Theunis Piersma has been awarded the first Stairway to Impact Award, one of five new Science Awards introduced by NWO. The winners are seen by the jury as an inspiration in the fields of social impact, team science, role model, diversity and communication. The Stairway to Impact Award has been won by three researchers who have taken innovative steps in increasing societal impact: Professor Theunis Piersma (RUG/NIOZ), Dr Kateřina Staňková (MU) and Dr Chris Slootweg (UvA). Each researcher will receive €50,000 to spend on further steps promoting this impact and knowledge application.
Piersma, who was awarded a Spinoza prize in 2014, creatively combines his life sciences research with computer sciences in order to study the behaviour and movement of migrating birds, by using satellites. He employs an interdisciplinary approach, working with researchers from the life, earth and computer sciences. The location of these birds yields important information with which to study and counteract global problems such as climate change and biodiversity loss. He has a clear vision of the future and is strongly committed to policy changes aimed at averting species extinction and slowing climate change. Piersma has studied migrating birds his whole life, and strives to raise awareness and protect these birds; this has made him a source of inspiration to others.
For more information on the awards and the winners, visit the NWO website.
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The grant is worth EUR 500,000, of which Avraamidou and Sburlea receive around EUR 100,000.
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