NWO Innovation Research Incentives Scheme
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and the universities jointly set up the Innovation Research Incentives Scheme in 2000. The aim is to promote innovation in the field of academic research. The scheme seeks to encourage individual researchers and gives creative, talented researchers the opportunity to conduct their own research programme independently, while encouraging talented researchers to enter and remain committed to the scientific profession. The programme provides three kinds of grants:
Veni grants: for researchers who have recently received their PhD, to allow them to continue to develop their ideas; a maximum of €250,000.
Vidi grants: for researchers who have gained several years of research experience after their PhD. The grant allows them to develop their own innovative line of research and appoint one or more researchers; a maximum of €800,000.
Vici grants: for senior researchers who have demonstrated an ability to develop their own line of research. The grant allows them to do research and build up a research group over the next five years; a maximum €1,500,000.
Dr T. S. (Stefan) Barakat
Erasmus MC, Department of Clinical Genetics
The role of abnormalities in regulatory DNA elements in neurodevelopmental disorders
While neurodevelopmental disorders are common, they are not really understood. In addition to genes, human DNA contains many other regulatory elements. Their role in disease processes has hardly been studied, however. Dr Stefan Barakat is studying whether abnormalities in these regulatory elements play a role in the disease process. He is using a new method to identify and test these elements. The method involves the use of ‘mini-brains’ made from stem cells of patients. Dr Barakat hopes to gain new insights into the occurrence of abnormalities in early brain development.
Dr S. (Sebastiaan) Breedveld
Erasmus MC, Department of Radiation Oncology
Towards better radiation therapy for everyone
The goal of radiation therapy as a treatment for cancer, is to eradicate the tumour while keeping the development of possible treatment-related complications to a minimum. This is a highly complex mathematical problem and the current approach does not always result in the best possible treatment for patients. Dr ir Sebastiaan Breedveld finds this unacceptable. He is developing automated methods that systematically search for the best option. Each and every patient deserves the best possible treatment.
Dr L. E. (Luc) Coffeng
Erasmus MC, Department of Public Health
Elimination of worm infections in men
Globally, parasitic worm infections still affect the health and socioeconomic status of over one billion people. Fortunately, these infections are now being targeted for eradication. Dr Luc Coffeng will develop new methods to better understand and predict how mass drug administration can lead to the eradication of parasitic worm infections. He will also study how important barriers like drug resistance, mobility of human and insect populations and diagnostic uncertainty can be overcome.
Dr C. J. P. (Christophe) Lembregts
Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University
Improving Quantitative Decision Making
Each day, we process a considerable amount of quantitative information. Nevertheless, making consistent decisions on the basis of this information is problematic. Dr Christophe Lembregts investigates how the metric in which information is described (for example grams or cubes of sugar) can improve our understanding of quantitative information. He aims to find a novel way to enhance decision making based on quantitative information and thereby improve the quality of decisions.
Dr H.F. (Hester) Lingsma
Erasmus MC, Department of Public Health
Turning differences into evidence
We often see large variation in the treatment provided by hospitals. This variation is partly caused by the fact that the effectiveness of many medical treatments is not clear. Dr Hester Lingsma will research which treatments work best. She will use large databases and advanced statistical methods to compare patient outcomes between hospitals with different standard treatment approaches. One of her focus areas in this research will be on optimal treatment for patients with traumatic brain injury.
Dr P. Y. E. (Edith) Leung
Erasmus School of Economics
Disclosures of alternative performance metrics: misleading or informative?
In addition to traditional profit figures, companies often report alternative performance metrics that are not based on prevailing accounting rules. Although such practices are legal, regulators and the media criticise these measures as being misleading. However, this claim is not backed by empirical evidence. By analysing the characteristics of these disclosures, Dr Edith Leung examines whether this type of reporting is indeed misleading or informative. She also investigates whether these results are context-dependent, and how measures are defined and used by investors and for managerial compensation purposes.
Dr K. M. (Karen) Oude Hengel
Erasmus MC, Department of Public Health
In or out of employment? Policies and economics as natural experiments
Given the ageing population, it is important to develop a full understanding of the labour participation rate of chronically ill people. Relatively little is known about how the macro level accounts for major European differences in labour participation rates. Using innovative statistical methods, Dr Karen Oude Hengel is studying the effects of national policy and the economic climate on the labour participation rate of the chronically ill.
Dr R. (Rogier) van Reekum
Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences
The settlement of new refugees in municipalities: making lives, forming issues
How does the settlement of new refugees in Dutch municipalities practically and materially become an issue for a widening network of publics? When refugees settle in municipalities, this affects both their and other people’s lives. Dr Rogier van Reekum will use the participant observation method to follow six refugee households for an extended period of time. He will study how people are brought together around shared issues like living and working when new refugees settle.
Dr R. (Ralph) Stadhouders
Erasmus MC, Department of Pulmonary Diseases
The immunity of our lungs under a molecular magnifying glass
Every day, the immune system protects our bodies against all kinds of pathogens and harmful substances. Sometimes, however, our immune system makes a mistake and responds in an excessive way to harmless substances, giving rise to an allergic or asthmatic reaction. Dr Ralph Stadhouders is studying the core of the immune cells involved. How are they activated and why does the process go wrong in the case of asthma? He hopes to find new ways of treating allergies and asthma.
Dr S. A. (Sonja) Swanson
Erasmus MC, Department of Epidemiology
A life-course approach to leveraging genes as natural experiments
Our genetic variants have been proposed as natural experiments with which we can study the consequences of obesity and other sustained exposures on health outcomes. However, using this ‘natural experiment’ appropriately and effectively requires novel statistical methods. Dr Sonja Swanson will develop and implement new methods, thus making it possible to make better decisions about potential interventions.
Dr J. M. (Virginie) Verhoeven
Erasmus MC, Department of Ophthalmology and Department of Clinical Genetics
Focus on high myopia
High myopia (severe near-sightedness; a refractive error of -6 or more) leads to blindness and is becoming more common. Treatment options are currently limited. Dr Virginie Verhoeven is investigating how a complex interplay between genetic and environmental factors, such as smartphone use and less playing outdoors, leads to high myopia and how this can be prevented. She is using new techniques for DNA research, such as genome sequencing in families with high myopia.
Dr L. (Laura) Zwaan
Erasmus MC, Institute of Medical Education Research Rotterdam
Looking at X-rays for a split second: unravelling the diagnostic process of radiologists
Radiologists look at an X-ray for a split second. Nevertheless, the diagnosis is correct in 70% of the cases. How can such a complex task be correctly performed so quickly? To what extent does the context drive this process? How does this skill develop? Dr Laura Zwaan will unravel this fascinating process and test the effectiveness of a new educational approach to teach students how to use medical images for diagnosis.