Biomedical Sciences

Computational Pathology Group Winner 2024

The Computational Pathology Group is developing software models based on artificial intelligence (AI) that can help pathologists diagnose tumours. The group was one of the first in the world to demonstrate that AI can match and even exceed the performance of human experts in specific diagnostic tasks. The team is currently working on the world’s first virtual pathologist, ANTONI.

This AI model is not only capable of making accurate diagnoses for conditions such as breast, prostate, and kidney cancer, but can also reveal the reasoning behind the diagnoses. This can help medical professionals make reliable diagnoses more efficiently and make the most appropriate treatment decisions for their patients faster.

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Omnes Pro Uno Winner 2022

Every single day, babies are born with serious genetic disorders, such as metabolic diseases. At some stage in life, this leads to serious damage to organs such as the heart, the brain, or the nervous system. For the majority of these children, there is no effective treatment. Many die at a young age.

The Omnes Pro Uno (OPU) research group at Utrecht University aims to cure genetic diseases by detecting and correcting errors in DNA before irreversible damage occurs in the body. They want to optimise gene editing techniques and apply them in a safe and responsible manner.

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Past ❤ Play Winner 2024

Past ❤ Play conducts innovative humanities research into contemporary experience of cultural heritage and how the concept of play can contribute to a deeper understanding of the past. The team discovered that when local communities are actively engaged with the heritage in their environment through play, a stronger connection to these places emerges. In addition, the team researches historical play practices, for example

by having participants play board games from ancients times. This brings new insight into past playing habits and what experiences were associated with them. As a next step, the team will conduct ethnographic fieldwork in the Netherlands, Morocco and Jamaica to further map different gaming practices and approaches to heritage.

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Interdisciplinary Hub for Digitalization and Society Winner 2022

Digital technology influences our lives in many ways. More and more of our behaviour is converted into data and an increasing share of social traffic runs through the infrastructure of large technology companies. These developments make society increasingly dependent on digital systems. This raises the question: how can we reconcile societal digitisation with our fundamental public values?

This question is the focus of the work of the Interdisciplinary Hub for Digitalization and Society (iHub) at Radboud University. Its research is focused on the identification of those public values which are threatened by digitisation and what can be done to protect these values. iHub also designs and develops technology that embeds and protects public values.

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Natural Sciences

Lipidomics Team Winner 2024

The Lipidomics Team is studying lipid molecules to develop reliable diagnostic tests and effective vaccines against tuberculosis. With more than one and a half million deaths annually, tuberculosis is the deadliest bacterial infectious disease worldwide. Thanks to their innovative research, this group has gained insights into how tuberculosis bacteria survive in the human body

using a clever trick to bypass the immune system. The team expects insights gained here to help them map other important bacterial pathogens. The next step is to set up a research programme on newly discovered lipids in the bacteria that cause typhoid fever, blood poisoning and skin infections.

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Guardians and caretakers of the genome Winner 2020

DNA could rightly be called the molecule of life. It ensures that all processes in our body function properly. We have a lot of it: every microscopic cell in the human body contains as much as two metres of DNA. And if you could put the DNA of all the cells of one human being in a line, such a line would stretch back and forth to the moon 50,000 times. But DNA is vulnerable: it is, merely through breathing, almost continually being damaged.

In short, keeping all our DNA in good shape is an enormous challenge, and yet it is very important to do so because cells with damaged DNA can mutate and, may for example, develop into tumours. Fortunately, every cell also has all kinds of DNA damage repair mechanisms. For decades the Guardians and Caretakers of the Genome research team at the Erasmus MC in Rotterdam has been focusing on how exactly cells do in fact repair themselves.


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Social Sciences

Psychological Methods Lab Winner 2024

The Psychological Methods Lab is committed to avoiding ‘model myopia’ in psychology, or the idea that only one correct interpretation of research data is possible. Instead, they emphasise the power of diverse models and argue that methodological diversity is crucial for reliable science. The team develops robust statistics to gain more accurate insights from

psychological datasets. One example is their novel network approach to psychological disorders, in which symptoms and causes are viewed as a complex system of interactions between variables. The team shares their innovative models worldwide via JASP, their self-developed and widely used open-source statistical software package.

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Social Educational Neuroscience Amsterdam (SENSA) Winner 2020

“They who have youth, have the future”, is a well-known Dutch saying. The fact that this statement is now more relevant than ever is seen in the crucial challenges facing the next generation: from climate change to an increasingly diverse society in which opinions are often extremely divided. An important issue for the future is how to promote and maintain social cohesion in a society where individualism and discrimination seem to be increasingly relentlessly?

In other words: how do we ensure an inclusive society? One thing is clear: we need to understand how people interact with each other and above all what motivates them to make choices in their social interactions that are positive for themselves and others as well as for future generations and the natural world. This is what the nine-member team Social Educational Neuroscience Amsterdam (SENSA) at the VU University in Amsterdam is working on.


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