Universiteit Maastricht

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Vici grant for Elia Formisano

5 February 2013

NWO awarded a Vici grant to 32 innovative researchers under the Innovational Incentives Research Scheme. One of the lucky recipients was Elia Formisano, endowed chair of Neuroimaging Methods: Analysis of Neural Signals at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience. He was presented with a 1.5 million euro grant by the NWO for his five-year study. The Vici grant is one of the largest individual scientific grants in the Netherlands.

Professor Elia Formisano’s Vici project focuses on two core topics: understanding how the human brain identifies and processes natural sounds (e.g. during a conversation in a noisy environment) and developing computer programs that can imitate the functionality of the human brain. The research results will be used to develop new technological applications, such as brain-operated hearing aids.

Formisano, head of the Department of Cognitive Neuroscience and scientific director of the Maastricht Brain Imaging Center (MBIC) explains: “For the past few years, I’ve had the honour of supervising a group of brilliant young scientists who are conducting excellent research on auditory perception. This grant is a reward for my work and theirs and allows us to incorporate real-life applications into our existing neurological research. The grant also highlights UM’s investment in the Brains Unlimited project and in the new and highly sophisticated fMRI scanners with an ultra-high magnetic field.”

As with the other subsidies offered under the Innovational Incentives Research Scheme, the Vici grant is exclusively reserved for innovative and ground-breaking research. Recipients can use this money to develop their own five-year research group. Vici not only stimulates the recipients themselves, but also paves the way for a new generation of young researchers.

The Vici grant is one of three subsidies offered under the Innovational Incentives Research Scheme. The other two consist of the Veni grant (for new PhD graduates) and the Vidi grant (for experienced postdocs). This Research Scheme, a joint initiative of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, the KNAW and the universities, was designed to promote innovative and inspiring research.

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