The alliance of TU/e, WUR, UU and UMC Utrecht has awarded three 50,000-euro grants for research that shapes and facilitates the long-term partnership between the institutions. The research projects are innovative and multi-disciplinary, and aim to contribute to our understanding of children’s health and to a sustainable energy transition through understanding of energy contracts.
The strategic alliance’s mission is to encourage collaboration across the boundaries of scientific disciplines and institutions. In so doing, the knowledge institutions create new opportunities to examine major global issues from different perspectives and to arrive at innovative solutions. The seed money fund was created to support the realization of that goal. There are three seed money calls each year, in this call 18 researchers received funding to work on three separate research projects. These are:
- Towards personalized cardiovascular risk assessment and management in children with chronic disease.
- Sleep Assessments in Preterm Infants (SLAPI): the foundation for a future study on how sleep and nutrition interact in early brain development.
- Empowering Consumers through Intelligible Contracts in the New Energy Era.
Towards personalized cardiovascular risk assessment and management in children with chronic disease
The survival of childhood chronic disease, which affects up to 15% of all children, steadily increased over the last few decades. Unfortunately, survival comes at a price. Children with chronic disease are frequently exposed to metabolic, inflammatory, and hemodynamic risk factors, which puts them at risk for early atherosclerotic disease later in life. In this multidisciplinary alliance initiative, we aspire to realize personalized cardiovascular risk assessment and prevention in children with chronic disease in the next decade. This initiative paves the way for personalized cardiovascular risk assessment and management in children with chronic disease in the near future.
Project researchers: Marcel Breeuwer (TU/e) Yuan Lu (TU/e), Edith Feskens (WUR), Trudy Voortman (WUR), Sanne Nijhof (UMC Utrecht), Henk Schipper (UMC Utrecht)
Sleep Assessments in Preterm Infants (SLAPI): the foundation for a future study on how sleep and nutrition interact in early brain development.
Preterm birth can severely impair the infant’s brain development. Leaving the protective environment of the mother’s womb prematurely exposes the preterm infant to a wide range of extrinsic and intrinsic stimuli and factors. Several risk factors for altered maturation have been extensively studied, however relatively little research is focused on the impact of basic needs for early human brain development: nutrition and sleep and their interdependent relationship. In early life, sleep is believed to play a major role in brain activity, which is critical for neuronal survival and for guiding the brain’s development during this tight window of development. Mothers milk is thought to have support both brain development as providing important circadian clues. Digestion of milk is also been thought to be related to sleep-wake duration and quality in young infants. This project will allow us to define how feeding can modulate sleep-wake states in preterm infants. Our project is timely given that the importance of sleep of preterm infants is increasingly recognized, and the proposed technology is sufficiently robust for continuous measurement.
Project researchers: Sander Stuijk (TU/e), Clara Belzer (WUR), Ronald Poppe (UU), Niek van der Aa (UMC Utrecht), Jeroen Dudink (UMC Utrecht), Caroline de Theije (UMC Utrecht)
Empowering Consumers through Intelligible Contracts in the New Energy Era
This project aims to develop an innovative, online application that, through artificial intelligence (AI) and legal design, analyzes and improves the accessibility and intelligibility of standard-form contracts between energy suppliers and consumers. Researchers will pool collective expertise in law, design, and human-technology interaction to conduct an original feasibility study. This project is an applied scientific project for societal change. The European Green Deal encourages energy-efficient innovations like smart grids and smart metering systems which ask consumers to become active participants in the energy market and disclose considerable personal information. Therefore, Europe’s long-term sustainability goals make it even more vital that energy contracts are easily accessible and understandable and empower especially vulnerable energy consumers to make informed choices.
Project researchers: Jaap Baaij (UU), Minha Lee (TU/e), Esther van Schagen (UU), lain Starke (WUR), Daisy Yoo (TU/e)