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About us Profile Prizes and awards NWO Spinoza Prize

Spinoza prize

The NWO Spinoza Prize is the highest academic award in the Netherlands. It is bestowed annually on three to four researchers who, in international terms, have reached the very top.

Amina Helmi - Star of the Milky Way

Spinoza newspaper of the UG
Spinoza newspaper of the UG

Amina Helmi (1970) is Professor of Dynamics, Structure and Formation of the Milky Way. Helmi is searching for separate galaxies (‘fossils’) and is using the information from star fossils to reconstruct the formation of the Milky Way.She has been awarded the Spinoza Prize 2019, which is a provisional jewel in the crown of a highly successful academic career that has generated much global attention. In 2018, Helmi published an article in Nature proving that the Milky Way as we know it today had once merged with another large galaxy. Read more »

Take a look at the Spinoza newspaper of the UG with Amina Helmi.

Bart van Wees - Fascination for electrons

Bart van Wees, Professor of Physics of Nanodevices at the Zernike Institute for Advanced Materials of the University of Groningen, is one of the four recipients of NWO Spinoza Prize 2016, the highest distinction in Dutch academia. His research stems from his curiosity about the behaviour of electrons inside new materials, but he has always had at least half an eye on practical applications.  Read more »

Lodi Nauta - First philosopher to receive Spinoza Prize

Professor Lodi Nauta is the first philosopher to receive the Spinoza Prize since its introduction in 1996, another reason to celebrate for the 2016 laureate. ‘I consider this to be not merely the recognition of my own work, but also of the importance of philosophy and its history.‘ Read more »

Cisca Wijmenga - Gluten and genes

Cisca Wijmenga is professor of Human Genetics at the University of Groningen’s Faculty of Medicine and the University Medical Center Groningen. She is one of the winners of the Spinoza Prize 2015. She received this prestigious research award mainly for her work on unravelling the genetic background to gluten intolerance (coeliac disease). Read more »

Theunis Piersma - Flexibility in flight

Theunis Piersma (1958) is professor in the Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES) of the University of Groningen. He was awarded the Spinoza Prize 2014 for his research in migratory birds. Piersma’s ambition is to first interpret migratory behaviour in terms of the interaction between hereditary information and contextual information (food availability, natural enemies and routines learned from parents and other birds of the same species). Read more »

NWO Spinoza Prize and the University of Groningen

The Spinoza Prize has existed for 22 years. The award was introduced by the NWO, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, a national organization that funds and stimulates academic research in the Netherlands. As such, it invests hundreds of millions of euros in academic research each year in the form of indirect government funding. With the Spinoza Prize, NWO aims to increase the visibility of excellent academics.

A maximum of four prizes are awarded annually. The winning academics receive EUR 2.5 million for research, and are given complete freedom to choose their research subject and involve other, mostly young, researchers. Thus, the prize is part recognition for accomplished researchers and part stimulus to conduct further research.

The first University of Groningen researcher to receive a Spinoza Prize was George Sawatzky, Professor of the Natural Sciences, who received the award in 1996. He was followed by six additional winners. Read more »

Baruch Spinoza

The prize is named after Baruch Spinoza (1632–1677). Spinoza was an internationally renowned Dutch scientist and a clear example of freedom in research.

Last modified:13 March 2020 12.18 a.m.
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