Skip to ContentSkip to Navigation
About us Latest news News News articles

Winner Heineken Prize to visit Groningen

20 September 2012

Leading ecologist and academic whistle-blower Prof. William Laurance is set to visit Groningen. Laurance was the scientist who managed to really call attention to the deforestation of tropical rainforests. He collected and published the hard data regarding the loss of biodiversity due to forest fragmentation. He continually managed to convey the need for environmental protection in an unsurpassed manner.

These are the reasons Laurance will be awarded the biennial Dr A.H. Heineken Prize for Environmental Sciences on Thursday 27 September in Amsterdam. A day earlier, on Wednesday 26 September 2012, he will participate in a symposium that is being held in his honour at the University of Groningen, entitled Relevant ecological research: Unwelcome messages for a world in transition? William F. Laurance (54) is Distinguished Research Professor and Australian Laureate at the James Cook University in Cairns, Australia.

The results of ecological research often lead to suggestions for concrete preservation measures, or the call for political pressure to help retain biodiversity. This tends to put ecologists in a vulnerable position, as they are often considered to have a vested interest in the public debate. The symposium will delve into the independence of ecologists and their conclusions. What is it that makes or breaks their authority in the political and public debate? Why is ecological research so important?

The talk by Laurance will be preceded by contributions from Prof. Han Olff (director of the Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies at the University of Groningen), Maarten Hajer (director of the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency), Johan van de Gronden (director of WWF-NL), Peter Herman (Wadden Academy and NIOZ Royal Netherlands Institute for Sea Research – Wadden Academy) and the winner of the 2012 Young Heineken Award for Environmental Sciences, Dr Tjisse van der Heide (biologist at the University of Groningen).

Note for the press


J.G. Rietveld, Department of Animal Ecology

Prof. T. Piersma, Department of Animal Ecology, tel +31-6-18910352,

Last modified:13 March 2020 01.51 a.m.
View this page in: Nederlands

More news

  • 13 May 2024

    ‘The colourful cells of petals never get boring!’

    Most people will enjoy colours in nature. However, the interest of evolutionary biologist Casper van der Kooi goes much further: he studies how flowers, birds, butterflies, and beetles get their colours. He also studies how these colours are used...

  • 13 May 2024

    Trapping molecules

    In his laboratory, physicist Steven Hoekstra is building an experimental set-up made of two parts: one that produces barium fluoride molecules, and a second part that traps the molecules and brings them to an almost complete standstill so they can...

  • 07 May 2024

    Lecture with soon to be Honorary Doctor Gerrit Hiemstra on May 24

    In celebration of his honorary doctorate, FSE has invited Hiemstra to give a lecture entitled ‘Science, let's talk about it’ on the morning of 24 May