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“The great thing about such a large amount is that we can do both experimental and clinical research”

Gravitation subsidy of almost 20 million for UM

MAASTRICHT. A consortium led by Professor Anita Jansen, dean of the Faculty of Psychology and Neurosciences, has received almost twenty million euro through the Gravitation Programme. This makes it one of the larger subsidies that Maastricht University has ever received. The money will be used to further develop and research a new model for psychiatric disorders. For Jansen this means that she will step down as dean. “I have to, they are both full-time jobs.”

The idea behind the model is that a psychiatric disorder is a series of symptoms that occur in a specific order and influence each other. “We want to map out those dynamic networks of symptoms and manipulate them,” says Jansen. “How do they emerge, how changeable are they, how do the symptoms influence each other, and many more questions of that kind.”

The network model of psychiatric disorders was previously developed by members of Jansen’s consortium and this subsidy will be used to further develop and test the model. “Will we manage, for example, to manipulate this network of symptoms? Can we detect early signs, predictors that tell us whether someone will become ill?” For the first time, treatments based on this theory will also be tested. “That is the great thing about such a large amount. We now have the possibility to do both experimental and clinical research.”

It is not the first time that Jansen and her group tried to secure a gravitation subsidy. In the previous round, in 2016, they also made an attempt, with the same research proposal. “The content was much more consistent this time. And we paid a lot of attention to formulating what exactly we want to do.”

Saying farewell to her task as dean is bittersweet. “I am really looking forward to doing research again, but being a dean is very inspiring and extremely educational. My term ends June 2020. But as soon as the Appointments Advisory Committee has found a good successor, of course that is not up to me, I will hand over the reins.”

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CommentsReacties

2019-09-05: IRT Foundation
This is very exciting news, we need new paradigms in psychiatric science and the time has finally come

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