The board of the KNAW gives a total of 1.3 million euros to five KNAW institutes for research projects that correspond to routes of the Dutch National Research Agenda, two of which are projects of the Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience. One of the awarded projects is brain researcher Pieter Roelfsema´s ‘The influence of attention and reward on learning in the human brain’. The other project is `sleep professor´ Eus van Someren´s ‘The role of early life and current sleeping problems to brain structural and functional features that predispose to forensic behavior’.
THE INFLUENCE OF ATTENTION AND REWARD ON LEARNING IN THE HUMAN BRAIN
Pieter Roelfsema and his group, plus researchers from the Spinoza Centre, will be investigating how attention and reward influence learning processes in our brain. They will use, among other things, functional MRI to find out how learning changes the activity of various parts of the brain. They will also use brain electrodes to examine, in patients with epilepsy, how the process of learning affects the learning activity of individual nerve cells.
THE ROLE OF EARLY LIFE AND CURRENT SLEEPING PROBLEMS TO BRAIN STRUCTURAL AND FUNCTIONAL FEATURES THAT PREDISPOSE TO FORENSIC BEHAVIOR
Eus van Someren‘s group will study whether children with structurally disturbed sleep develop antisocial behavior. For this project the researchers will use, among other things, the questionnaires and MRI scans they have been collecting over the past years of thousands of children from Rotterdam, now 14 years old. They will also look at the scans made of 354 children who had been arrested before the age of 12, and who are therefore at risk.
FITTING IN WITH DUTCH NATIONAL RESEARCH AGENDA-ROUTES
Both projects fit in with the NWA-route ‘NeurolabNL: The workshop for research of brain, cognition and behavior.’ NeuroLabNL paves the way for scientific breakthroughs and is the pre-eminent workshop to bring together all Dutch brain, cognition and behavior researchers and their societal partners.
NWA-STARTIMPULS FOR KNAW-INSTITUTES
In its Strategic Agenda 2016-2020: Science and Scholarship connect, the KNAW says that they wish for stronger ties between its research institutes and between the institutes and society. The KNAW has therefore made 1.3 million euros available for KNAW-initiatives that fit in with one of the 8 routes of the Dutch National Research Agenda, for which the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has made funds available. This impulse may be the start of new collaboration projects between science and practice.
Read more about the other projects on the KNAW website (in Dutch).