The Vidi grant (800,000 euros) lets experienced researchers set up their own line of research with a dedicated group. In funding the Vidi grants, the Dutch Research Council (NWO) aims to encourage innovative, curiosity-driven research. A total of 81 researchers were selected. WUR has done particularly well this year with its seven winners.
The seven include known names such as experimental zoologist Florian Muijres, marine biologist Lisa Becking and development economist Maarten Voors, alongside the less familiar names of molecular biologists Wouter Kohlen and Wilma van Esse, biochemist Elwira Smakowska Luzan and nematologist Jose Lozano Torres.
The topics are wide-ranging. Voors studies the effect of connecting African villages to the electricity grid on poverty and the development of the local economy. Van Esse investigates the regulation of grain flowering times at the molecular-genetic level. Kohlen looks at how plants manage to get fully developed cells to divide again in order to create new tissues. Lozano Torres focuses on the early interaction between nematodes and the plants they infect.
A total of 503 researchers submitted a proposal, 81 of whom received a grant (16 per cent).