News - November 3, 2010

Eight veni grants for Wageningen

Dutch research organization NWO has awarded Veni grants to eight Wageningen PhD holders. The recent graduates will each receive 25,000 euros to fund three years of research. In total, 161 young researchers at Dutch universities have received Veni grants.

A Veni grant is considered a big step in an academic career. The NWO received many research proposals and honoured 161 of them, just 16 percent of the total.
The new Wageningen Veni grants go to the following projects and researchers:

Healthier fish
Maria Forlenza, WUR - Cell biology and immunology, is going to investigate how DNA vaccinations can be used to protect carp from two deadly viruses.

Indirect interactions between herbivores and plants
Erik Poelman, WUR - Entomology, aims to find out whether the interactions between herbivores and plants have consequences for the reproduction of the plant.

Sea water desalination: salt out first
Jan Post, WUR - Environmental Technology, wants to show when you desalinate seawater, it is more efficient to remove the salt first and then the water.

Feeling motion in ants' and robots' legs
Tobias Seidl, WUR - Experimental Zoology, seeks to understand the working of sensors for judging distances in the legs of desert ants, and apply his knowledge in walking robots.

Fatal defence mechanisms in plants
Patrick Smit, WUR - Phytopathology, is going to find out which hereditary characteristics plants use for killing off  cells in order to prevent the spread of an an infection.

Turbulent fog
Gert-Jan Steeneveld, WUR -Meteorology and Air Quality, wants to be able to predict persistent fog better with reference to atmospheric turbulence and variations in the landscape.

Do forests amplify heat waves?
Ryan Teuling, WUR - Environmental Sciences, will be looking at how the evaporation from forests during a heat wave differs from the evaporation from other types of landscape.

Why the spider hangs from the ceiling
Marleen Kamperman - Phyisical Chemistry and Colloid Science, is going to investigate how geckos and spiders can hang from ceiling and run up walls. She aims to recreate the way these creatures stick to things.
The Veni grant is one of three kinds of grant under the NWO's  Innovative research incentive scheme. The other two grants are the Vidi (for experienced postdocs) and the Vici (for very experienced researchers).