The GUTS project is directed by Eveline Crone, professor of Developmental Neuroscience in Society. It focuses on the research on brain development among young people and will receive 22 million euro.

The project takes interest in how systems of family, friends, school and societal norms, as well as such events as the pandemic affect ‘successful growing up’, how youth can contribute to the present and future of the society and which part social inequality plays in it.

Algorithms and ethics

Academics from Rotterdam are also involved in ‘The algorithmic society’, led by the University of Amsterdam. The consortium focuses on investigating how public values and human rights can be safeguarded within the development of (semi-) automated processes, such as artificial intelligence.

The project looks at human values as autonomy, dignity and privacy, the definitions of which often get blurred during technological developments. The project will receive 21.3 million euro for further research.

The consortium ‘Stress in action’ aims to discover new methods to measure and reduce stress in daily life. Part of the 19.6 million euro for the project will go to Erasmus MC for research on the impact of stress and stress-related diseases.

Cross-field collaborations

This year’s winners are notable for their cross-field collaborations. One of the seven selected consortia brings biologists and technology developers together to study and manipulate body cells in diseased and healthy tissues, which should lead to better treatment of diseases.

In the GUTS project, psychologists, sociologists, child psychiatrists and neuroscientists come together from Erasmus University, the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam UMC, Leiden University, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, Radboudumc and Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience to study youth development. Full-scale collaboration stretches for other consortia as well, in which researchers from different universities study algorithms and ethics, new plastics, materials for quantum computers and stress in daily life.

Ten years ahead

With the grant, the consortia will carry out research for ten years, which will result in around two million euros a year per project. The Gravitation Grants were awarded for the first time in 2012: a total of five rounds have now taken place and a sixth round will take place in the coming academic year.

By comparison, the highest Dutch science prize – the Spinoza Prize – is worth 2.5 million euro and it’s not possible to win it ten years in a row. Notably, three main applicants in this round of Gravitation Grants are also former winners of the Spinoza Prize – Anna Akhmanova (Utrecht), Eveline Crone (Rotterdam) and Jan van Hest (Eindhoven).


Read more

Vici grants delayed because of COVID-19

COVID-19 has disrupted the time schedules of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). This week,…