RU Research Fund

RU Research Fund has awarded 8 Ph.D. Student Grants. The total amount awarded is 42.720.000 ISK. The Fund received 9 applications. Below are information on the projects that receive grants from the Fund 2018. Each grant is 420.000 ISK salary support per month for max one year + 300.000 ISK travel grant.

List of RU Research Fund Projects:


Hlín Kristbergsdóttir

  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: Hlín Kristbergsdóttir
  • School: School of Business
  • Supervisor: Jón F. Sigurðsson and Heiðdís B. Valdimarsdóttir
  • Project title: Impact of mental distress during pregnancy on child adverse outcomes
  • Short description of the project:
    Untreated mental illness during pregnancy is a serious problem affecting up to 20% of women during the perinatal period. This major public health issue impacts not only the mothers but their future children's health, emotional and cognitive development. Research on the association between perinatal distress and adverse child outcomes is limited (e.g. lack of diagnosis and distinguish between level of distress).

    The aim of this project is to examine impact of severity of prenatal mental distress on children's adverse outcomes at the age of 0-13 years and to explore potential moderators of this relationship. Data will be obtained from 437 children of mothers that were screened with symptoms of distress, diagnosed with major depression and/or anxiety disorder or found to be healthy. To test path models we will use latent growth trajectories models.

    We hypothesise that children exposed to prenatal distress are a) different at birth b) have different developmental history c) worse academic performances d) are more likely to show conduct and emotional problems than children not exposed. Also, that children born to mothers diagnosed with a mental disorder will have the worst outcomes.

    Further, that higher level of distress, single mothers, poverty and low maternal education will moderate the relationship. The results will have both theoretical and applied implications providing information on high risk children and beneficial for improving preventive measures in antenatal care.

María Kristín Jónsdóttir

  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: María Kristín Jónsdóttir
  • School: School of Business
  • Doctoral Student: Ingunn S. Unnsteinsdóttir
  • Supervisor: María Kristín Jónsdóttir
  • Project title: Concussions among Icelandic athletes: Incidence, hypopituitarism and psychological health
  • Short description of the project:
    Study 1:
    This is a 12-month prospective study of concussions among male and female elite athletes in Iceland. Concussions represent a public health crisis and athletes are at a risk for repeated concussions. Sport injury rates are not uniform across cultures and national information on concussion incidence are needed. Incidence will be reported as number of concussion divided by athlete-exposure (AE) and reported by age, gender, sport, position played, and whether the concussion happened during practice or in a game.

    Study 2: Hypopituitarism (i.e., deficient pituitary functioning) and its relationship to concussion history, neuropsychology/IQ , mental health and quality of life in concussed female elite athletes will be studied. Published findings show that hypopituitarism is common in concussed athletes but only include data on seven female athletes. Yet, females are often said to be particularly vulnerable to concussions.

    There are three phases to this study: 1) a questionnaire will be sent to all Icelandic female elite athletes, active and retired (aged 18-45, N = 1160), in high concussion-risk sports. We will ask about concussion history, mental health/quality of life and concussion symptoms; 2) those with a self-reported history of concussion go to phase 2, which includes a more precise assessment of concussion history, IQ and neuropsychological testing. In phase 3, those with a clear history of concussion undergo hormone evaluation and a medical exam.

Luca Aceto

  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: Luca Aceto
  • School: School of Computer Science
  • Doctoral Student: NN
  • Supervisor: Luca Aceto and Anna Ingólfsdóttir
  • Project title: Open Problems in the Equational Logic of Processes (OPEL)
  • Short description of the project:
    The overarching goal of this project is to solve some of the challenging open problems in the equational axiomatisation of behavioural equivalences over process calculi. The results obtained within this project will lead to an improved understanding of the power of the classic logic of equations in describing and reasoning about a ubiquitous class of computing systems, and will have impact on future work on algebraic methods in concurrency theory. The project will be the first one in concurrency theory (and perhaps in computer science as a whole) that uses large-scale on-line collaboration to solve problems in that field, thus providing a blueprint for future research cooperation.

Sigrún Ólafsdóttir

  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: Sigrún Ólafsdóttir
  • School: School of Business
  • Supervisor: Jón F. Sigurðsson and Paul Salkovskis
  • Project title: Development and evaluation of a cognitive behavioural treatment for persistent physical symptoms that cause work disability
  • Short description of the project:
    Background: Persistent physical symptoms (PPS) that cannot be explained by organic diseases are common in all health care settings and have been associated with diminished quality of life, increased work disability and high health care use and cost. Conventional medical therapy is largely ineffective.

    There is evidence for a range of Cognitive-Behavioural treatments (CBT) but those are based on models that are specific to particular types of PPS which creates serious practical problems. Recently, we addressed these problems with a transdiagnostic cognitive behavioural model for PPS and novel hybrid transdiagnostic CBT (HT-CBT). Aims: To adapt the HT-CBT for PPS causing work disability and evaluate in a Randomised Controlled Trial comparing HTCBT to treatment as usual, analysing data using the intention to treat method. Participants will be 250 people with PPS seeking work rehabilitation from VIRK Vocational Rehabilitation Fund. Feasibility: We are cooperating with VIRK and pilot data shows that severe PPS are common among VIRK clients and they generally find psychological treatment acceptable. Originality and impact: The study adds considerably to existing knowledge as it responds to poor availability of cost-effective treatments for PPS and a clear need for a treatment suitable for work rehabilitation. If effective, the HT-CBT will have major public health implications as it will be manualized, easy to deliver and be more cost-effective than currently available treatments.

Hulda Kristín Magnúsdóttir

  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: Hulda Kristín Magnúsdóttir
  • School: School of Law
  • Supervisor: Gunnar Þór Pétursson
  • Project title: Extending the borders of the Energy Union - the effects on Icelandic energy legislation
  • Short description of the project:
    Agreement on energy legislation in Iceland has been and still is underestimated, with a focus on the reservation made in Article 125 of the EEA Agreement in relation to property rights. I have divided my research into the following research questions: (I) What is the current scope of EEA energy law and how has it evolved since 1994? (II) How has EEA energy law and the provisions on free movement in the EEA Agreement impacted energy legislation in Iceland, in particular with reference to property rights? (III) To what degree have Iceland and Norway managed to modify EU energy law to their standpoint upon incorporation into the EEA Agreement and what were the underlying factors for the standpoint adopted by Iceland/Norway? (IV) What are the potential effects of the Energy Union on EEA energy law? To answer these research questions, I will be using legal dogmatics as an established research method in law to answer questions I, II and IV. To be able to answer question III, I will use a comparative socio-legal approach where I will be using quantitative research methods to determine what factors have impacted the standpoint adopted by Iceland and Norway.

    My research will provide a detailed insight into how Iceland and Norway have sought to protect their national interest and maintain their competitive edge, particularly in comparison to EU Member States in relation to energy.

Sigurður Ingi Erlingsson

  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: Sigurður Ingi Erlingsson
  • School: School of Science and Engineering
  • Doctoral Student: NN
  • Supervisor: Sigurður Ingi Erlingsson
  • Project title: Analytical results for Shubnikov-de Haas oscillations in a two-dimensonal electron gas with spin-orbit and Zeeman coupling
  • Short description of the project:
    Here we derive an analytical expression for the Shubnikov-de-Haas (SdH) oscillations in a two-dimensional electron gas with both Rashba and Dresselhaus spin-orbit interactions of arbitrary strength in the presence of Zeeman coupling. We first obtain accurate approximate spin-split Landaulevel eigenenergies and from these an exact trace formula for the density of states, which is directly connected to the magnetoresisitivity of the system. Our analytical results hold for a wide range of Rashba and Dresselhaus couplings and agree well with the numerical calculations, even for very high Landau level index. This allows us to analytically describe SdH oscillations and make predictions on how the Zeeman coupling modifies the condition for the absence of beatings.

    We propose how our method can be used to improve the analysis of existing experimental data for semiconductors with strong spin-orbit coupling.

Andrei Manolescu 
  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: Andrei Manolescu
  • School: School of Science and Engineering
  • Doctoral Student: NN
  • Supervisor: Andrei Manolescu and Sigurður Ingi Erlingsson
  • Project title: Thermoelectric transport in core/shell nanowires
  • Short description of the project:
    In this proposal, we describe our intended research on the thermoelectric and heat transport characteristics of semiconductor core/shell nanowires, beyond the linear regime, by computational methods. The cross section of such a nanowire can de circular or polygonal. We shall study the effect of the nanowire shape and length on the thermoelectric transport. We shall investigate the possibilities to control the thermoelectric efficiency with magnetic or electric fields, for specific geometries, and for specific temperature domains.

Andrei Manolescu 

  • Grant amount: 5.340.000 ISK
  • Applicant: Andrei Manolescu
  • School: School of Science and Engineering
  • Doctoral Student: NN
  • Supervisor: Andrei Manolescu
  • Project title: Majorana states in core/shell nanowires
  • Short description of the project:
    Majorana states are quasiparticles which can be created in nanosystems, reminding of the elementary particles with the same name predicted in 1937. Model calculations predicted that such states can be obtained at the two ends of a semiconductor nanowire in an induced superconducting state and recent experimental investigations gave some hints on their existence. Core/shell nanowires are radial heterostructures with polygonal cross section, i.e. prismatic, very interesting for Majorana physics. Electrons with low energy can be localized at the corners (edges) and can create multiple Majorana states at each nanowire end.

    The goal of the present research proposal is to investigate, by theoretical and computational means, the implications of the core/shell prismatic geometry on the Majorana states.


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