27 March 2017

ERC Advanced Grants

Prestigious European grants for three top-level researchers

Three academics with ties to Utrecht University each receive a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant for their research: Maykel Verkuyten, Yoad Winter and Maarten Krol. They each receive a grant of a maximum sum of 2.5 million euros for groundbreaking, trailblazing research.

Tolerance

Professor Dr Maykel Verkuyten is a Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences at Utrecht University who researches relationships between cultures and groups. He receives the grant for his research into tolerance. In a society that is becoming more and more diverse, tolerance is one of the keys to living together in harmony. But what exactly is tolerance?

When do we reach our tolerance limit?
Prof. dr. Maykel Verkuyten.
Professor of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences

One of the things Verkuyten wants to do with the grant, which he applied for under the title Intergroup toleration: It’s Nature, Processes, and Consequences for Culturally Diverse Societies, is to further study the underlying psychological aspects of tolerance. He also wonders when people reach their tolerance limits. The Utrecht-based professor also wants to explore the socio-psychological consequences of what it means to be tolerated in society.

Collections in language

Professor Dr Yoad Winter, Professor of Linguistics, will research the way in which people use language to think and communicate about collections. The question asked in the ERC project is how people think and speak about collections.

Language offers a treasure trove of ways to represent collections. In order to understand how we see collections, we must investigate in detail how collections are represented in language.
Prof. dr. Yoad Winter. Foto Ed van Rijswijk
Professor of Linguistics

How can the same verbs categorise a collective action (Mary and John hug) but also a non-collective action that goes in only one direction (Mary hugs John)? And if you say you are far from a gas station, all gas stations are far away and a gas station is a collection, while near a gas station means there is only one gas station nearby. These questions about collective categorisation are about the fascinating interaction between grammar and the psychology of concepts.

Soon, on Monday 10 April 2017, Winter will also have his lecture in Utrecht University Hall (Dutch name: Academiegebouw Utrecht).

OBSERVATION OF THE CLIMATE SYSTEM

Professor Dr Maarten Krol, Professor of Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry, received the grant for his research proposal “Carbonyl sulphide: new ways to observe the climate system”. The main affiliation for this application is Wageningen University, but Krol will do part of the research in Utrecht.

I want to fundamentally improve our understanding of carbonyl sulphide in the atmosphere.
Prof. dr. Maarten Krol.
Professor of Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry

The new research by Maarten Krol and his team at Wageningen University, Utrecht University and Groningen University could be an important step toward understanding atmospheric carbonyl sulphide and, in doing so, diagnose the CO2 intake by means of photosynthesis.

About the ERC grant

With the ERC Grants, the European Union stimulates boundary-pushing research projects that are initiated by excellent researchers themselves. The ERC Advanced Grant is a personal grant for five years, awarded to exceptional researchers who have set the tone in their research fields and have contributed to science significantly in the past ten years.