for a Vidi grant, down 25% from last year. The reduction was due to the introduction of the embedment guarantee requirement, under which researchers are only able to apply for a Vidi grant if they can present a statement from a research institution stating that they will be given a tenure track position or permanent contract if they are awarded the grant. Since there are now fewer grant applicants than there used to be, the success rate has risen from 15 per cent to 19 per cent.

Followed closely

Of the 443 applicants, 245 were male and 198 were female. In the end, 50 men (i.e., 20 per cent of applicants) and 35 women (18 per cent of applicants) were awarded grants. This distribution ratio is comparable to what we saw in previous years. Academics representing the exact and natural sciences were most likely to see their applications honoured (28 per cent). Just over one in ten applicants representing the social sciences and the humanities (13 per cent) were awarded a Vidi grant, along with nearly one in five applicants representing the technical sciences (18 per cent).

Utrecht University was the most successful institution, being awarded no fewer than 10 grants. Radboud University Nijmegen (8), the University of Amsterdam and Delft University of Technology (7 each) were also quite successful this year. Amsterdam UMC was the most successful applicant among the academic medical centres (5 grants), followed closely by Leiden UMC, which was awarded 4 grants.


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Number of Vidi grant applications decreased by 25% since NWO instituted new rules

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