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The Academy believes that awards are a valuable way of honouring outstanding scientists and scholars. They also help to spotlight specific areas of research. Another method of encouraging research excellence is to award funding. This is not one of the Academy's core activities, however.
The Academy awards a large number of scientific and scholarly honours. The most prestigious among these are the biennial Heineken Prizes, which are awarded to internationally renowned scientists and scholars. In 2010, the existing Heineken Prizes were extended by a new prize, honouring young researchers: the Heineken Young Scientists Awards.
Other internationally recognised awards are the Merian Prize for women in science, the Academy Professor Prize, and the Academy Education Prize, awarded for the best subject cluster project by a Dutch secondary school pupil. Every other year, the Academy awards the Academy Medal to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of science in the broadest sense of the word.
In addition to its own major awards, the Academy also confers some twenty other prizes for science and scholarship. It does so at the request of external parties who make or have made the necessary funds available. One of the Academy’s main asks is to assemble and oversee juries from among its members and The Young Academy. The jury members must have a thorough knowledge of the discipline involved and be able to arrive at sound decisions based on transparent scientific or scholarly criteria. They must adhere to the Academy’s code of conduct for funding and awards. Award ceremonies are usually held at the Academy’s Trippenhuis Building in Amsterdam.
The Academy manages funding programmes on behalf of the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science supporting research collaboration with China and Indonesia. It also makes various grants available to members and external parties, for example to assist the organisers of international conferences, to enable exchanges, and to organise colloquia in the Netherlands.
The Academy has drawn up a code of conduct for the award of Academy grants, funding and prizes. The purpose of the code is to ensure transparency and avoid conflicts of interest.
The Academy confers a number of important scientific and scholarly honours. In addition to awarding its own distinctions, such as the Academy Medal and the Academy Education Prize, it also assembles juries and organises award ceremonies for various honours, for example the Heineken Prizes.
In addition to the funding programmes focusing on China and Indonesia, the Academy also administers various other funding schemes for members and external parties.