@PhilosTEI aims at making an important multilingual, multi-script corpus of 18th-20th-century European philosophical texts CLARIN-compliant by developing an open source, web-based, user-friendly workflow from raw text (scan output) to TEI, based on Martin Reynaert’s (Tilburg) TiCCL tool.
People: Arianna Betti (VU University), Martin Reynaert (Tilburg), Hein van den Berg & Jeroen Smid (both VU University).


ACUMEN is a European research collaboration aimed at understanding the ways in which researchers are evaluated by their peers and by institutions, and at assessing how the science system can be improved and enhanced.



The aim of Agora is to develop a social platform in which museum objects can be placed into an explicit (art)historic context. Through the (art)historic context, objects from highly diverse museum collections can be related, resulting in a more complete and illustrated description of historical events.


AREA – Amsterdam Research on Emergency Administration

AREA is a multidisciplinary research team from the Faculty of Social Sciences of the VU University Amsterdam. The research concentrates on safety- and crisismanagement. Originally started with research on Emergency Response Centers, the research gradually expanded towards the full area of Safety Management.



The Biography Portal of the Netherlands links a wide variety of Dutch online reference works and data sets, written in different times and from different perspectives, through a limited number of metadata. This project aims to enhance its research potential for historical research on the portal’s ‘virtual community’ of the more than 100.000 Dutch people mentioned in the various linked databases.

Academic research, powered by pioneering software

Call for Proposals 2020-2021

Apply for interdisciplinary research projects with 2 student-assistants
Deadline 12 June 2020 at 12.00pm (noon)

The Network Institute’s (NI) Academy Assistants program (NIAA) is now entering its tenth year. Initially funded through a KNAW grant and aimed at combining social sciences and computer science research, it has since been adopted by the Network Institute and opened up for other interdisciplinary projects which fall within the NI’s research themes. The Academy Assistants program aims at promising high-potential master students who want to conduct scientific research and possibly pursue an academic career. As in previous years, this year the program will also be able to fund six or seven projects.

Accepted proposals will start in October 2020. The program aims to bring together scientists from different disciplines; therefore the projects must combine methods and themes from two different disciplines affiliated with the NI. For each awarded project, the program funds two student research assistants (0,2 FTE) for a period of ten months. The expected outcome of the projects is a published paper and/or research proposals. In addition, at the end of the project (July 2021) we will publish all project proceedings on this website.

This call is aimed at VU researchers who are willing to cross the boundaries of their own discipline, and who have a research topic in mind that would benefit from such an interdisciplinary approach. We especially encourage early career researchers, including postdocs and PhDs, to apply for this funding.
Applicatns should send us a short research proposal as outlined in the template proposal below. Send the completed proposals to:
akademiestudent.fsw@vu.nl, before 12 June 2020 at 12.00 pm. An independent review committee will evaluate the proposals based on quality, interdisciplinarity, and novelty. The successful projects will be announced in July 2020.

Quick facts:

  • Proposals should combine two disciplines that are part of the Network Institute;
  • Project supervision by two (and not more than two) Network Institute researchers;
  • Regular team meetings (2 supervisors and 2 students) and progress reports are expected by all projects;
  • A clear research output is expected by the project;
  • Teams can include other people in supervising roles, as long as each assistant has one responsible co-applicant NI supervisor.
  • Proposed projects can be continuations of previous NIAA projects. In that case, supervisors need to address how this new proposal is different from the previous project;
  • A maximum of one project per supervisor will be awarded (although it is allowed to submit multiple proposals. In case multiple projects are awarded, a supervision solution will have to be negotiated);
  • Funding is for two student assistants for ten months at one day per week (0.2 FTE);
  • 500€ travel/expenses budget per project;
  • Submission before 12 June 2020 at 12.00 pm;
  • Decision send out on July 1st 2020.

Download Proposal Template (Word)

This year, we offer a matchmaking service: if you are interested in a project but have not yet found a co-applicant, or if you are a student interested in being a NIAA, please send an email to akademiestudent.fsw@vu.nl and we will attempt to identify potential collaborators.

If you have any questions regarding this call or eligibility, please contact:

Roser Morante,
Ilaria Tiddi, or
Jaap Ouwerkerk

We look forward to receiving your proposals!


This project takes Dutch census data as its starting point to build a semantic data-web of historical information. With such a web, it will be possible to answer questions such as:

  • What kind of patterns can be identified and interpreted as expressions of regional identity?
  • How can patterns of changes in skills and labour be related to technological progress and patterns of geographical migration?
  • How can changes of local and national policies in the structure of communities and individual lives be traced?



The goal of the CHIP project is to demonstrate how novel Semantic Web technologies can be deployed to enrich the Rijksmuseum vocabularies and providing semantic browsing, searching and semantic recommendations; and how personalization and user modeling techniques can be explored to enhance users’ experiences both on the museum Web site and in the physical museum space.



CLARIAH, Common Lab Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities, is een gedistribueerde onderzoeksinfrastructuur die digitale applicaties en data voor onderzoekers in de Geestes- en Sociale wetenschappen op een duurzame en gebruikersvriendelijke wijze toegankelijk gaat maken waardoor vernieuwend geesteswetenschappelijk onderzoek mogelijk wordt gemaakt.
CLARIAH werd gehonoreerd uit NWO’s Roadmap for Large Scale Research Infrastructures for 2015-2018. Het CLARIAH-consortium bestaat uit meer dan 40 partners: naast alle Nederlandse geesteswetenschappelijke onderzoeksinstellingen zijn ook universiteitsbibliotheken, erfgoedinstellingen, publieke organisaties en bedrijven aangesloten.



ConPaaS is a runtime environment for hosting applications in the cloud. It aims at offering the full power of the cloud to application developers while shielding them from the associated complexity of the cloud. ConPaaS is designed to host both high-performance scientific applications and online Web applications.



Cornetto-LMF-RDF is a combined curation and demonstrator project in which the Dutch Cornetto database is converted to LMF and RDF and made available on a CLARIN Centre for efficient querying. The project will combine a new release of Cornetto (version 2) with the data from DutchSemCor (a semantic annotation of text corpora) and a Dutch sentiment lexicon.



Today, many people use the Internet to search for online health information. Whereas online health information may be helpful for many, it may lead to increased worries and catastrophic health-beliefs among health anxious users, a phenomenon addressed as “cyberchondria”. The present research project examines the prevalence, determinants, and effects of cyberchondria



Data2Semantics aims to provide essential semantic infrastructure for bringing e-Science to the next level. Data2Semantics is a collaboration between the VU University Amsterdam, the University of Amsterdam, Data Archiving and Networked Services (DANS) of the KNAW, Elsevier Publishing and Philips, and is funded under the COMMIT programme of the NL Agency of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation.



This project interprets free text in a large dataset from the domain of depression using sentiment analysis techniques. It validates an existing predictive computational model for depression using the (interpreted) dataset, and tries to generate enhancements to the computational model by applying learning techniques upon the dataset (more in specific, Genetic Programming).

Downscaling the Semantic Web

In trying to downscale the Semantic Web we try to think small and partitioned, instead of thinking big and integrated. The objective is to make the Semantic Web better fit cases where the data can not be integrated for various reasons (scale, privacy, coherence, …). The primarily target is the developing countries who can not afford centralize hosting solutions for their information systems.

Dutch Ships and Seamen

As a sea-faring nation, a large portion of Dutch history is found on the water. However, much of the digitized historical source material is still scattered across many databases and archives. This curation and demonstrator project aims to bring together the rich maritime historical data preserved in the many different databases.


Communication in times of an outbreak (EU FP7 project “Ecom@eu”, domain “health”).
This EU consortium project examines effective intervention methods in times of an outbreak (like H1N1). Because public opinion plays a crucial role in that context, our VU team examines – among other topics – the public debate about the H1N1 outbreak and related vaccination efforts in the mass media.


Elite Network Shifts

Elite Network Shifts will extract elite names and their relationships from substantial electronic archives of news media, concentrating on the transitional events of 1945 and 1998 for which data are already in our possession. For 1945, the sources consist of recently digitized national and subnational newspapers for the period 1942–1957. For 1998, they consist of newspaper articles published on the (then new) Internet between 1994 and 2010.



The goal of EURECA (Enabling information re-Use by linking clinical REsearch and Care) is to enable seamless, secure, scalable and consistent linkage of healthcare information residing in electronic health record (EHR) systems with information in clinical research information systems, such as clinical trials.


Foroba Blo

Foroba Blon is the name of the newest project by the W4RA team from VU University Amsterdam, Web Foundation and Sahel Eco. This is a project on development of voice technologies for innovation in support of free press in developing countries.


From Text to Political Positions

From Text to Political Positions: From Sentiments and Opinions to Party Positions
This cross-disciplinary project combines content analysis with lexical-semantic and discourse analysis, applying qualitative and quantitative methods to identify party positions on political dimensions.
Participating Network Institute Researchers: Bertie Kaal, Isa Maks and Annemarie van Elfrinkhof


GLAMMap develops a web-based software tool allowing users to visualise collections of cultural heritage artefacts on geographical maps.
People: Arianna Betti, Hein van den Berg, Jeroen Smid (all VU University), Bettina Speckmann, Kevin Verbeek & Dirk Gerrits (all TU Eindhoven).


Global WordNet Association

The Global WordNet Association – founded in 2000 by Vossen & Fellbaum – is a free, public and non-commercial organization that provides a platform for discussing, sharing and connecting wordnets for all languages in the world. The Global WordNet Association (GWA) builds on the results of Princeton WordNet, and EuroWordNet.
GWA organized 8 international conferences: the First Global Wordnet Conference in India in 2002 and the most recent 8th Global WordNet Conference took place in Romania in 2016.


KYOTO Project

KYOTO makes knowledge sharable between communities of people, culture, languages and computers, by assigning meaning to text and giving text to meaning. The goal of KYOTO is a system that allows people in communities to define the meaning of their words and terms in a shared Wiki platform so that it becomes anchored across languages and cultures but also so that a computer can use this knowledge to detect knowledge and facts in text.


Linked Data Benchmark Council

The Linked Data Benchmark Council (LDBC) aims to establish industry cooperation between vendors of RDF and Graph database technologies in developing, endorsing, and publishing reliable and insightful benchmark results.


Managing Complex System Disruptions

The Dutch railway network is highly sensitive for disruptions. To moderate the disruptive effects, the network must be robust. The objective of this project is to improve whole systems performance during service disruptions in 24/7 operations. The central question of this research is: how do practices of coordination and communication, in the complex network of coping with disruptions, influence the efficient solving of disruptions?

Mechanisms of linguistic bias

This project focuses on subtle systematic differences in word choice that contribute to the maintenance of stereotypic expectancies in everyday communication.
Participating Network Institute Researchers: Camiel Beukeboom, Christian Burgers

Mediatized politics

Do the media dominate politics or the other way around? The role of the media as a platform for debate by politicians has not been taken into account in the empirical studies of the relationship between media and politics. This study will determine the content of statements by politicians in the media and relate this to the general debate in the media in parliament.



The objectives of the Metis project are to develop system-of-systems techniques to combine multiple sources of information, analyse them, provide risk factors and deliver the results to operators controlling maritime areas. Thales Naval Systems aims to continuously improve its Tacticos product functionality, including advanced situation awareness capabilities for monitoring maritime areas. The Metis project will focus on merging diverse sources of information.
Participating Network Institute Researchers: Jesper Hoeksema, Willem van Hage, Guus Schreiber



MINIX 3 is a free, open-source, operating system designed to be highly reliable, flexible, and secure. It is based on a tiny microkernel running in kernel mode with the rest of the operating system running as a collection of isolated, protected, processes in user mode.



Social scientists studying the activity of activist organizations are faced with an overwhelming amount of possibly biased and out of context source material.
The MONA project aims at developing a tool that gathers source material (e.g. news articles, blog posts), extracts events and their properties (e.g. actors, locations, timestamps) from these materials, analyzes links between events, and visualizes the results. By doing this, MONA attempts to alleviate the aforementioned problems.


Multimodality of Spoken Language and Construction Grammar

The study of Construction Grammar has flourished in the last few years, but the data were just from written texts or even created by the scholars themselves. Studies of constructions in massive corpora of real and spontaneous spoken data have yet to be conducted. Therefore, this project will try to explore multimodality of Construction Grammar through massive real and spontaneous spoken data.



NESSI is a European Technology Platform active in Information and Communication Technologies for contributing to the research and innovation space of Software and Service. NESSI stands for the Networked European Software and Service Initiative. It provides a platform for the community from industry and academia.



NewsReader: “Building structured event indexes of large volumes of financial and economic data for decision making”. EU 7th Framework programme project ICT-2011-8-3164048 (2013-2015)
NewsReader: a “Recorder of History”, which is a computer program that “reads” daily streams of news and stores exactly what happened, where and when in the world and who has been involved. The volume of news data is enormous and expanding, covering billions of archived documents with millions of documents added daily. These documents are also getting more and more interconnected with knowledge from other sources such as biographies and company databases. NewsReader built a system that extracts what happened to whom, when and where from these sources and stores them in a structured database, enabling more precise search over this immense stack of information. Currently, our system supports English, Spanish, Italian and Dutch. Pilot projects are underway with government and financial information specialists, but the system can be useful to anyone looking to make sense of large amounts of news text. Video explaining NewsReader‘s Reading Machine.


No Tube

The project aims to demonstrate how Semantic Web technologies can be used as a tool to connect TV content and the Web through Linked Open Data, as part of the wider trend of TV and Web convergence. By specifying protocols and APIs to support a variety of realistic user scenarios for experiencing future TV, NoTube offers a novel contribution to the TV media world.


Open Phacts

Open PHACTS is building an Open Pharmacological Space in a 3-year knowledge management project of the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), a unique partnership between the European Community and the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA).



OpeNER is a project funded by the European Commission under the FP7 (7th EU Framework project ICT-296451 (2012-2014)). Its acronym stands for “Open Polarity Enhanced Name Entity Recognition”.
OpeNER’s main goal is to provide a set of ready to use tools to perform some natural language processing tasks, free and easy to adapt for Academia, Research and Small and Medium Enterprise to integrate them in their workflow. More precisely, OpeNER aims to be able to detect and disambiguate entity mentions and perform sentiment analysis and opinion detection on the texts, to be able for example, to extract the sentiment and the opinion of customers about certain resource (e.g. hotels and accommodations) in web reviews.



PrestoPRIME’s goal is to research and develop and methods for applying long-term preservation practice and preservation theory to the practical requirements of sound and moving image content, so that it can be safely preserved in affordable distributed and federated environments.



Services of Electro-mechanical Care Agencies (SELEMCA) is about establishing a trans-disciplinary design theory of human-android interaction by investigating the human affective system, emotion regulation, and creativity.



SIERA aims to reinforce closer and sustainable scientific cooperation between Palestinian and EU scientists in the field of multilingual and multicultural knowledge sharing technologies.



This project will develop tools for tracking the spreading of metaphors and key-phrases in different media and chart the resonance of meanings attached to such metaphors and key-phrases when they are taken in use in different context of discourse domains. The project will focus on climate change communication.


The research project Text2Politics combines contemporary theories and methods in linguistics and political science to develop an automated research tool for rich text-mining. The transdisciplinary relevance of the project is that a carefully constructed mining tool for language-meaning research can be applied to enhance the Kieskompas (Electoral Compass).


The Network of Excellence in Internet Science

The Network of Excellence in Internet Science aims to strengthen scientific and technological excellence by developing an integrated and interdisciplinary scientific understanding of Internet networks and their co-evolution with society, and also by addressing the fragmentation of European research in this area.


The new news consumer

The New News Consumer is a collaborative endeavor by academics and twelve leading Dutch journalism organizations. The project studies how digitalization enables and inhibits new habits and patterns of news consumption, and how news organizations can adapt to the people’s changing experiences, needs and expectations as citizens and as users of journalism. Starting from the perspective of the user allows us to explore and develop new theoretical angles in journalism and journalism studies. It also enables us to propose innovative approaches to craft and distribute news more effectively. We generate findings that translate into better service for public news broadcasters and better economic models for commercial news organizations. Quite crucially, this project allows us to understand how people actually use journalism to engage in society.


The Riddle of Literary Quality

Literary quality is one of the most fascinating issues in Literary Studies. Scholars have found that social and cultural factors play an important role in the acceptance of a work as literary or non-literary and as good or bad. In the project “The Riddle of Literary Quality” we assume, however, that formal characteristics of a text may also be of importance in calling a fictional text literary or non-literary, and good or bad – non-literary texts can also be good and literary text can also be bad.


Tracking Networks of Communication

Some social processes are like an avalanche: they occur unannounced, expand rapidly, and sometimes have a big social and economic impact. So far, we know little about the emergence, and the dynamics of “social avalanches” in society. The research project ‘The Dynamics of Social Avalanches: Tracking Networks of Communication’ (DYSA), approaches social avalanches as expanding waves in the communication across the social systems of science, politics, economics and the mass media, and the related structures and semantics of communication networks.


Transcending or confining

Since knowledge networks have been found to foster collaboration, knowledge sharing and learning, gaining insight in how the boundaries between these networks may be transcended has profound implications for organizations and our knowledge society at large. We propose to study this issue by investigating the conditions under which knowledge is shared across the boundaries of these different knowledge networks.


Tunes & Tales, Modeling oral transmission

Oral transmission is a fascinating aspect of the broader phenomenon of cultural transmission. In oral culture, artefacts such as songs and stories are passed on to next generations without written or technical reproduction media, just by voice and ear. Oral transmission implies alteration and variation to a considerable extent. Yet after several generations of oral transmission the artefacts are still ‘the same’ (in oral terms), or at least recognizable variants (from a literate point of view). How can this be? Are there convergent forces? How can we model the process of oral transmission?


Understanding Language by Machines

The goal of the Spinoza project “Understanding language by machines” is to develop computer models that can assign deeper meaning to language that approximates human understanding and to use these models to automatically read and understand text. Current approaches to natural language understanding consider language as a closed-world of relations between words. Words and text are however highly ambiguous and vague. People do not notice this ambiguity when using language within their social communicative context. This project tries to get a better understanding of the scope and complexity of this ambiguity and how to model the social communicative contexts to help resolving it.
The project is divided into 4 subprojects, each investigating a different aspect of assigning meaning: 1: “The borders of ambiguity”; 2. “Word, concept, perception and brain”; 3. “Stories and world views as a key to understanding language”, and 4. “A quantum model of text understanding”.



VALUE-based hierarchical adaptive configuration of multi-supplier commercial IT service bundles. This is a research project funded by the Dutch Jacquard programme. It focuses on value-based hierarchical adaptive configuration of multi-supplier commercial IT service bundles.


Verrijkt Koninkrijk

Providing improved access to Loe de Jong’s seminal work on Dutch history in WWII: in the demonstrator part of the project advanced tools and techniques are applied to gather data on De Jong’s perception of the much debated issue of pillarization (Dutch: ‘verzuiling’) and group identity. In the resource curation part of the project the corpus will be enriched and made available to the CLARIN-community for further research.



It is the aim of this project to investigate the actual possibility to create a repository of visual metaphors (still images) that can be accessed by academic researchers under specific regulations, for scientific and educational (non-commercial) purposes. The envisaged repository aims at fulfilling the dimensions of portability that define the reliability of well-established verbal corpora. Read the full project overview here.



ViSTA-TV will generate a high-quality linked open dataset (LOD) describing live TV programming, combine this dataset with behavioral information to provide highly accurate market research information about viewing behavior, and employ the information gathered to build a recommendation service to provide real-time viewing recommendations.



Some of the objectives of the VOICES project are to improve voice-based access to content and mobile ICT services through the development of a free and open source toolbox for local developers and integrate local community radios and ICT to leverage the quality and the volume of radio content broadcast and sharing.


Web Alliance for Regreening in Africa

The World Wide Web is for all of us. But not yet everyone on this planet enjoys its important benefits: still more than 4.5 billion people do not have access to the Web. The Web alliance for Regreening in Africa (W4RA) is an initiative to help extend the Web benefits of the knowledge society and economy to people in rural communities in Africa.


Women in ICT

This project, funded by the program “Digivaardig & Digiveilig”, covers a survey research in ICT organizations. The project addresses the problem of how women can contribute to the way diversity creates innovation in ICT.