Vidi grant for Dingemanse and Martin

01 June 2018
Mark Dingemanse and Andrea E. Martin of the Max Plank Institute for Psycholinguistics (MPI) are each to receive up to 800,000 euros to develop an innovative research theme and to build up their own research group. NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research) is awarding the Vidi grant as part of the Innovational Research Incentives Scheme.

Vidi is aimed at excellent researchers who have been producing successful research for a number of years since obtaining their PhD. These academics are among the best 10 to 20 percent in their field. A Vidi will allow them to appoint people and conduct curiosity-driven research for a period of five years. In total fourteen researchers from Nijmegen – Radboud University, Radboud university medical center, and the MPI – were awarded.
Information about Mark Dingemanse and Andrea Martin and their research is given below.

Elementary particles of conversation


Mark Dingemanse

Just below our awareness, small words like ‘mm’, ‘huh?’ and ‘oh’ streamline interaction and help make complex language possible. These words, and a few more, are the elementary particles that hold together everyday conversations. Yet we know very little about where they come from, how they get their shape, and what they look and sound like across the world’s languages. Understanding these highly adaptive communicative tools will shed light on key properties of language and will help us improve conversational agents. We use recordings of conversation and computational models to study how language is shaped by and for social interaction.

Combining words during speaking and listening


Andrea E. Martin

Human language allows us to combine words into infinitely many possible meanings, yet current theories of language production and comprehension do not specify a mechanism for how our brains compute meanings and structures when we speak and listen. This proposal develops a computational model for combinatorial processes during speaking and listening that operates in a brain-like fashion, and tests this model with neuroimaging experiments.


A total of 571 researchers submitted an admissible research project for funding during this Vidi funding round. Eighty-six of these have now received grants. That amounts to an award rate of 15%. See the online list of awarded grants for the 2017 round which contains the names of all of the laureates and brief summaries of their research projects.

More information

Mark Dingemanse

Phone: +31-24-3521 593

Email: mark.dingemanse [at] (mark[dot]dingemanse[at]mpi[dot]nl)

Andrea E. Martin

Phone: +31-24-3521 948 

Email: andrea.martin [at] (andrea[dot]martin[at]mpi[dot]nl)


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