The Spinoza Prizes for top scientists are also known as the ‘Dutch Nobel Prizes’. The two Stevin Prizes are first and foremost a tribute to the social impact of research. The winners have just been announced.

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) announced a year ago that as from 2023 it would award only two Spinoza Prizes instead of four. There would then be a better balance between the Spinoza and Stevin Prizes. The monetary sums have also been reduced, from 2.5 to 1.5 million euros. The Dutch Research Council wants to focus less on rewarding established researchers. The Spinoza and Stevin Prizes are in fact now as high as the (maximum) Vici grants.

Climate crisis and fungi

Joyeeta Gupta, Professor of Environment and Development in the Global South at the University of Amsterdam, gets the Spinoza Prize for her work in the field of climate science, decolonisation and government policy. Among other things, the jury praises her participation in the influential United Nations committee of climate scientists IPCC.

The second Spinoza winner is Toby Kiers, Professor of Mutualistic Interactions at VU Amsterdam. She is carrying out research into the exchange of nutrients between plants and underground fungi and how they work together. Her work helps to make agriculture more resistant to the challenges of climate change, in the view of the jury.

Chip technology and human rights

Stevin prize winner Bram Nauta, Professor of Integrated Circuit Design at the University of Twente, designs circuits for chips. Previously, he contributed to the development of smartphones, the 5G network, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The jury calls his recent work in the domain of energy-efficient chips very promising.

Corien Prins, Professor of Law and Information Technology at Tilburg University is researching the impact of digitalisation on human rights. She wins a Stevin Prize for developing her field of expertise and for her contribution to the debate about Artificial Intelligence.


Every year, the candidates for these awards are nominated by their university’s Rector Magnificus, the president of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), and the chairs of some important scientific bodies such as the Dutch Network of Women Professors (LNVH). Two committees with members from various countries and scientific disciplines then select the winners.

Up to now there have been 107 Spinoza prize winners and 12 Stevin prize winners. The prizes will be presented on 4 October. At the ceremony, the winners will announce the purpose for which they plan to use the money.

EM illustratie 12 nov 2020 Wiersema-academische vrijheid academic freedom covid-19 talkshow

Read more

‘Academic freedom requires the courage to doubt’

The right to demonstrate is a great asset for universities, UvA rector Peter-Paul Verbeek…