The money is intended for a project to improve or renew the education. All the nominated teams win a sum, but the amount has not yet been announced.

There have always been prestigious prizes available to successful academics, such as the Spinoza and the Stevin premiums. But what about rewarding top staff members? In her strategic agenda, Minister Van Engelshoven therefore announced that she would also be awarding education prizes to teams at universities and universities of applied sciences.

5 million

These Netherlands Higher Education Premiums total 5 million euros: 2.5 million euros for three staff teams from universities of applied sciences and the same amount for three teams from the universities.

The original plan was to only allocate two prizes of 2.5 million euros, but this came under criticism from the academic community. The top academics from The Young Academy felt it was ‘inappropriate’ to award such high prizes to a few individuals or small groups, particularly at a time when education is under financial pressure.


“We listened to that feedback,” says Education, Culture and Science (OCW) spokesperson Michiel Hendrikx. “It was therefore decided to enable more people to benefit from the award. The money is then more useful, particularly for smaller institutions.”

There was a conscious decision to allocate the money to teams. By doing so, the Minister wants to reward and stimulate cooperation in education. The winners may use the money to use their own project to contribute to the renewal and improvement of higher education.

Business community

For example, the project developed by the nominated team from Utrecht University of Applied Sciences aims to introduce students to the business community on their very first day. Staff at Utrecht University were nominated for a learning centre for education motivation.

In principle, the nominated teams are automatically winners. The sum they are awarded will be announced on 1 March during the annual Comenius Festival, which is taking place online this year.

The nominated teams

  • Open-ICT team, Utrecht University of Applied Sciences
  • LeerLevels, Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences
  • Team Space for All, Windesheim
  • TU/e Innovation Space, TU Eindhoven
  • Urban Futures Studio, Utrecht University
  • RASL minor, Erasmus University (in collaboration with Willem de Kooning Academy, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences and Codarts)