Successful scientists have been eligible for a number of prestigious awards, including the Spinoza and Stevin prizes, for quite some time now. But what about appreciation for outstanding lecturers? In her strategic agenda, minister Ingrid van Engelshoven announced yesterday that she also plans to award prizes to lecturer teams at applied sciences and research universities. The total sum of prize money for this Dutch Hogeronderwijspremie is five million euros; 2.5 million for three lecturer teams at universities of applied sciences and an equal sum for three teams at research universities.
The original plan was to award just two prizes worth 2.5 million euros, but this met with opposition from the academic community. Top scientists from the Young Academy, for example, found it “inappropriate” to award such large amounts of prize money to a few individuals or small groups. Especially in a time when higher education is under serious financial pressure.
“We’ve listened to that feedback,” OCW spokesperson Michiel Hendrikx says. “That is why we decided to split the prize money between a larger group of people. It’s also easier to use a sum like that, particularly at smaller institutions.” It was a deliberate choice to award the money to teams. This way, the minister wants to award and encourage collaboration in higher education. The winners can use the money for a project that contributes to innovation and improvement of higher education.
In principle, all nominees are winners. Which team wins which prize will be announced during this year’s online edition of the annual Comenius festival on 1 March. The team from Eindhoven intends to use the money to launch a learning center for educational innovation. Isabelle Reymen, who was awarded a Comenius Research Fellow-grant worth 500,000 euros in June of last year, says that this money was used to recruit two postdocs.
Open-ICT team, University of Applied Sciences Utrecht
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 and Willem de Kooning Academy Rotterdam University of Applies Sciences and Codarts