TU/e creates award for its own top researchers

On May 12, during TU/e Research Day, the university won’t just confer an honorary doctorate on three external top scientists, but it will also honor three researchers from within its own ranks. On that day, the university will present the new TU/e Science Awards, worth 15,000 euros, for the first time. The university hopes to turn the award ceremony into an annual event.

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On Thursday May the 12th, TU/e will host its first ever Research Day under the slogan ‘Celebrate Science.’ Guests of honor are three laureates who received an honorary doctorate from TU/e during the university’s lustrum year 2021: Klavs Jensen, Margot Gerritsen and David Mooney.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three honorary doctorate recipients were unable to travel from to US last year to attend the award ceremony, but they will be present this year. “Then we said to ourselves; why not turn that day into a festive event for the entire academic community? It’s important to celebrate science.” And that is how the idea for TU/e Research Day was born, policy officer Rianne Pas says. The university intends to turn the ceremony into an annual event.

Science Awards

Another part of the program that day is the presentation of the TU/e Science Awards (not to be confused with the TU/e Academic Awards). There are three such awards, and they will go to TU/e scientists at three different stages in their careers. Pas: “Our subdivision into a Young researcher award, Groundbreaking researcher award, and Leadership in excellence award is roughly the same subdivision that has been applied with the Veni-, Vidi and Vici grants and ERC grants.”

The Science Award will be presented every year from now on. A rotation system has been devised, so that every department will be eligible for one category each year. In 2022, nominees from one of the university’s three engineering departments (Mechanical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Built Environment) will be eligible for the Young researcher award. The award for Groundbreaking researcher will go to one of the departments within the science field (Applied Physics, Biomedical Engineering, Mathematics & Computer Science, Chemical Engineering & Chemistry), and the Leadership in excellence award will be given to a researcher from the design & management field (Industrial Design, Industrial Engineering & Innovation Sciences).

This division will change in 2023 and 2024, only to start from the beginning again in 2025. Incidentally, Built Environment has a unique position: this department competes in the engineering category in 2022, 2023 and 2024, in the design & management category during the three following years, etcetera.


Every dean gets to nominate a scientist from within his or her own department in the category for which that department is eligible. In addition, the academic directors from the four TU/e research institutes will nominate a scientist for each category. The Eindhoven Young Academy EYAE gets to nominate one additional nominee for the Young researcher award.

The jury is made up of the rector and deans from the departments that don’t compete for the award under consideration. The three winners will be awarded 15,000 euros each, which they can spend on the development of their scientific career.

Impact and leadership

The judges won’t just look at publications and citations, Pas stresses. “We don’t want to ignore new developments such as Recognition and Rewards. That is why we also emphasize factors such as impact and leadership in our criteria.”

The organization also hopes that the TU/e Science Awards will bring hidden gems to the surface, scientists who might not be that well-known outside of their own department, Pas says. “This also allows us to become acquainted with candidates who we as TU/e in turn might one day nominate for (inter)national science awards.”

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