Two professors nominated by the University of Groningen have been awarded Royal Decorations on Tuesday 26 April. Professor K.U. Loos is appointed Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion. She received this honour from Mayor K. Schuiling at Groningen City Hall. Professor G.J. Vonk is appointed Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau. He received this honour at his home in Steenbergen from Mayor K. Smid of the municipality of Noordenveld. Dr Marijke Gordijn was awarded a royal decoration as well.
Katja Loos (Frankfurt am Main, 1971) is Professor of Polymer Chemistry at the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Groningen. As the leading frontrunner in polymer chemistry in the Netherlands, she has conducted high-level research with impressive scientific and social impact. Having obtained her PhD in Germany in 2001 and after a period as a postdoctoral researcher in the US, Loos became an Assistant Professor at the University of Groningen in 2003, and Professor of Polymer Chemistry in 2012. As the second most cited researcher in her field, she has gained global recognition for Dutch polymer science. She won two German travel grants and broadened her knowledge as a visiting researcher in Brazil and the United States. She has also held several visiting professorships in Spain and Germany and received a number of special awards, such as the Distinguished Woman in Chemistry Award for proven excellence in research and teaching and leadership in the chemical sciences.
Gijsbert Vonk (1960, Sittard) is Professor of Social Security Law at the Faculty of Law of the University of Groningen. He is regarded as an excellent academic, a real networker, socially involved and above all, a kind and sympathetic man with a sense of humour. He is a frontrunner in the field of social security law, which provides a vital safety net for the most vulnerable in society. Wherever Gijs Vonk worked, he is recognized as an academic who championed the interests of society's most vulnerable, such as the homeless, the sick, migrants, refugees, people on social assistance, and the long-term unemployed. Social protection is the leitmotif of his career, and he expertly and enthusiastically inspires all around him to join him in the conviction that a social welfare state must strive for dignity for all.
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