The University of Groningen established the Ben Feringa Impact Award to highlight the exceptional achievements of researchers and students in the field of knowledge utilization. This refers to the connection between the academic world of the UG and society at large. The prize is divided into two categories: one for researchers and one for students. The winning project in the category for researchers is ‘Ocean Grazer’, by Wout Prins, Antonis Vakis and Bayu Jayawardhana. The winning project in the category for students is ‘Ivy One’, by Niels Weijermars.
Knowledge utilization, also known as valorization, is increasingly being seen as the collaboration between academics and partners outside the university regarding the gathering of knowledge and the improvement of professional and societal practice. The aim of the Ben Feringa Impact Award is to value the activities of academics and highlight the link between the UG and its societal environment. The award, named after Groningen’s 2016 Nobel Prize winner, is dedicated to projects with a demonstrable societal impact in two categories: one for researchers and one for students. One prizewinning project and one honourable mention are selected per category. The academics behind these projects are presented with prize money, with the Ubbo Emmius Fund providing the student prize.
Earlier this year, the selection committee unanimously selected two winning projects and two honourable mentions. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the announcement of the winners and the award ceremony had to be postponed to this autumn.
The winning project in the category for researchers is ‘Ocean Grazer’, by Wout Prins, Antonis Vakis and Bayu Jayawardhana of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. The Ocean Grazer harvests renewable energy from sea waves and integrates this with a modular solution for the large-scale storage of electricity that is generated by wind turbines and floating solar panels at sea. As a result, clean energy can be generated under all weather conditions. The mechanism is based on technology from a hydroelectric plant, technology that has been proven to be highly reliable and efficient for over a century.
The winning project in the category for students is ‘Ivy One’, by Niels Weijermars of the Faculty of Science and Engineering. He developed an equipment which patients enables to no longer have to walk through corridors, tackle hurdles and manoeuvre themselves in busy lifts while dragging their portable IV drip stands. The Ivy One by Ivy Medical can be worn as a shoulder bag and offers high wearer comfort and optimal flexibility during IV treatment. This results in more freedom of movement for patients and lower work pressure for nurses and healthcare assistants.
The honourable mention in the category for researchers is awarded to the project ‘Van zuilen naar bubbels: over de toekomst van consensusbestuur in een geglobaliseerde samenleving’ (From pillars to bubbles: on the future of consensus leadership in a globalized society), by Caspar van den Berg of the UG/Campus Fryslân.
The honourable mention in the category for students is awarded to the project ‘Gedragskundige contra-expertise in strafzaken’ (Behavioural counter-expertise in legal cases), by Cleo Huisman, Kim de Wildt, Marjorie Drees, Sanne Rodenboog, Maud Olde Keizer, Jolanda de Jong and Pim van Tongeren of the Faculty of Law.
Rector Cisca Wijmenga is delighted: "With these wonderful award winners, we show that we also apply our important science in different places in society."The winners of the Ben Feringa Impact Award will play a role during the first ‘Groninger Wetenschapsquiz’ (Groningen Science Quiz) on Thursday 18 February 2021.The following round of the Ben Feringa Impact Award will begin in the autumn of 2021.
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