Funding & Awards

In the SEP self-evaluation, an overview was presented of the external funding of strategic program I&I from 2013-2018 (see table). The external funding can be divided into (1) national grants (research grants obtained in national scientific competition, such as NWO and KNAW), (2) external grants (research grants obtained from external organizations, such as the EU and charities) and (3) Contract research (research contracts obtained from industry). The total grant funding fluctuated between years, ranging from €20-30 million per year. EU&Funds were responsible for the largest contribution during the 5-year period, followed by industry funding. From within the UMC Utrecht, dIGD (in particular industry funding), dLAB (in particular EU&Funds) and dJC (in particular EU&Funds) made the largest funding contributions to the strategic program over this time period.

Grant highlights 2019

The 2019 NVR Rheumatology Grant (€ 20.000) has been awarded to Nadia Roodenrijs (Dept. Rheumatology & Clinical immunology). The proposal to investigate therapy adherence in RA patients using a mixed methods approach is potentially groundbreaking and provides and opportunity to lay the foundation for a scientific career in rheumatology.

Postdoc Lilly Verhagen received (together with Erhard van der Vries (GD) the ESPID Fellowship Award (€ 150.000). With the grant she will investigate the role of IgA during infection and transmission of influenzaPostdoc Lilly Verhagen received (together with Erhard van der Vries (GD) the ESPID Fellowship Award (€ 150.000). With the grant she will investigate the role of IgA during infection and transmission of influenza.

Michiel van der Vlist, Samuel Garcia Perez and Niels Eijkelkamp (CTI) have each received a grant from the Dutch Arthritis Foundation (ReumaNederland). The research projects focus on better understanding and improving the lives of patients with rheumatic diseases.

The Leukocyte Dynamics group under leadership of José Borghans and Kiki Tesselaar has received an EU-funded H2020 grant of € 593.000 to study quantitative T-cell immunology (QUANTII project). The grant is used for appointment of two PhD students (Carina Bruckmaier and Elena de Dios Panal) who will execute the research project.

José Borghans (CTI) received a
NWO grant of € 362.000 for immunological memory research. PhD student Lianne Derksen has started the research in the group Borghans-Tesselaar in September 2019.

Four KWF grants were received by CTI investigators: Jeanette Leusen
(€ 550,000) for IgA therapy against lymphoma and neuroblastoma; Jürgen Kuball (€ 650,000) for immune therapy against leukemia; Stefan Nierkens (€ 187,000) for T-cell therapy in pediatric with acute myeloid leukemia; Niels Bovenschen (€ 150,000) for use of nanomedicine against breast cancer.


Marianne Boes (CTI) received a check of >€ 300,000 from Lymph&Co during a sports event aiming to raise funds for research into lymph node cancer. With the grant (handed over by prince Bernard van Oranja), Marianne will conduct research into a new form of immune therapy against this disease.

CTI-investigator Nienke Vrisekoop received a grant of € 100.000 from ZonMw to conduct research into the effects of microplastics on the immune system. One of the focus points will be how neutrophils act in the presence of microplastics

Investigator Roos Wennink (CTI) recently received the Bayer Ophthalmology Award 2019 (€ 25.000) for her research project “The molecular fingerprint of children with uveitis as predictor for treatment response”.


Niels Eijkelkamp received a grant of € 750.000 from NWO to investigate innovative treatments with endogenous regulatory immune molecules to treat chronic pain

Three ZonMw grants were awarded to I&I investigators. Jan Jelrik Oosterheert received two grants: for research into the “Relationship between non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and (chronic) Q fever” and for “Optimizing the treatment of chronic Q fever: new diagnostic techniques”. Miriam Kretzschmar (Julius Center) received a grant for investigating the impact of PrEP on sexual behavior and STDs in the MSM population”Three ZonMw grants were awarded to I&I investigators. Jan Jelrik Oosterheert received two grants: for research into the “Relationship between non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and (chronic) Q fever” and for “Optimizing the treatment of chronic Q fever: new diagnostic techniques”. Miriam Kretzschmar (Julius Center) received a grant for investigating the impact of PrEP on sexual behavior and STDs in the MSM population”

Jeanette Leusen received several grants from start-up company TigaTx and TKI-Health Holland (total value of € 520.000), for preclinical research into the feasibility of IgA therapy in lymphoma and neuroblastoma.


The Erik Hack Publication Award 2019 (for the best I&I publication by a PhD candidate) was won by Judith Wienke (CTI) for her publication in Arthritis & Rheumatology on biomarkers to measure disease activity in juvenile dermatomyositis

Femke van Wijk and Annet van Royen (Dept. Rheumatology & Clinical Immunology) received grants from the CureJM Foundation and the Prinses Beatrix Fonds (€ 280.000) for research into biomarkers in juvenile dermatomyositis.

NWO has awarded almost 9 million euros to NCOH for research on how to be better prepared for vector-transmitted infectious diseases. Part of the funds go to RIVM and UMC Utrecht (Patricia Bruijning-Verhagen) for research on the ZIeKA-monitor, a tool to investigate disease transmission in travelers.


Paco Welsing (Dept. of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology) received a ZonMw grant of € 430.000 to investigate personalized dose reduction of biologicals in RA patients using artificial intelligence

ZonMw awarded a grant of € 1 million for an international study in 12 centers, coordinated by Jaap van Laar and Julia Spierings (Dept. of Rheumatology and Clinical Immunology) on the optimal treatment using autologous hematopoietic stem cell therapy (HSCT) in diffuse systemic sclerosis.

Anesthesiologist, intensivist and clinical epidemiologist Olaf Cremer (Dept. of Intensive Care Medicine) was given an Epimed Solution Award by the European Society for Intensive Care Medicine for his project “Development of a dynamic prediction algorithm for early detection of ICU-Acquired Infections“.


Jorg van Loosdregt, Femke van Wijk and Bas Vastert received € 250,000 from ReumaNederland to finance a joint 4-year project in which they will zoom in on the different subsets of inflammatory cells in the joints in juvenile idiopathic arthritis.

Joop Arends received the Vintura ‘Impact in Healthcare’ award 2019 (€ 10.000) for the development of the HappiApp for improvement of care and monitoring of quality of life of hiv-patients

In December 2019, the €4.1 million Horizon 2020-funded international CORVOS-consortium kicked off, investigating the role of complement in opportunistic infections. The group of Suzan Rooijakkers received € 265.000 to characterize immune evasion mechanisms by Klebsiella pneumoniae.


Henny Otten received (in the STRIDE.COM PPI with TKI Health Holland and Nierstichting) a grant of
€ 450.000 to reduce rejection rate in renal transplantation by developing a specific diagnostic test for measurement of complement activation status.

In the NCOH-LSH One Health call, a € 1 million grant was awarded to the public-private DISSeMINATE project “Drivers of Selection and Spread of Mobile Genetic Elements INvolved in Antimicrobial Resistance”, coordinated by Anita Schürch (MMB). Partners are WUR, UU, RIVM, Vion and Cargill.

Nico Wulffraat, together with colleagues at CTI received a ZonMw grant of € 500.000 to investigate chronic fatique in children with Q-fever and to compare this with similar complaints in children with JIA and chronic fatigue syndrome.


Trudy Straetemans received a grant from KWF Kankerbestrijding of
€ 989.033 to continue the phase I clinical study to investigate TEG001 cell treatment in patients with Acute Myeloid Leukemia and Multiple Myeloma. This grant supports the production of TEG001 cells, an autologous gene-engineered cellular medicine.

Joel van Roon (CTI) received a
€ 800.000 grant from ZonMw to investigate the effects of leflunomide and Hydroxychloroquine combination therapy on disease activity in primary Sjögren’s Syndrome using molecular fingerprinting to predict therapy response and identify pathways that confer lack of response.


Epidemiologist Henri van Werkhoven (Julius Center Research Program Infectious Diseases) was awarded the title Daily Supervisor of the Year 2019 by Utrecht University. He was chosen by PhD students out of 16 candidates.

Niels Bovenschen (CTI), lecturer in Biomedical Sciences and head of the Pathological Research Laboratory, won the UU Lecturer Prize 2019. The jury chose him because of his involvement with his students and the way in which he inspires his students to reach beyond their assumed possibilities.


Kristin Denzer has won the Honours Teacher of the Year Award 2019. Denzer was nominated for this award by her students Biomedical Sciences. The jury stated that Denzer stimulates the freedom within the honours programme for the students to create and perform their own ideas.

Education Awards

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