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The Young Academy welcomes ten new members

December 10, 2019

The Young Academy is welcoming ten new members to its ranks. The researchers in question work in a variety of disciplines, have been selected for their scientific achievements, and received their doctorates less than ten years ago. They will be inducted into The Young Academy on 23 March 2020.

Membership is for five years, during which time they will promote projects addressing issues in science, science policy and science communication.

The ten new members are:

Dr Tim Baarslag (artificial intelligence, CWI and Utrecht University)

Tim Baarslag is an expert on artificial intelligence and studies how computers negotiate with one another to improve collaboration. He is affiliated with CWI (the Netherlands’ national research institute for mathematics and computer science) and Utrecht University. Baarslag argues that the public should become acquainted with both the positive and negative sides of new technologies. For example, artificial intelligence can potentially loosen our control over our private data. Baarslag wants to counteract that by studying how we can use computers to increase our data ownership. As a member of The Young Academy, he will press for open science, focusing on public support for practical solutions and the challenges of new technologies.

Dr Thijs Bol (sociology, University of Amsterdam)

Sociologist Thijs Bol works at the University of Amsterdam, where he studies inequality in education, the job market and science and teaches classes on inequality and research methods. Bol is an active participant in public debates. His study of Dutch science funding, for example, garnered considerable attention in the Dutch and international media. Bol showed that researchers who win an important early-career research award also receive much more grant money later than those who just miss out on such initial funding. Bol concluded that there is a strong Matthew effect of accumulated advantage in Dutch science funding: initial success breeds future success, highlighting the critical nature of a researcher’s early career. Bol will use his time at The Young Academy to explore how best to fund science in the Netherlands so that more equitable policies emerge.

Dr Karwan Fatah-Black (history, Leiden University)

Historian Karwan Fatah-Black works at Leiden University, where he studies the Dutch colonial past, slavery and Suriname. Before embarking on his PhD, he was a secondary-school teacher. He regularly advises museums and government ministries on how to address the Netherlands’ colonial past and involvement in slavery. During his tenure at The Young Academy, Fatah-Black will channel his efforts into closing the gap between internationally-focused research and topical questions raised by the Dutch public. He wishes to examine how researchers can best interact with society.

Prof. Tom de Greef (synthetic biology, Eindhoven University of Technology and Radboud University)

Tom de Greef is professor of biophysical chemistry at Radboud University and associate professor of synthetic biology at Eindhoven University of Technology. His research focus is synthetic biology and DNA nanotechnology, which he is using to develop a molecular computer. In his work, he combines basic research with practical applications in new technologies. De Greef will use his time with The Young Academy to encourage application-driven basic research by means of mission-driven research programmes. He believes less money should go to projects undertaken by public-private research partnerships between universities and industry, and he is an advocate of interdisciplinary cooperation. De Greef engages actively in public debates regarding standards and values in research, both technological and otherwise.

Dr Liesbeth van de Grift (history, Utrecht University)

Liesbeth van de Grift is associate professor at Utrecht University. She is interested in political participation in the twentieth century and the changes that arose in underlying ideas of democratic legitimacy once nature and the environment were added to the political agenda. Her research focuses on the role of interest groups and organised citizenry in the history of European integration. Van de Grift believes that greater emphasis should be placed on the European Union in education. As a member of The Young Academy, she intends to join discussions concerning the role of universities in a polarised society.

Dr Liesbeth Janssen (theoretical physics and chemistry, non-equilibrium soft matter, Eindhoven University of Technology)

After receiving her PhD in theoretical chemistry, Liesbeth Janssen became so intrigued by soft and living materials that she switched fields. Her research is at the interface of physics, materials science and biology. Although her switch was regarded with scepticism at first, it led to success: Janssen formulated a new ‘ab initio’ or first principles theory of glass formation. She now uses that theory to explain the glass-like behaviour of living cells as they work to close a wound. At The Young Academy, Janssen will promote more funding for pioneering research and focus on diversity and inclusiveness policy in science.

Dr Maryam Kavousi (epidemiology, Erasmus MC)

Physician-epidemiologist Maryam Kavousi of Erasmus MC in Rotterdam studies gender differences in heart disease and metabolism. For example, she contributed to a set of international guidelines for predicting cardiovascular disease in women and men and helped to develop Dutch guidelines for the treatment of arteriovenous disorders. As an immigrant and female researcher, Kavousi is committed to inclusiveness in science and has drawn attention to gender differences in research, education and healthcare. During her time with The Young Academy, she will work to gain support for refugee scientists and promote the representation of diverse population groups in the research world.

Dr Lotte Krabbenborg (science and technology studies, Radboud Universiteit)

Sociologist and political philosopher Lotte Krabbenborg studies the various ways in which the public influences the development, implementation and social embedding of science and technology. She is specifically interested in opportunities for and obstacles to early identification of those ethical and social aspects of new technologies that should be taken into account when deciding on matters of scientific and technological development. Well-known examples would be nano-technology and genome processing. At The Young Academy, Krabbenborg intends to carry out evaluation studies into science and technology democratisation initiatives, such as the Dutch National Research Agenda. She will also focus on developing institutional and other guidelines meant to optimise the dialogue between science and society.

Dr Linnet Taylor (data science, Tilburg University)

Linnet Taylor works at Tilburg University on the ERC Global Data Justice project, where she advocates for just treatment through the use of data, data science and artificial intelligence. She believes that minorities and women should be taken more fully into account, both in research and beyond, and that this will lessen inequalities. More thought should also be given to corporate funding and co-funding of research, in her view. For example, Taylor considers that research funding should support basic and critical research and that firm rules should be implemented regarding the type of academic research eligible for corporate funding. These are the issues that Linnet Taylor will address during her time at The Young Academy.

Dr Hilde Verbeek (gerontology, elderly psychology and nursing science, Maastricht University)

Hilde Verbeek researches care environments for vulnerable elderly people, in particular nursing home care. She is especially interested in innovative, effective concepts that involve the adaptation of methods and systems, for example. Her work is frequently cited both within and outside her field, including in the Dutch Parliament. Verbeek deliberately uses her expertise beyond the world of academia, for example in her capacity as advisor to the Council for the Elderly and as the coordinator of the Living Lab in Ageing and Long-Term Care South Limburg, a formal multidisciplinary network consisting of seven elderly care organisations, two universities and two institutes for vocational education and training. She favours deploying researchers in care institutions to ensure that they, the elderly residents and their loved ones, and staff can learn as much as possible from one another. She also supports ‘team science’, i.e. collaboration between researchers. As a member of The Young Academy, Verbeek will be looking to promote interdisciplinarity and to shift the focus in funding from individual researchers to research teams.



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