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Four NWO grants for cutting-edge research

Published: 17th May 2023 Last updated: 22nd May 2023

From a study that focuses on people who choose to remain childless to renewing microfinance in developing countries. Four Tilburg University researchers will have the opportunity to realize their innovative research ideas after winning a grant from the Dutch Research Council’s SGW Open Competition M. We extend our warmest congratulations to Katrijn van Deun, Katya Ivanova, Tessa van Leeuwen and Burak Uras for their successful applications.

Find out more about these new research projects

Toward personalized multidisciplinary treatment plans

dr. Katrijn van Deun (TSB)

Latent variable models are an indispensable part of social and behavioral science research. However, they are not well-suited to the complexity of modern-day research practices, which use large data sets to map a range of disciplinary perspectives. Katrijn’s proposal centers on developing the next generation of latent variable models to meet the challenges of contemporary multidisciplinary research.

Is having babies a thing of the past? A mixed-methods study of narratives about the future, social pessimism and voluntary childlessness among Dutch adults

dr. Katya Ivanova (TSB)

There is an undeniable increase in the number of adults in the Netherlands who make a conscious decision not to have children. To understand the motivations behind voluntary childlessness, this project examines how adults experience social pessimism and the extent to which they see this as separate from concerns about their own future. The study draws on data from panel surveys and in-depth interviews with Dutch adults.

What do you see in this picture? Individual differences as the key to understanding visual perception

dr. Tessa van Leeuwen (TSHD)

There are considerable individual differences in perception. The researchers behind this project are looking at the role played by imagination and stimulus sensitivity in matters of perception. Their approach involves comparing people with very strong or very limited imaginative faculties, and people with and without a high degree of sensitivity.

Renewing microfinance

dr. Burak Uras (TiSEM)

Microfinance institutions aim to reduce poverty and contribute to economic growth by providing affordable loans to poor individuals. This involves the use of innovative instruments, such as group loans. Recently, however, MFI interest rates have risen due to the high operating costs of existing loan products: a serious source of stress among poor borrowers. The primary aim of this research into ways of renewing microfinance is to reclaim the role of social capital in group lending, which was at the heart of the microfinance revolution of the 1970s.


For a detailed description of each of these proposals, take a look at NWO’s overview of all the successful applicants.


About the SGW Open Competition

NWO’s SGW Open Competition is designed to promote excellent, non-programmed, curiosity-driven research with a question and problem statement that relates primarily to the social sciences or the humanities. In taking this approach, NWO offers researchers in the domain of the Social Sciences and Humanities the opportunity to conduct research on a topic of their own choice, without thematic preconditions.