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Home > Press > NWO/Spinoza Prize for miniature laboratories, headache and transitions

'Dutch Nobel Prizes' for three top Dutch researchers

NWO/Spinoza Prize for miniature laboratories, headache and transitions

Netherlands | Posted on June 9th, 2009

On 9 June 2009, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) announced which three researchers will receive the NWO/Spinoza Prize for 2009. The prize is the highest Dutch award in science. This year for the first time, each researcher shall receive not one-and-a-half but two-and-a-half million euro to spend on research of their choice. The researchers receive the prestigious prize for their outstanding, pioneering and inspiring research.

The winners of the NWO/Spinoza Prize 2009 are:

Prof. A. (Albert) van den Berg, physicist at the University of Twente. Van den Berg has made key breakthroughs in the understanding and manipulation of fluids in micro- and nanochannels, and has applied this knowledge to areas such as new medical equipment.

Prof. M.D. (Michel) Ferrari, neurologist at Leiden University Medical Center. Ferrari was the first to identify migraine genes, has developed new drugs to treat migraine attacks and acts as an ambassador for headache patients.

Prof. M. (Marten) Scheffer, aquatic ecologist at Wageningen University and Research Centre. Scheffer has made pioneering contributions to our understanding of critical transitions in complex systems, varying from transitions in shallow lakes to climate change and the collapse of ancient cultures.

Absolute top
The NWO/Spinoza Prize, also viewed as the 'Dutch Nobel Prize', is awarded to Dutch researchers who rank among the world's top scientists. The laureates are internationally renowned and know how to inspire young researchers.

This is the fifteenth occasion on which the Spinoza Prizes have been awarded. The first occasion was in 1995. The awards are made on the basis of nominations. Those allowed to make nominations are the principals of universities, and the chairs of the departments of Literature and Physics of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Society of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Dutch National Network of Female Professors, the Social Sciences Council and the NWO Divisional Boards.

Dutch Education Minister Ronald Plasterk will perform the official presentation of the monetary prize and the Spinoza statuette on Wednesday 25 November 2009 in the Nieuwe Kerk in The Hague.


About Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research
The NWO has the following statutory mission. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research:

* is responsible for enhancing the quality and innovative nature of scientific research as equally initiating and stimulating new developments in scientific research
* mainly fulfils its task by allocating resources
* facilitates, for the benefit of society, the dissemination of knowledge from the results of research that it has initiated and stimulated
* mainly focuses on university research in performing its task

In fulfilling its responsibilities NWO pays due attention to the aspect of coordination and facilitates this where necessary. NWO wants to ensure that Dutch science continues to be amongst the best in the world and that the currently strong position is further strengthened. NWO would also like to see a more intensive use of the results from scientific research by society, so that the contribution of scientific research to prosperity and welfare can be further increased.

For more information, please click here

NWO, Department of Information and Communication
t: +31 70 344 07 13, e-mail:

Copyright © Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research

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