LEF grants for first-generation researchers
The first Leiden Empowerment Fund (LEF) grants were awarded on 25 June. With the LEF, the Leiden University Fund (LUF) is helping first-generation researchers take the next step in their academic career.
The LEF was established to help create an academic environment with equal opportunities for all; an environment where people from different backgrounds and with different qualities can inspire and motivate one another; an environment where everyone feels at home. In the first LEF grant round, grants have been awarded to first-generation researchers who have faced obstacles in their research. The LEF Committee for Academic Expenditure – Dr Kim Beerden, Professor Jet Bussemaker, Hendrikje Crebolder LLM and Dr Harriette Verwey – received 19 applications. In its deliberations the Committee considered the quality of the applications and the societal relevance of the project. They selected three researchers.
Semiha Aydin, a PhD candidate at the Department of Developmental and Educational Psychology, will research the efficacity of schema therapy in treating social anxiety disorder in young adults, first-generation students in particular. Semiha says: ‘With the LEF grant I’ll be able to bridge the gap between research and practice, and to research a promising treatment for social anxiety. This will also be very worthwhilet for first-generation students because social anxiety has a significant effect on their student career.’
Tim Lubbers, a researcher at Leiden Law School, will explore the historical influence of Roman-Dutch maritime law on the limitation of marine liability in English common law. Tim: ‘The LEF grants means I can press ahead with my academic plans, something I’m really pleased about.’
Miriam Haaksma, who works at the LUMC, will use her grant for a European study of Covid patients in geriatric rehabilitation. Miriam is incredibly pleased and grateful, she says. ‘This is an amazing opportunity to continue my research.’
The LUF launched the Carel’s Wish crowdfunding campaign on SteunLeiden.nl in 2021 as a leaving gift for former rector magnificus Carel Stolker. Hundreds of alumni and other benefactors donated to the LEF, a named LUF fund, raising over 90,000 euros for first-generation students and researchers. Professor Stolker: ‘An outstanding expenditure committee has now made a first selection from the 19 applications from young researchers. I’m really pleased! I hope that this will help make their academic dreams come true. The Diversity Office is also working on a project to support first-generation students.’ Read Professor Stolker’s full response (in Dutch) to the success of ‘Carel’s Wish’ on SteunLeiden.nl.
LEF supports ambition
In the first LEF grant round in April 2021, first-generation researchers who have faced obstacles in their research were able to submit a proposal. First-generation students and researchers still have much less access to networks within and outside the university. A lack of funds often hampers their studies or research too. A first-generation researcher is a researcher whose parents did not go to university.
Researchers from Leiden University can apply for an individual LEF grant. They can submit a proposal for a research project, an article or preparations for another, larger grant application. The maximum grant is €15,000. See this page for more information on the criteria for LEF grants for researchers.
Professor Stolker: ‘As a lecturer, dean and rector, I have always admired pupils and students who had to do it on their own, who had to find their own way to university. It is these students, often first-generation students, that I want to help with the new Leiden Empowerment Fund.’
Would you like to help create equal opportunities for all? You can still donate to SteunLeiden.nl. On behalf of all Leiden researchers and students, we would like to thank you for your support.