NWO/Spinoza Prize for psychologist, immunologist, biologist and physicist

'Dutch Nobel prizes' for four top Dutch researchers

On June 12, 2006, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) announced which four researchers will receive the NWO/Spinoza Prize for 2006. The award is the biggest Dutch prize in science. Each researcher receives one-and-a-half million euros to freely devote to research of his or her choice. The researchers receive the prestigious prize for their outstanding, pioneering and inspiring scientific work.

The winners of the NWO/Spinoza Prize 2006 are:

Prof. J.M. (Jozien) Bensing, clinical psychologist at the Netherlands Institute for Health Services Research (NIVEL) and Utrecht University. Bensing demonstrated that the relationships between doctors and their patients can be investigated on a sound empirical basis. She also developed a research method for non-verbal communication that is now used throughout the world.

Prof. C.G. (Carl) Figdor, immunologist at the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences and the University of Twente. Figdor was one of the first in the world to apply dendritic cell therapy – training the individual's immune system to attack tumour cells – to cancer patients. Furthermore, he played an important role in the development of the Nijmegen Centre for Molecular Life Sciences.

Prof. B.J.G. (Ben) Scheres, molecular geneticist at Utrecht University. Scheres discovered which role stem cells play in pattern formation and growth of plant roots. He successfully demonstrated that many mechanisms in plants are closely related to processes in animals.

Prof. J.J. (Jan) Zaanen, physicist at Leiden University. Zaanen made an important contribution to the understanding of the concept of high-temperature superconductivity. This is the phenomenon where the electrical resistance of some materials suddenly disappears at temperatures far above absolute zero.

Absolute top

The NWO/Spinoza Prize, also viewed as the "Dutch Nobel Prize," is awarded to Dutch researchers who rank among the world's top scientists. The laureates are internationally renowned, and know how to inspire young researchers.

This is the twelfth occasion on which the Spinoza Prizes have been awarded. The first occasion was in 1995. The awards are made on the basis of nominations. Those allowed to make nominations are the principals of universities, and the chairs of the departments of Literature and Physics of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Netherlands Society of Technological Sciences and Engineering, the Dutch National Network of Female Professors, and the Social Sciences Council and the NWO Divisional Boards.

The official presentation of the money and the Spinoza statuette will take place on Wednesday, November 29, 2006.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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