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First BSS Science for Society Award for Susan Niessen

20 januari 2017

Susan Niessen, PhD student at the Department of Psychometrics and Statistics, has received the first BSS Science for Society award during the Faculty New Year's reception. The award is a faculty board initiative to reward young researchers who have been exceptionally capable of communicating their research to a broad audience.  

Jury report:

The jury has unanimously decided to give the first BSS Science for Society Award to Susan Niessen, PhD student at the Department of Psychometrics and Statistics. The jury is of the opinion that Susan has not only proven that she can perform excellent science, she is also very capable in communicating her results to a broad audience.  She has distinguished herself through several relevant activities.

Excellent science & interdisciplinarity

Susan’s research and her activities surrounding it are interdisciplinary combining the educational sciences, pedagogics and psychology. Only three years into her PhD Susan’s pioneering research on selection and matching in higher education has led to six peer-reviewed articles as first author and recently one of her articles has been accepted by “Perspectives on Psychological Science", one of the top 10 journals in general psychology. This is a scientific paper but it also has a large societal component. Her paper will be very influential especially in a country like the Unites States where educational admission testing has a large influence on a person’s future. She has brought the debate around this subject to a higher level by discussing it with American researchers and organisations.


Susan’s research has already started to influence policy as well. Due to her expertise on the subject Susan represents our university at meetings from the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU).  

Broad audience

Susan’s research is of interest to a broad audience and in order to reach them she has already written two op-ed pieces that were published in NRC Handelsblad. She has also presented her research to a broad audience several times, co-organised a meeting about it and has published in multiple Dutch professional magazines. In light of a project from the European Union she was invited to Romania to give a lecture on the subject, which inspired both staff and students.

The jury feels that the impact of her valorisation activities this early in her scientific career are outstanding, and that she is therefore very deserving of the BSS Science for Society award.

Laatst gewijzigd:22 januari 2017 19:26

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