Spinoza Prize gains counterpart for applied research

Starting next year, scientists will have the chance to win the Stevin Prize for applied research. Like the Spinoza Prize, this latest prize is worth 2.5 million euros.

The Stevin Prize for the valorization of scientific research will be awarded by NWO, which also awards the existing Spinoza Prizes. “With this prize we are rewarding not only scientific quality but also the valorization of science,” said the outgoing State Secretary Sander Dekker (OCW).

The purse the winners will receive is intended for “further research and its related knowledge transfer,” announced NWO in a press release. As is the case for the Spinoza Prize, scientists can be nominated for this new prize.

Awards known as the Simon Stevin Master Prizes have been around since 1998. While a Simon Stevin Master Prize was somewhat comparable to the newly announced Stevin Prize, it was not open to all scientific fields. With the new prize, this will change.

Last week the final Simon Stevin Master Prize, with a cash award of half a million euros, was awarded to Leiden's Professor Andrew Webb, who works on improving MRI techniques. These old prizes will disappear, NWO has confirmed.

Simon Stevin (1548-1620) was a mathematician, physicist, and engineer. He is probably best known to the general public for his land yacht, a vehicle much like a sailboat but for use on sand.

Now that there is a lively debate about English in higher education, it is perhaps interesting to note that Stevin enriched the Dutch language with scientific words such as wiskunde (the knowledge of what is certain) for math, wijsbegeerte (love of wisdom) for philosophy, evenaar (to make equal) for equator and midellijn (middle line) for diameter. He believed the Dutch language was better suited for the transfer of knowledge than, say, Latin.

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