Researcher Nina Fatouros has received the Vidi-grant from the scientific council NWO. This is 800 thousand euro which she can spend in the coming five years to set up her own group.
Fatouros researched how carbon plants defend themselves against pest insects.These insects cause a lot of economic damage to crops. However, it was found that some wild plants were able to prevent this by killing the eggs of the insects. In the coming years Fatouros wants to find out how this system works. And, in this way, she hopes to apply this knowledge on important crops to protect them against pest damage.
In the past years Fatouros worked for the chair group Entomology on the interaction between plants and pest damage. But since one month she has received a position as assistant-professor through the tenure track policy in the Biosystematics group. Where she can now develop her own group.
The interest for the Vidi-grant of NWO remains unabatedly high. From the submitted proposals only 15 percent were rewarded; which is 87 researchers. Last year 17 percent was awarded. Proposals of women were almost just as often rewarded as those of men. This is a tricky issue, since a discussion arose whether the so-called reformation impulse of the NWO disadvantaged women. Nevertheless, more men (60) than women (27) received a Vidi because the more men submitted proposals.
Last year Wageningen obtained no less than six Vidi grants, a record year. In the years before there were five (2012), three (2014, 2011), and two (2013).
Not one but two Vidi grants were obtained in Wageningen. Aside from Nina Fatouros, also Jeroen van der Heijden will receive a Vidi-grant. This building expert is currently working as an Associate professor at the Australian National University. However, he submitted his proposal together with Wageningen University. He wants to perform research on climate resilient cities. For example which partnerships are most effective in combatting climate change. Van der Heijden has never worked in Wageningen before.