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MAASTRICHT. It has never happened before in Maastricht: a researcher who manages to obtain a Vidi grant from NWO and at the same time an ERC grant from Brussels, and that with a similar research proposal. It happened to Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling, researcher at Radiology and Human Biology. The question now is: will NWO withdraw the Vidi grant?
Sending the same proposal to Brussels and NWO, is something practically everyone does. But securing both a Vidi and an ERC grant hardly ever happens. Vera Schrauwen-Hinderling heard in June that she had received a Vidi grant – 800 thousand euro to set up a research group. Then in September, she discovered on the ERC website that she could expect a starting grant of 1.5 million.
The official NWO policy is that they will not fund research that is already subsidized by another organisation. In this instance the financier is looking into whether adaptation of the proposal could provide a solution. Schrauwen-Hinderling is discussing the matter at the moment.
Recently, NWO announced new measures to ease the burden of submitting proposals. Researchers who just missed funding from Brussels, will be considered for a Vidi grant, provided that they weren't applying for both subsidies.
Even at a lower level, researchers bet on multiple horses, says Ermo Daniëls, the Maastricht advisor on ERC grants. Those who want to gain experience abroad after completing a PhD project, sign up for an NWO Rubicon grant as well as a Marie Curie Grant in Brussels. “A double award has happened before at the UM. Everyone then chooses Marie Curie, because there is more money involved and it looks better on your CV.”
Schrauwen-Hinderling hasn't signed the contract with the European Research Council yet, but according to her that is no more than a formality. She will study the compound NAD+, which is released among others, during physical exercise. In animals, it improves insulin sensitivity and promotes longevity. Together with her team, she wants to develop a method, a variant of the imaging technique Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy (MRS), to measure NAD+ in humans.
See here the tips of the Maastricht top ERC earners