Research abroad with a Rubicon grant

Promising young Leiden researchers Wouter van den Bos, Tim van Erven and Wouter Halfwerk are going to conduct research at foreign universities. A Rubicon grant from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research is making this possible. Two academics who completed their PhD degrees abroad are coming to Leiden.

The NWO’s Rubicon grant programme is aimed at promising young researchers who have just completed their PhD degrees and are still at the beginning of their academic career. Their academic qualities make it likely that they will assume an important position within Dutch academia.

Leaving Leiden for foreign climes

A small reward now or a big reward later?
Dr W. (Wouter) van den Bos, Educational and Developmental Psychology, to Stanford University - Psychology (US), for 2 years
The researchers are going to measure brain activity while children, adolescents and adults make decisions in which self-restraint plays an important part. The researchers are trying to discover why some individuals (e.g. adolescents) show less self-restraint than others and how environment has an influence here.

As close as possible to the truth...
Dr T.A.L. (Tim) van Erven, to Université de Paris-Sud - Département de Mathématiques (France), for 2 years Academics try to discover the truth. But what if the truth is so complicated that it can only be approximated? The researchers are developing new statistical techniques with which, if that is the case, it will be possible to approximate the truth as closely as possible.

Exuberant courtship displays attract females and alert beasts of prey
W. (Wouter) Halfwerk, Institute Biology Leiden, IBL/Behavioural biology, to Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (Panama), for 2 years
Many males put on exuberant courtship displays to impress females. However, it is not always favourable to attract as much attention as possible if there are alert beasts of prey around. This project will look at the circumstances in which exuberant courtship displays attract more females than beasts of prey.

Influenza virus replicates by the second
A.J.W. (Aartjan) te Velthuis, to the University of Oxford (UK), 24 months
The influenza virus is small, dangerous and perfectly able to regulate its reproduction. By following the replication enzyme of the virus at molecular level, this research will try to explain the replication process.

The most powerful particle accelerators in the universe
R.J. (Reinout) van Weeren to the University of Cambridge - Institute of Astronomy (UK), 24 months
Clusters of galaxies are the largest bound structures in the univese. These clusters can collide and merge to form new, even larger clusters. This research investigates how particles are accelerated to extreme forces in the shockwaves of the collisions.

The grant is named after the River Rubicon. Julius Caesar crossed this river before the series of victories that gave rise to the famous words 'veni, vidi, vici' (I came, I saw, I conquered). The Rubicon is considered a good stepping stone towards a Veni grant from the NWO’s Innovational Research Incentives Scheme. The next possible steps in an academic career are the Vidi and Vici grants.

From foreign climes to Leiden

Early signs of emotional attachment in babies
Dr. M. (Mikko) Peltola, van University of Tampere (Finland), naar de Universiteit Leiden - Department of Child and Family Studies (Pedagogiek), 18 maanden
Children attach more or less emotionally to their parents. To understand the early signs of these attachments, researchers will study babies’ brain responses to emotional pictures and see if these responses predict the quality of the emotional relationship in one-year-olds.
Child and Family Studies

Immoral group behaviour: reparation versus rationalisation
Dr J.M. (Jojanneke) van der Toorn, New York University (VS), to Leiden University - Social & Organisational Psychology, for 1 year
Although people find morality extremely important and like to belong to moral groups, they often do not admit to immoral group behaviour. The researchers are testing whether the fact that people either make reparations for moral transgressions or justify them depends on specific group processes and inter-group relationships.
Social and Organisation Psychology

More about the Rubicon grant 2011

From the December round, 28 young researchers are using their Rubicon to go abroad. Five of them are coming to the Netherlands.

(December 2011)

Last Modified: 24-01-2012