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About us Profile Prizes and awards


Since its inception, the KNAW has been a learned society of outstanding Dutch scientists and scholars. Membership is awarded on the basis of scientific and scholarly achievement. Members are appointed for life. Starting in May 2011, the Academy will appoint a maximum of sixteen new members every year. KNAW membership is regarded as a great honour in the Netherlands.

KNAW Academy Medal

Trudy Dehue
Trudy Dehue

De Royal Netherlands Academy Arts and Sciences awards every other year the Academy Medal to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of science in the Netherlands. In 2019, Trudy Dehue, scientific sociologist, author and emeritus professor of the University of Groningen, received the Academy Medal from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). The prize was awarded to Dehue for the fact that she started the societal debate on important issues in science.
Read more about Trudy Dehue

Academy Professors Prizes

Until 2016 the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) also annually awarded two prizes, each worth € 1 million. One prize was awarded to the most excellent researcher in the social sciences or humanities, and the other to the most excellent researcher in the natural, technical or life sciences. The Academy Professor grants were awarded to excellent researchers as lifetime achievement awards for exceptional achievement throughout the course of their careers.

Elisabeth de Vries
Elisabeth de Vries

2010: Prof. Elisabeth de Vries

Elisabeth de Vries (Medical Oncology) was appointed Academy Professor in recognition of her pioneering research within a very wide spectrum of medical oncology. She is a prominent international researcher and develops and implements new techniques in both scientific research and patient care.

Eric Bergshoeff
Eric Bergshoeff

2010: Prof. Eric Bergshoeff

Eric Bergshoeff (Theoretical Physics) has made important contributions to scientific breakthroughs in the field of string theory and membranes. He is an internationally renowned scientist whose ideas have strongly influenced the field and its development. Throughout his career, Bergshoeff has been an innovative researcher, and his development of brane theory has had a lasting influence on theoretical and mathematical physics.

Ben Feringa
Ben Feringa

2008: Prof. Ben Feringa

Ben Feringa was awarded an Academy Professor Prize for his groundbreaking work in the field of chemistry. He became world-famous after he synthesized organic molecules. Feringa was the first person to synthesize molecular motors that continued to turn under the influence of light. Colleagues worldwide regard this as one of the high points of modern chemistry. Many of the postdoc researchers he has attracted from all over the world have moved on to fill high positions at prominent universities outside the Netherlands.

Dirkje Postma
Dirkje Postma

2007: Prof. Dirkje Postma

Dirkje Postma, Professor of the Pathophysiology of Respiration, was awarded an Academy Professorship ‘for her contributions to the field of pulmonary disease’. Postma has worked on asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases (COPD) and allergies. Her early work, leading to the use of steroids as a standard treatment for asthma patients, has benefited many millions of people worldwide. She continues to do both clinical work and basic research at an exceptional level. She has successfully expanded her research into the genetics of asthma and is now recognized as being one of the leading investigators in this field worldwide.


2005: Prof. Bram Buunk

Bram Buunk , Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Groningen, was awarded an Academy Professorship for his influential theoretical contribution to social comparison theory, his empirical research into social comparison processes in several new domains, and his evolutionary-psychology approach to social behaviour. His work constitutes an important contribution to solving problems linked to work-related stress, burnout, mental health and serious illnesses. His research has also resulted in important new conclusions in the field of jealousy and reciprocity in interpersonal relationships.

KNAW members

Sijbren Otto
Sijbren Otto

Since 2020

Prof. Sijbren Otto is a pioneer in systems chemistry, a new discipline in chemistry that studies networks of interacting molecules and their properties. Otto is using this approach to study the chemical basis of life. He succeeded in building systems with ‘dead’ molecules made in the lab that can make copies of themselves, with the aim to undergo Darwinian evolution. Mutations occur during replication, subsequently followed by selection depending on the chemical environment. This gives certain mutants the ability to replicate faster and win the race for resources available. Otto and his group also show how self-replicating molecules can use chemical energy to produce and maintain more complex structures: a first step towards metabolism.

André Aleman
André Aleman

Since 2017

André Aleman (1975) is professor of Cognitive Neuropsychiatry at the Department of Neurosciences of the UMCG and the Department of Psychology of the University of Groningen. Aleman is an innovative, internationally renowned brain researcher. His research field covers subjects such as suicide, ageing, schizophrenia and depression.
Read more about André Aleman

Amina Helmi
Amina Helmi

Amina Helmi is a professor of Astronomy specializing in Milky Way dynamics, structure and formation at the Kapteyn Institute of the University of Groningen. She is one of the founders of galactic archaeology: the reconstruction of the history of star systems on the basis of their current positions, movements and the stars within them.
Read more about Amina Helmi

Clara Mulder
Clara Mulder

Clara Mulder is Professor of Demography and Space and has made significant contributions to the fields of geography, demography and family sociology. She was one of the first researchers to use the concept of the life course to study how people take decisions about work, divorce, family and domicile.
Read more about Clara Mulder

Linda Steg
Linda Steg

Linda Steg is Professor of Environmental Psychology and examines how we can understand, predict and influence environmentally aware behaviour. She has studied how people use their cars and why they waste energy, for example. Steg showed that when it comes to the environment, people pay less attention to cost/benefit analyses, facts and arguments than to standards, values and emotions.
Read more about Linda Steg

Marcel Visser
Marcel Visser

Marcel Visser was one of the first researchers to demonstrate how climate change disrupts the plant and animal food chain. One of his discoveries is that when oaks bear leaves earlier in spring, the food supply of winter moth caterpillars also peaks before time and the great tits that depend on them arrive too late to find caterpillars to feed their fledglings.

Since 2016

Since 2015

Since 2012

Since 2011

Since 2010

Sinds 2009

Sinds 2008

Sinds 2006

Sinds 2005

Sinds 2004

  • Prof. dr. A.P. Buunk (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences) - KNAW-profiel

Sinds 2003

Sinds 2002

Sinds 2001

Sinds 2000




  • Prof. dr. H.T. Waterbolk (since 1970) - KNAW-profile
  • Prof. dr. W.G. Zijlstra (since 1972)
  • Prof. dr. J. Drenth (since 1973) - KNAW-profile
  • Prof. dr. J.L. Bouma (since 1976) - KNAW-profile
  • Prof. dr. C. Haas (since 1976) - KNAW-profile
  • Prof. dr. S.L. Radt (since 1978) - KNAW-profile
  • Prof. dr. H.J.C. Berendsen (since 1979)


Last modified:06 May 2020 2.19 p.m.
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