Funding for three new Utrecht Humanities PhD candidates


Amber Striekwold, Marit van de Warenburg and Jantine Wignand, three PhD candidates at Utrecht University, have received funding from the PhDs in the Humanities programme of the Dutch Research Council (NWO). In total 3.7 million euros has been awarded to eighteen new Dutch PhD candidates. 

The rich history of our future food system

There is a broad agreement that dominant agro-food systems need to be transformed, but what will future food systems look like? In the Netherlands, reformist initiatives to foster ‘circular agriculture’ or eat less meat indicate that natural food and farming - first introduced by The Dutch Alternative Food Movement in the 1970s - play a significant role.

This project examines how ideas and practices on natural food and farming travelled between margin and mainstream and why some take hold now and not fifty years ago. It shows that our future food system has a rich history. 

  • Title: Food as a Tool for Social Change: How Ideas and Practices on Natural Food and Farming Entered the Mainstream in the Netherlands (1970-2020)
  • PhD candidate: Amber Striekwold
  • PhD supervisor: Prof. Liesbeth van de Grift

Cultural transmission and cultural appropriation

The adoption of cultural heritage from one group to the next does not always run smoothly, as demonstrated by the many discussions over cultural appropriation in recent decades. But what conditions lead to such contestation?

The project studies the role of cultural memory in moments of contested transmission and explains what circumstances contribute to debates about appropriation. The project seeks to enhance understanding of the complexity of cultural transmission and as such to contribute to more productive dialogue about cultural appropriation in public debates.

Vocabulary development among children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome

In children, there is huge variability in vocabulary development. As of yet, the role of cognition is unclear. Children with 22q11.2 deletion syndrome have problems with vocabulary development, as well as with underlying cognitive skills such as memory and attention.

Investigating the relation between vocabulary development and the cognitive skills of these children and comparing them to those of typically developing children will help understand how individual differences arise. Moreover, insights from this study can be applied to improve diagnostics of and interventions for (symptoms of) 22q11.2 deletion syndrome.

  • Title: Individual Differences in Vocabulary Development: Insights from 22q11.2 Deletion Syndrome
  • PhD candidate: Jantine Wignand
  • PhD supervisor: Prof. Frank Wijnen