Grants programme

Each year, AYA members have the opportunity to make use of the yearly budget for Group Projects. In the first round of 2019, the following projects were granted:

Hidden Cultures in Academia: A Guide for Early Career Scholars
AYA project leader: Pieter Coppens

One of the main objectives of AYA is to represent the voice of early career scholars at VU and UvA. This project will develop a booklet for early career scholars in Amsterdam with background information and ‘tips and tricks’ that empowers them in building an academic career. By distributing this booklet both in hardcopy (at employment or PhD defense at VU or UvA) and as pdf through the AYA-site, AYA hopes to assist this group in navigating the many challenges of this specific period in their careers, as well as raise awareness among senior university staff and policy makers about the vulnerabilities of early career scholars.

How does parental praise affect children’s exploration? An interdisciplinary experiment using virtual reality (VR)
AYA project leaders: Katinka van der Kooij

An important part of motor learning is exploration: varying the motor behavior without knowing whether a variation will result in success or failure. Western parents often seek to encourage children’s motor learning by lavishing them with praise. However, there is growing evidence that praise may have unintended consequences. We theorize that praise may reduce children’s exploration because it makes them concerned about making favorable impressions on others. Therefore they may shy away from exploration, which could lead to failure. This project is an interdisciplinary UvA-VU collaboration within AYA to study these questions in Science Center NEMO, the largest science museum in The Netherlands, using a virtual reality task. This research will be part of Science Live, the innovative research program of Science Center NEMO that enables scientists to use NEMO visitors as participants.

Viral Fear: The Global Ebola Response
AYA project leader: Marci Cottingham

Research in the social sciences on epidemics has detailed the emotions of those directly impacted by a disease. Yet as Ebola panic in the global north spread over the course of the 2014-2016 outbreak, airline travel was restricted, recruitment of health workers hampered, and the possibility of solving the outbreak—the very source of such fear—became intractable. Fear spread beyond the reach of the virus itself. But how? As Ebola continues to wreak havoc (now in the DRC), the answer to this question is paramount. This interdisciplinary project will examine epidemic emotions from the perspective of international organizations and remote publics. Emotion scholarship has predominantly focused on individuals, with less attention to collective, digital, and cross-cultural processes. Tracing viral fear is key to understanding how a rising death toll in West Africa connected disparate events across the globe. From nursing strikes in Spain to a schoolyard attack in the Bronx—viral fear connotes both a fear of the Ebola virus and its viral-like spread during an outbreak. Through cross-national comparisons and innovative digital data sources, the project findings will move the study of emotion out of the laboratory and into the global, digital fray. In a hyper-connected world, understanding viral fear is critical to creating effective global health policies.

This is an interdisciplinary project that builds on Marci Cottingham’s past interdisciplinary work in science and technology studies, media studies, and global health. The project combines news and social media data to understand how the 2014-2016 Ebola epidemic was represented in the news and how remote publics responded to it through social media. Funding will be used for a research assistant to help in organizing and analyzing social media data. The project overlaps with AYA’s interests in (1) developing interdisciplinary work, (2) in increasing diversity in the academy, and (3) in fostering mentorship for early career scholars. Findings from the study will be disseminated to AYA and the public through interdisciplinary journals, the AYA website, and a blog post.


How could the social sciences have impact on society and policy?
AYA project leader: Shaul Shalvi


SPUDM is the bi-annual meeting of the European Association for Decision Making (EADM). SPUDM attracts interdisciplinary crowd of mainly psychology, business school, and economics scholars interested in decision making. In SPUDM 2019, hosted at UvA, we will hold a plenary panel discussion on “how could the social sciences have impact on society and policy?” on Tuesday, 20  August 2019, 16.00-17.00. The panel is co-sponsored by a European Research Council grant and by the Amsterdam Young Academy

 The speaker list: 
1. Ido Erev (Technion; president EADM)
2. Stavroula Kousta (chief editor Nature Human Behavior)  
3. Cristina Bicchieri (Philosophy & Psychology, University of Pennsylvania)
4. Nina Mazar (Marketing, Boston University; World Bank)

Moderator: Shaul Shalvi (Economics, UvA, AYA)