A quick call with Caroline de Ruijter about the Kiem grants for interdisciplinary collaboration
Be it in climate change, public health or artificial intelligence, when different disciplines join forces, science often flourishes. The new small-scale Kiem grants will enable Leiden researchers to explore or start collaborative projects with colleagues from other faculties. ‘So seek each other out and surprise us with your proposal’, says project leader Caroline de Ruijter.
Hi Caroline, why did the university issue the Kiem call?
‘This call is part of a bigger ambition to encourage interdisciplinary research at the university. There will eventually be three steps: Kiem, Groei and Bloei. The Kiem grant is intended as seed money for smaller projects that cross faculty boundaries and involve early-stage researchers, and is a maximum of 10,000 euros per proposal.’
Why should researchers definitely submit a proposal?
‘Because your Kiem project may just be the start of something bigger! We want to make new ideas and initiatives possible. Admittedly, 10,000 euros won’t stretch to hiring a PhD candidate or taking time out from teaching, but it will allow you to start smaller research projects or meetings, hire a student assistant or organise workshops or seminars, for example. The main thing is that your project will lead to more interdisciplinary collaboration.’
Who can submit a proposal?
‘The main terms and conditions of the call are as follows: colleagues from at least two faculties have to be involved in each proposal and at least one of them has to have received their PhD since 2015. Additionally, you can’t work on multiple proposals as a researcher. And the call really is meant for new initiatives, so you can’t suddenly get Kiem funding this year for an existing project.’
How can researchers increase their chances of getting a Kiem grant?
‘We want to make this grant really accessible and leave room for properly creative ideas, so we aren’t going to assess the proposals extensively on creativity or innovation. In principle, anyone is eligible as long as the proposal is complete and meets all the requirements. Grants are available for 22 projects. If we receive more submissions, we will draw lots. I think that’s a great solution because then everyone stands a chance.’
What makes interdisciplinary research so important?
‘We can only solve societal challenges – such as health, migration and climate change – if researchers from different disciplines work together. And the biggest scientific breakthroughs are often on the boundaries of multiple disciplines.’
Looking for a match?
If you have a good idea for interdisciplinary research and are seeking a researcher from another faculty to submit a Kiem application with, we might just be able to help you find a match. Email Caroline de Ruijter asap stating your idea and what you are looking for!
You have until 30 June 2023 to submit your Kiem proposal. See the staff members website for more information and the terms and conditions.
Text: Evelien Flink