Prestigious European grant for promising researchers at Maastricht University

Scientists Daniel Keszthelyi and Anna Beckers from Maastricht University (UM) are to receive a prestigious European grant for early career researchers: the Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The funds are part of the Horizon Europe programme. A total of 408 scientists across Europe were awarded an ERC Starting Grant this year.

Irritable bowel

Professor Daniel Keszthelyi is to receive 1.5 million euros for innovative research into the effect of neurostimulation in the treatment of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Keszthelyi is head of the gastroenterology and liver disorder department at Maastricht UMC+ and a researcher at NUTRIM, School for Nutrition and Translational Research in Metabolism. It is estimated that more than 6% of the Dutch population suffers from IBS, which is a chronic intestinal disorder characterized by frequent and severe abdominal pain, abdominal cramps, problems with bowel movements, a swollen abdomen or flatulence. A possible cause is disruption of the gut-brain axis, the communication between the brain and the gut. Keszthelyi hypothesises that autonomic neuromodulation can restore this imbalance, and this is the focus of his new research. For more information, see this news item from Maastricht UMC+ (in Dutch).

Global value chains

Anna Beckers is an associate professor of Private Law and Legal Methodology at Maastricht University’s Faculty of Law. She will receive 1.5 million euros to set up a team working on the development of a new legal framework for global value chains (GVCs), the interconnected trade structures that exist to produce a product, be it a mobile phone, a T-shirt, or the fuel you buy at the petrol station. GVCs have often been the subject of economic and sociological research, but they are not recognised as a legal category. The aim of the CHAINLAW project is therefore to investigate GVCs from a legal perspective. The next aim is to develop appropriate and effective legislation to regulate these trade structures. At the same time, Beckers will focus on appropriate approaches to chain liability. Her project will consider not only legal regulations, but also private documents, such as contracts between different parties, private certification systems, or technical solutions for supply chain governance such as software systems.