At a press conference in the Academy Building, Nobel Prize laureate Ben Feringa briefly discussed the honour bestowed on him today. ‘I am still a little in shock’, a radiant Feringa said.
‘When I received the phone call from the Nobel Prize Committee this morning, I was at a loss for words for some time. Then my first words were: ‘I feel greatly honoured by this’. This is every academic’s dream. The greatest honour possible for a scientist.’
Feringa offered elaborate praise to his team. ‘It is wonderful to work at the UG and to be part of this community. I have a fantastic team of talented students and young researchers from as many as seventeen countries.’ The brand new Nobel Prize laureate made a plea for transcending limitations in presentday science. ‘Great societal challenges await us: designing tomorrow's medication or materials, for instance. It is important to work on this internationally. I hope to contribute my bit through our research.’
Having received his prize, Feringa hopes to be doing a lot of interesting research in the coming years. ‘But I will also be spreading the message that more funding is required for fundamental research.’ Together with other academics from the Netherlands Royal Academy for Arts and Sciences (KNAW), Feringa has requested from the Dutch government an extra investment of EUR 1 billion in fundamental research. ‘I’m really a lecturer, teaching first-year students. I would love to know that sufficient means will be available several years from now for these young talents to roam about freely in the playground of research.’
Chairman of the University Board Sibrand Poppema says that the University of Groningen is extremely proud of Feringa. ‘I once told Feringa that I thought he would win the Nobel Prize some day. It is a special honour, of course. Very special. It has been 63 years since a UG academic won the Nobel Prize. This is indeed a very great honour for the UG in particular and Dutch academia in general.’
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