DRC grants for twelve Utrecht-based researchers

61 grants from Open Competition SSH XS funding

Twelve researchers affiliated with Utrecht University receive funding from DRC's Open Competition SSH XS programme. The funding of up to 50,000 euros gives ample opportunity to experiment with promising ideas or innovative initiatives. Interestingly, many of the research projects awarded are about young people. This is also a great stimulus for university-wide child and youth research within Utrecht University's strategic theme Dynamics of Youth.

Utrecht projects and researchers

Project: Between a rock and a hard place: How do Indigenous young adults make sense of global climate change?

This research will hopefully shed more light on intergenerational perspectives from Indigenous peoples on the climate emergency as well as their adaptation strategies. The grant allows us to gather in-depth and local perspectives on global climate change, which allows the development of a new research direction in the Netherlands and beyond.

Indigenous peoples are severely affected by the adverse effects of climate change. Ample evidence shows that Indigenous peoples' traditional ecological knowledge systems have contributed to successful climate change adaptation. Still, studies have often overlooked the younger generations who serve a bridge function between their elders and mainstream society through knowledge transformation. By taking Taiwanese Indigenous communities as a case, this project focuses on how Indigenous young adults perceive climate change and investigates their aspirations on how current and future community adaptation pathways should be shaped in a bottom-up and participatory manner.

Project: From brain to behavior: cascading effects of early brain, cognitive and motor development on language ability in children born extremely preterm

It was with great enthusiasm that I read the news that my application has been awarded. This funding brings us closer to understanding the processes underlying language development, which is crucial for a growing child.

Prematurity is associated with a wide range of adverse outcomes, including persistent difficulties learning language. It is highly challenging to determine at an early age which preterm children are most at risk for language impairment. To break ground, this project adopts an innovative, integrative approach to (impaired) language development, relating detailed linguistic error profiles of school-aged children born preterm to early brain, cognitive and motor development. The results of this study on developmental cascades from brain to behavior will elucidate why children develop language difficulties, allowing for their early identification and the timely start of interventions.

Project: Not all help is equal: What type of help do young children seek or provide?

Jellie Sierksma examines when and why young children (6-8 years) seek and provide empowering and non-empowering help. This research is pivotal to stimulate exchanges of help early in life that foster mastery learning and prevent educational inequality.

Read more at FSBS

Project: What should we do with the bodies? Handling donated bodies in Dutch academic hospitals, 1970–2020

The justice minister wants regulations for dealing with donor bodies. I will investigate what moral dilemmas medics encounter in practice so that the new regulations can reflect this.

If someone donates their body to science, does that mean the army or car manufacturers can experiment on it too? Dutch academic hospitals receive around 650 body donations each year. Yet, although the donation process itself is clearly regulated, guidelines for how these bodies can and cannot be used after donation are absent. To develop these much-needed guidelines, we require insight into the moral dilemmas that emerge in the handling of donated bodies. This project provides insight by studying the recent history of handling donated bodies in Dutch academic hospitals with the methodology of witness seminars.

Project: Media Panics of the Past. New Media and the Challenge to Democracy in Western Europe, 1890-1990

This funding can help to better understand how democracies are able to respond to 'media fear' due to the rise of new media.

New media are often believed to pose a major threat to today’s democracies. But today’s concerns are far from new. Over the course of the past century ever ‘newer’ media posed challenges to democracy. This project studies how societies responded to these challenges by translating fears for new media into institutional reforms to protect democracy. It investigates three concrete cases of institutional reforms that responded to the breakthrough of new media of their day: mass newspapers in France at the end of the nineteenth century; radio in the Netherlands in the 1920s; and commercial television in Italy in the 1980s.

Project: Innovation in Ship Design in the Age of Sail: A Digital Approach

This study pioneers a new methodology for the study of the past by combining historical analysis, with 3D modelling and engineering simulation. These stand to offer new insights into technological innovation across time.

The Age of Sail saw significant innovations in ship design, which greatly increased European nations' ability to explore, compete, and trade globally. However, historians lack evidence to assess the performance of these vessels. This project aims to develop a new methodology to rigorously study technological innovation in ship design across time, taking as comparison Dutch and British ships of the eighteenth century. By combining historical analysis with 3D scanning techniques and engineering simulations, the study pioneers a new methodology for the study of the historical past and provides insights into one of the most innovative periods in navigation history.

Project: The Rise of Algorithmic Recruiters: How Algorithms Influence HR Managers' Behavior?

I am absolutely thrilled and honoured to have been awarded the Open Competition SGW XS! I am incredibly excited to embark on the journey of exploring how humans and algorithms interact and shape our future world. This research grant presents a valuable opportunity for me to contribute to the growing body of knowledge in this field. I am sincerely grateful for the support that enables me to undertake this vital research.

Sarah Rezaei Khavas is an Assistant Professor at the Utrecht University School of Economics. Her awarded study investigates the role of responsibility shirking and moral ignorance in hiring processes when human recruiters receive potentially biased recommendations from algorithms. The use of algorithmic screening is widely accepted as a valuable tool, but it also raises ethical concerns regarding reinforcing existing human biases and diminishing moral accountability. This study contributes to understanding the effect of (partially) delegating decision rights to algorithms on human behavior and developing policies that ensure fairness and transparency in using algorithms in decision-making processes.

Project: Boosting minorities' well-being in the public workplace: the effect of social belonging interventions

I am very happy, honored and thankful to have been awarded the Open Competition SGW grant XS just before the summer break, which enables me to further integrate the disciplines of psychology and public management. I am extremely excited to start research on the potential benefits of social belonging interventions in the public workplace. My goal is to offer organizations new opportunities to address the pressing issue of low employee well-being in practice.

Dr. Carina Schott is a researcher at the Utrecht University School of Governance. She has been awarded this grant for a study into promoting social belonging in the workplace among colleagues who belong to a minority, for example because of their colour or because they are women. We know that the well-being of these public servants in particular is under pressure. Can so-called 'social belonging interventions' boost the well-being of those employees, specifically in the public sector?

Project: MovieMagic: A novel diagnostic test for visual impairments following brain damage

Within this project, Teuni ten Brink investigates a new, objective, and fun diagnostic test in which no explicit responses are needed, making results more reliable.

Read more at FSBS

Project: China in the Balkans in a Soon-to-Be Displaced Serbian Village

Deana Jovanović explores the impact of Chinese investments in the Balkans, driven by the Belt and Road Initiative. The study explores experiences of transformations of everyday day life in a Serbian village caused by rapidly expanding open-cast copper mines, recently taken over by one of the world-leading Chinese copper and gold companies.

Read more at FSBS

Project: Beyond the threshold: Investigating the mechanisms behind the transition from acute pain to chronic pain

Angelos Krypotos tests a novel framework for examining how pain-avoidance contributes to the transition between acute to chronic pain, as well as examine the role of individual differences.

Read more at FSBS

Project: The Aftermath of Migrant Death at the Turkish-Iranian Border

With her project Marlene Schäfers delves into the often-overlooked aftermath of death during migration through an ethnographic study of Turkey’s largest cemetery for unidentified migrants in Van, close to the Iranian border.

Read more at FSBS
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