NWO Rubicon grant for Katie Kuschminder

Katie Kuschminder, a postdoctoral researcher at Maastricht University's UNU-MERIT research institute, was awarded a Rubicon grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). This grant gives promising young researchers the opportunity to gain crucial research experience.

Kuschminder will spend two years at the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies (European University Institute) in Italy to research Nigerian and Syrian migrants arriving in Europe via Italy. Most Syrian migrants do not request asylum in Italy, but travel on to other European countries like Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. The majority of Nigerian migrants, however, do request asylum in Italy. Kuschminder will examine the decision-making processes in these two groups based on interviews held in Milan and Sicily. She will also follow the migrants for four months to determine whether they follow through with their original plans.


The NWO chose Rubicon as the name of its 2005 programme that aims to retain talented postdoctoral graduates in the field of science. Of the eighty-one researchers who submitted an application in this round, sixteen were awarded a grant from the NWO. Gaining experience abroad is an important career step for most researchers.

The Rubicon programme gives researchers the opportunity to spend up to 24 months conducting research at a foreign institute. The amount of funding depends on the destination chosen and the length of stay. Rubicon is the river Julius Caesar crossed in 49 BC before the series of victories that prompted his famous words: 'veni, vidi, vici' (I came, I saw, I conquered).

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