Newly minted Nobel Prize winner Ben Feringa has called on the Dutch government to invest an additional one billion euros in science, as the academics of the future must also have sufficient means to be able to “roam freely in the playground of science”.

Last Wednesday Ben Feringa was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is a professor at Groningen University, where he conducts research on very tiny molecular machines.

In his speech, Feringa emphasised the importance of scientific research. “We are facing major societal challenges, for instance with regard to developing new medications or the materials of the future,” Feringa said in his speech. “It is vital that academics all over the world work on this. I hope our research can contribute to this process ever so slightly.”

Basic research

Along with other members of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, Feringa has asked the Dutch government to earmark more money for basic research. His request is in line with an appeal recently made by the so-called Knowledge Coalition, which has also called for the next cabinet to invest an additional 1 billion euros in scientific research.

“Actually, I’m a lecturer who lectures first-year students,” the Nobel laureate declared. “I would love to see this young talent have sufficient means in a few years’ time to be able to roam freely in the playground of research.”