Six researchers receive highest NWO awards

Six researchers receive highest NWO awards



Six Dutch scientists received this year’s Spinoza and Stevin awards of 2.5 million euros. They conduct research on distant planets, microbes, Parkinson’s disease, fundamental physics, humanitarian disasters and work-life balance. The grants will be awarded on 5 October. Then the winners will announce what they want to use the money for.


The grants are awarded by science funding body NWO and are known as the ‘Dutch Nobel Prizes’. In Delft, Nynke Dekker, Lieven Vandersypen and Mark van Loosdrecht, among others, previously received this award.


Four researchers receive the Spinoza Prize:


  • Thea Hilhorst of Erasmus University Rotterdam is receiving the award for her research into humanitarian aid and reconstruction. The professor specialises in emergency situations after disasters and armed conflicts.
  • According to the jury, Corné Pieterse, Professor of Plant-Microbe Interactions at Utrecht University, is doing pioneering research and looking at how plants defend themselves against diseases and pests. In this way, he contributes to greater food security for the growing world population.
  • Ignas Snellen works as a professor of observational astrophysics at Leiden University. He also interprets astronomy for a wide audience by giving lectures and making media appearances. The third Spinoza laureate is a ‘pioneer in the research into planets that orbit a star other than our sun’, writes NWO.
  • Klaas Landsman, professor of mathematical physics at Radboud University Nijmegen, does ”unique research’ at the interface between mathematics and physics. According to the jury, this leads to ‘deep insights into the foundations, history and philosophy of physics’. In doing so, he makes people think about the foundations of our existence.

The Stevin Prize was established in 2018 to appreciate the social impact of science. This year, two researchers will receive this premium:


  • Tanja van der Lippe, professor of sociology in Utrecht, puts the results of a study into a healthy work-life balance into practical use and so, according to the jury, she makes a major contribution to the well-being of employees.
  • Bas Bloem, professor of neurological movement disorders at Radboud UMC, is the world’s number one in the field of Parkinson’s disease. He is an “out-of-the-box thinker” and works with technology companies, among others, to improve care.


This year, some 25 researchers were nominated per grant to science funding body NWO. Two committees with members from different countries and science disciplines chose the winners. The counter now stands at 105 Spinoza laureates in the Netherlands and ten Stevin laureates. (HOP, JvE)



HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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