Rubicon grants for four UM researchers
UM researchers Valentina Carraro (FASoS), Bart Spronck (FHML), Els van der Ven (FHML) and Erik Vrij (MERLN) received a Rubicon grant from research financing institution NWO. This grant gives young, highly promising researchers the opportunity to gain international research experience. In this funding round 21 researchers received a grant. With their grant Valentina Carraro will conduct research during 24 months at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights in Austria, Bart Spronck at the Department of Biomedical Engineering of Yale University in the US, Els van der Ven at the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University in the US, and Erik Vrij at the Institute of Molecular Biotechnology of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (IMBA), Koo Lab, in Austria.
What are the research themes of the four UM researchers?
There are currently two mechanisms within the United Nations for evaluating human rights obligations within states. This project will investigate to what extent these two mechanisms complement each other as well as the extent to which they encourage states to comply with human rights obligations.
The stiffening of blood vessels due to diabetes ultimately leads to heart failure. Spronck will develop a setup to expose sick blood vessels to a pulsating blood pressure outside of the body. Using these measurement data, he will make computer models to study accelerated vessel stiffening in diabetes patients.
Els van der Ven
The role of ethnicity in various stages of psychosis in New York State.
In Europe, ethnic minority groups have a higher risk of psychosis and a more negative course with more compulsory treatment. This project will investigate ethnic differences in various stages of psychosis in the United States, a place where inequality and racism reign supreme.
In the lab, stem cells can be incited to form mini organs, but it remains unclear exactly how these cells do this. In this research, a new genetic screening technique will be used to test each gene for its function in this process.
With a Rubicon grant researchers can conduct research at a foreign research institute. The size of the grant depends on the destination chosen and the length of stay (max. 24 months). The Rubicon programme is named after the river Julius Caesar crossed after his series of victories, which ultimately led to his declaration ‘veni, vidi, vici’. NWO chose the name Rubicon in 2005 for its individual grant programme aimed at retaining talented researchers, who have recently gained their PhD, in science. In this round a total of 79 researchers submitted a proposal for the Rubicon grant.
The 21 researchers who received a grant will go to the United States, Switzerland, Austria, United Kingdom, Germany, New-Zealand, Canada, Australia, Denmark and Finland.