Vici grants worth 1.5 million awarded to four UG researchers

UG researchers Lisa Herzog, Marleen Kamperman, Ming Cao, and Floris Foijer have each been awarded a prestigious Vici grant.

They’re given the grant of a maximum of 1.5 million euros to help them develop innovative lines of research and extend their own research groups for the next five years.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) has awarded a total of 34 Vici grants this year. 

Democracy of work

Professor of political philosophy Lisa Herzorg has been awarded her grant to study how democracies can understand and organise work. She looks at non-standard forms of work, such as digital and migrant work, and analyses developments and their implications for democracy. She also studies the relationship between paid and unpaid work in an effort to develop a democratic philosophy of work.

Strong biopolymers

Professor Marleen Kamperman wants to use her grant to expand her research into biopolymers. This material is found in the threads of velvet worms, which is especially sticky and stiff, but also in spider silk, which is particularly strong. The researchers want to imitate the natural process in an effort to develop a method to create biopolymers in a controlled and environmentally friendly way.

Autonomous robots

Robotics professor Ming Cao has been awarded the Vici for his research into how autonomous robots make decisions. He wants to develop a way to guide the autonomous robots’ decision-making process. His project will improve how we operate autonomous robots and broaden the application of robot teams, which in the long run can contribute to smart factories and digital society.

Errors by cancer cells

Cell biologist Floris Foijer will study cancer cells that make errors in the way they segregate their chromosomes. When healthy cells make mistakes like these, the immune system activates to clean up those cells. But cancer cells can circumvent this.

Foijer wants to find out how they’re able to do that to find a way for the immune system to clean up the ‘sloppy’ cancer cells as well. If he succeeds, this would be good news for ma



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