As one of the nine researchers (Dutch) from Utrecht, Prof. Dr. Anna Gerbrandy will receive an ERC (European Research Council) Starting Grant of one and a half million euros. This European grant is awarded every five years to promising researchers who have proven that they can become independent research leaders.
Despite the fact that Gerbrandy is honoured to receive this personal grant, she states that she could not have done this alone: "It is extraordinarily honorable to receive this grant. This was preceded by a number of attempts that had just not been successful. The ERC is a personal grant to do research into a subject that has fascinated me more and more recently: the elusiveness of the phenomenon of powerful technology companies and what you could set against it. But developing that idea and writing a proposal is not a lonely struggle. It is also thanks to the support of the department, the Research Support Office (RSO), the input from and the interview practice sessions with colleagues who wanted to share their experiences, that I succeeded this time. What I'm most looking forward to now is really deepening the subject, together with a team of three PhD students and a post-doc. With a team like that, you can really achieve something."
Her research focuses on Modern Bigness (MOBI); the power of large technology companies. These large technology companies - such as Google, and Facebook, and Amazon - have influence because of their market power but also because of their digital power. After all, they collect large amounts of data, and fulfil an important function in society and the economy. This combination is a new kind of power: 'Modern Bigness', which affects the market and our democracy. Gerbrandy investigates whether competition law in 'Modern Bigness' should address both types of negative consequences.