Studio OostrumJoyeeta Gupta, one of the laureates
NOS Nieuws•vandaag, 06:00
The highest honors in Dutch science, the Spinoza and Stevin Prizes, will go to four scientists this year. Joyeeta Gupta and Toby Kiers receive a Spinoza Prize, and the Stevin Prizes go to Bram Nauta and Corien Prins.
The four will each receive 1.5 million euros, which they can spend on scientific research and related activities.
Both the Spinoza Prizes and the Stevin Prizes go to scientists who distinguish themselves through the quality of their research. The former focuses more on scientific work, while the Stevin Prizes mainly focus on social impact.
Joyeeta Gupta is Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the University of Amsterdam. He looks at the impact of climate change on southern countries. They have been disproportionately affected by this, while they have contributed relatively little to it.
Gupta is investigating “how we can solve the distribution issues that arise from this through good governance”, according to the jury. The professor is in favor of a global constitution and insists that growth through more consumption is not sustainable. The selection committee of the prize praises Gupta’s impact and is also impressed by the way in which he supervises starting researchers.
Fungi and plants
The other Spinoza laureate, Toby Kiers, conducts research at the Free University of Amsterdam into protecting natural and agricultural ecosystems. The evolutionary biologist looks at the cooperation between fungi and plants. She also applies knowledge and theories from economics and physics. This is how she discovered that fungi behave underground according to commercial principles, by exchanging nutrients with the plant roots with which they enter into symbioses.
It is thanks to Bram Nauta, professor at the University of Twente, that smartphones have become more compact and microelectronics more economical, according to the jury. He is hailed as “a globally recognized expert in designing circuits on chips”. He is also an “excellent speaker” and someone with an “international stature” and an “impressive network”. “The assessment criteria for the Stevin Prize seem to have been written for him.”
Corien Prins is professor of Law and Information Technology at Tilburg University and chair of the Scientific Council for Government Policy. She conducts research into the rights of citizens in a time of increasing digitalisation. “As a shining example, she herself bombards policymakers with knowledge from her field, namely the rights of citizens in a time of increasing digitization.”
The committee calls Prince a born ‘liaison officer’ between academic research and government policy.