News and Events

21 December 2016

Utrecht attracts over 25% of awards in the Netherlands

Eight Utrecht researchers receive ERC Consolidator Grant

Eight researchers at Utrecht University have been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant of 1.5 to 2 million euros. The recipients are Christian Lange, Dirk van Miert and Ingrid Robeyn from the Faculty of Humanities, Rembert Duine, Friedrich Förster and Nathaniel Martin from the Faculty of Science, Cristina Grasseni from the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences and Jeroen Sluijter from the University Medical Center Utrecht. ERC Consolidator Grants are designed to enable excellent researchers to set up and develop their own line of research over a five-year period.

A total of 29 grants were awarded to researchers at Dutch universities. This means that the Netherlands comes fourth in the number of awards, after the United Kingdom, Germany and France. In all, 2274 European researchers submitted proposals for an ERC Consolidator Grant. The 314 awards represent an allocation rate of less than 14%. The Utrecht researchers who have received an ERC Consolidator Grant are listed below in alphabetical order.

Rembert Duine
Rembert Duine
Rembert Duine

Some materials can transmit signals without conducting electricity or losing energy. Theoretical physicist Rembert Duine studies this principle, and has recently received a ERC Consolidator Grant to facilitate his work. He will use the grant to better understand conduction by means of so-called ‘spin waves’, a quantum mechanical characteristic of electrons that is the foundation of this new, energy-efficient alternative means of transferring information. Read more

Friedrich Förster
Friedrich Forster

Friedrich Förster is one of the pioneers of a technique that makes it possible to observe cellular structures in molecular detail. Friedrich Förster, recently appointed Professor of Cryo-Electron Microscopy at Utrecht University, will use the ERC Consolidator Grant to study the workings of the endoplasmic reticulum, the compartment of the cell that specializes in the production of proteins. In so doing, he hopes to discover why the production of these proteins occasionally malfunctions, a situation occurring in many diseases. Read more

Cristina Grasseni
Cristina Grasseni

For a growing urban population (80% by 2050), food is a mediator of relations within social networks, not only a commodity or nutrient. With the ERC Cultural anthropologist Cristina Grasseni will use the ERC Consolidator Grant to study so called ‘food citizenship’. The project studies in-depth nine cases of collective food procurement across in Rotterdam, Turin and Gdańsk asking if collective food procurement networks indicate emerging forms of ‘food citizenship’. Read more

Christian Lange
Prof. dr. Christian Lange

Prof. Christian Lange (Islam and Arabic) was awarded a Consolidator Grant for his project SENSIS (‘The senses in Islam’). The aim of SENSIS is to write a cultural history of the senses in Islam, by examining how over the centuries the senses have been conceptualised, and calibrated, in a variety of Muslim literary traditions: the legal literature, Islamic philosophy and theology, and Arabic and Persian poetry. Read more

Nathaniel Martin
Nathaniel Martin

Antibiotics are essential, not only to combat short-term infections, but also to prevent infections during surgery and chemotherapy. However, bacteria are becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, which is reason for great concern. Nathaniel Martin (Pharmaceutical Sciences) has received an ERC Consolidator Grant to combat antibiotic resistance. “Developing new antibiotics is a bit of an arms race,” Martin explains, “and the role of academic research is essential.” Read more

Dirk van Miert
Dr. Dirk van Miert

Open Science and Open Access are hotly debated today in the academic world. Most scholars are in favour of sharing their knowledge freely, even if there is no guarantee that they will get something in return. Apparently they assume that there is some greater good involved in sharing knowledge. Where does this ideal of knowledge come from? The ERC Consolidator Grant will allow historian and Latinist Dirk van Miert to study the pre-history of Open Science. From about 1500 to around 1800, the ‘citizens’ of this European knowledge-based civil society referred to their own community as the ‘Republic of Letters’ These scholars transcended religious, political and linguistic boundaries through their correspondence with one another. Read more

Ingrid Robeyns
Prof. dr. Ingrid Robeyns
Ingrid Robeyns

Theories of distributive justice have tended to focus on the worst-off, on getting everyone above a certain poverty-threshold, or on inequalities in opportunity. The current circumstances prompt philosophers to examine another distributive rule: making sure that no-one is above a certain limit in terms of wealth accumulation or the use of ecological resources. Can we say, either individually or collectively, that at some point we are polluting too much and using too many natural resources, or that we are having too much wealth? If so, why – and if not, why not? Prof. Ingrid Robeyns will use the ERC Consolidator Grant to study these questions from a philosophical perspective. Read more

Joost Sluijter
Joost Sluijter
Joost Sluijter

Joost Sluijter of the University Medical Center Utrecht conducts research into a very promising therapy to treat cardiac failure. The therapy involves stimulation of the repair process using saccules harvested from early offshoots of stem cells. 'Thanks to the ERC Consolidator Grant, I will be able to tackle several issues at the same time. We want to improve our understanding of how this works, but also achieve the end product more quickly in order to determine whether these saccules really have the potential to result in a product that can make a difference for individual patients.'  

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