University of Amsterdam: ERC Starting Grants for two UvA researchers

The European Research Council (ERC) has this year awarded Starting Grants to Maarten Marsman and Federico Savini of the UvA’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Their projects deal with the statistical analysis of psychological networks and the regulatory changes needed for a circular degrowth economy, respectively. An ERC Starting Grant is a personal grant of about €1.5 million and provides support to talented researchers for a period of five years.

Maarten Marsman (Psychological Methods): A New Bayesian Foundation for Psychometric Network Modelling (Bayesian P-Nets)
Psychologists use networks to explain patterns in our cognitive development and the onset of mental problems. They assume that these patterns develop in a complex system of interacting psychological variables and use network analysis to estimate these interactions from empirical data. This idea has caught on, and the psychological network literature grows exponentially. But statistical innovations struggle to keep pace with this explosive growth, and criticisms on available methods grow larger. Marsman is therefore developing a new Bayesian framework for the statistical analysis of psychological networks.

Federico Savini (Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research): Towards a circular degrowth economy: explaining the material valorisation regime of city-regions
To address the climate crisis, our society needs a drastic reduction of material demand and waste while ensuring socio-economic prosperity. As main consumers of resources and producers of waste, city-regions are the key sites for this challenge. DECYCLE identifies the regulatory changes necessary for a circular degrowth economy: one that pursues socio-economic wealth while reducing material demand and reusing waste in socially responsible and ecologically regenerative ways. Savini’s project interrogates the politics and regulations that ‘value’ waste because they re-define the political responsibilities, geographies, and financial architecture of waste reuse. It focuses on the three major urban waste streams: construction/demolition waste, food, and residual heat. The team will compare how these streams are regulated and reused in Hamburg, Amsterdam, Barcelona, Vienna, and Milan, and build an EU-wide analysis of trans-national regulations for circular economy ambitions.