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NWO Open Competition grants for six researchers

Six researchers from Leiden University have been awarded NWO (Dutch Research Council) Open Competition funding. This funding gives them the opportunity to conduct research into a subject of their own choice, without any thematic conditions.

A total of 60 researchers have been awarded an NWO grant from the 23 million euros available. They could apply for a maximum of 400,000 euros. NWO considered 180 applications.

Below are the researchers from Leiden University who have been awarded funding in this round for the social sciences and humanities:

Who’s next? The role of speech melody in the turn-taking system of Dutch

Applicant: Johanneke Caspers (Humanities - Centre for Linguistics)

In natural conversation people take turns at talk with on average very short intermediate pauses. Thus interlocutors have to plan ahead what they want to say and when they can take the next turn. The role of speech melody in this process is a puzzle. E.g., question intonation is clearly audible on utterance final syllables, which seems too late for turn-planning by the current listener. In the proposed research, corpus analysis and manipulated dialogue will be used to investigate if and how utterance final speech melody is used in the turn-taking system of Dutch.

Reading China Better

Applicant: Rogier Creemers (Humanities - Institute for Area Studies)

Researching contemporary China has become increasingly difficult recently, due to covid-related travel restrictions as well as to political pressures inside China. At a time where China knowledge is more relevant than ever, this project aims to develop new methodologies to better use documentary sources that have remained underutilised in China scholarship and policy analysis thus far. It will explore how big data-enabled tools enable analysts to access and process official and semi-official sources at scale, and how they facilitate novel forms of trend monitoring. It also intends to develop new intellectual frameworks for understanding the functioning of the Chinese Party-state.

The Poetics of Olfaction in Early Modernity (POEM)

Applicant: Jan van Dijkhuizen (Humanities - Centre for the Arts in Society)

What does it mean to perceive smell? This question fascinated poets and playwrights of the early modern period (ca. 1500–1700). This project examines how they put the language of smell perception to literary use. For example, they used the elusive nature of smell to convey the ineffable (such as communion with the divine) and to explore how humans interact with their natural environment. It will also examine how smell can help promote the reading and teaching of literature now. Together with teachers, poets, spoken word artists, novelists and scent designers, the researchers will design a nose-wise lesson programme for secondary schools.

Distracted and disaffected. How daily distractions influence our dietary consumption habits and glucose dynamic

Applicant: Lotte van Dillen (Social and Behavioural Sciences - Psychology)

We have a lot on our minds and often eat and drink at the wheel, the television or the computer. At the same time, our eating habits have become more unhealthy, and overweight and diabetes are increasing in the population. This project will test the relationship between these observations, by examining how distraction affects our eating and drinking habits and metabolic glucose dynamics.

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Roman Fake News?

Applicant: Rens Tacoma (Humanities - Institute for History)

How new is fake news? This project investigates manipulated and forged official documents from the Roman imperial period. There is a remarkable number of official texts whose authenticity is debated: some may be authentic and some are probably forged, while others seem to have been manipulated. These documentary fictions show strong resemblances to modern fake news, for example in the way they circulated and were used. How can theories about modern disinformation help to understand how Roman documentary fictions functioned? And what does it mean if in the past fake news also occurred? Does it make the modern variety less threatening?

Emotional labour in the borderlands: New perspectives on ethno-racial profiling

Applicant: Maartje van der Woude (Law - Institute for the Interdisciplinary Study of Law)

Ethno-racial profiling by law enforcement officials continues to be a problem causing societal harm and leading to declining trust in government and its agencies. Through a combination of academic and artistic research, this project will examine how different feelings and (moral) values experienced by an officer can get conflicted in the context of border policing, and how this affects decision-making processes. The hitherto underexposed tension and interaction between society, organisation and individual officer plays a central role in this. By means of this innovative approach, the project will offer new knowledge on how to successfully combat this problematic policing practice.

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