NWO Gravitation Grant Awarded to OIKOS for Anchoring Innovation

The ancient Greeks and Romans were great innovators. New ideas abounded, not just in science and technology, but also in literature and arts, politics, the economy and many other domains of life. How did those innovations come about and how did they turn into actual innovation? This is the research question of the Gravitation proposal by a team of Dutch classicists collaborating in the national research school in Classical Studies, OIKOS.


The hypothesis of this research agenda is that tradition and innovation are not simply juxtaposed or even opposed. In successful innovations, people perceive a meaningful coherence between the new and the familiar. For this phenomenon OIKOS uses the concept of ‘anchoring’. Developing this concept in an investigation of Greco-Roman antiquity results in a new and better understanding of innovation processes of all times.

The Gravitation proposal was developed by a large team of Dutch classicists, led by Prof. Ineke Sluiter (Leiden University, main applicant) and Prof. André Lardinois (Radboud University). Radboud University submitted the proposal to NWO. The ‘After the Crisis’ research project at University of Groningen, developed by Prof. Onno van Nijf, Prof. Ruurd Nauta (Latin), and Dr. Jan Willem Drijvers, and carried out by Dr. Jacqueline Klooster (Greek/Latin) and Dr. Inger Kuin (Ancient History) served as one of the pilot projects for the Gravitation proposal, contributing to the successful application.

Prof. Van Nijf: ‘In this project classicists and ancient historians actively collaborated with fellow members of CRASIS, but also  with modern historians and colleagues of international relations. It clearly shows how an interdisciplinary approach within the field of classical studies can be successful.’

For this ten-year research agenda, the team of 12 applicants has been awarded a Gravitation grant of 18.8 million Euros. This is a unique achievement for the Humanities. Read more about the grant here. On the occasion of the award Anchoring Innovation received a lot of media attention. You can read the news articles here, here, here, and here.