UCo projects

Unusual Collaborations grants are designed to take an idea or project further by enabling innovative, interdisciplinary science and scholarship that aims for societal impact. An Unusual Collaborations grant provides funding for one year with the idea that the project will extend beyond the initial funding period.

Current Unusual Collaborations

All in the Same Boat

This project proposes to advance interdisciplinary integration within and among water security pillars to support Sustainable Development Goals and European Green Deal policies. Only with this integration can we secure water from raindrop to tap.

Better Wave than Worry

There are parallels between the early signals for disease development, virus spreading, and extreme weather occurrence. This project’s mission is to identify the shared characteristics of such signals, and to assess their impact in a wider context, i.e. beyond our respective domains.

Plasticity: Here, there, everywhere

Plasticity as a concept is used in multiple academic fields ranging from neurobiology through history to continental philosophy. Can this concept, which resonates with resilience, identity and time, contribute to other scholarly fields that currently do not use it?

Playing with the Trouble

Playing games can open up spaces where participants can express and share how they experience the world. In an institutional context, games can help to explore different roles, perspectives, and rules, and expand collective imagination and agency.

Smart Food

This project aims to develop novel edible smart origami for programmed drug/nutrient release and treatment of the gastrointestinal system and consequently improve the lives of patients suffering from intestinal diseases, malnutrition/obesity.

Structures of Strength

This project revolves around creating a platform where a team of researchers from diverse fields to learn from each other and work together in order to combine their knowledge and create veritable solutions related to health, food, energy, cultural and environmental issues.

Previously funded Unusual Collaborations

Dirty Work, Clean Future

With growing attention for labor shortages and employment conditions, an unsustainable form of employment is understudied: dirty work. This project aims to identify the factors that can help to shed light on issues of wellbeing that workers in these occupations experience.

Imagining More-than-Human Communities

Robots? What are they doing? Working? Or playing? And who decides? This project explores ways of imagining a more equitable community of humans and nonhumans and how to make it a reality in our everyday lives.

FAIR-Battery Challenge

The main goal of this project is to develop an open-source electrochemical battery technology that can be deployed and maintained in the field, for residential users, small scale commercial use, and rural health posts.

iPOP-NL – Interdisciplinary Pain Research Platform

Chronic pain poses a major challenge in our aging and changing society. In the Netherlands alone, approximately 3 million adults experience chronic pain. Chronic pain significantly reduces patients’ quality of life and is often difficult to treat. iPOP-NL takes a multidisciplinary, multifaceted approach to (re)define and understand chronic pain, and to develop better treatment.

The Power of One

Many people fall through the cracks in research, outreach and advocacy efforts because they belong to marginalized groups or because they suffer from complex personal and social problems. This project examined how the needs of unheard and unseen individuals in the contexts of the hospital, the workplace and the neighborhood are identified, and to what extent the current strategies succeed in reaching that goal.

Towards a data-driven dashboard

Current practices of producing and consuming food result in major environmental problems, and reorienting agriculture towards a sustainable future is a major societal challenge. Circular agriculture has been put forward as a promising vision on how to produce sufficient, affordable and safe food while mitigating sustainability problems.