Alexander Rinnooy Kan, University Professor of Economics and Business at the University of Amsterdam, will be the 2014 recipient of the Academy Medal awarded by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Jury chairperson Pearl Dykstra, Academy Vice-President: ‘There are very few Dutch persons who have devoted themselves to the cause of science with so much passion, persistence and impact as Alexander Rinnooy Kan. He is the ideal go-between for science, politics and society.’ The jury praised his erudition and charisma, and the apparently inexhaustible energy with which he advises and assists many civil society organisations.
About the laureate
Alexander Rinnooy Kan studied mathematics and econometrics. He began his career in 1969 as a research assistant at Leiden University’s Mathematical Institute. In 1980, he was appointed Professor of Operational Research at Erasmus University Rotterdam. In 1983, he became the Director of the Econometric Institute at Erasmus, and in 1986 its Rector Magnificus. In 1991, he became president of the Confederation of Netherlands Industry (VNO, later VNO-NCW). In 1996, he joined the executive board of bank and insurer ING. Before his appointment as University Professor at the University of Amsterdam in 2012, Alexander Rinnooy Kan spent six years as the President of the Netherlands’ Social and Economic Council. He was and is much in demand as a government adviser. For example, he chaired various committees that investigated such wide-ranging subjects as the functioning of the Netherlands’ public broadcasting system and the impending shortage of teachers. Rinnooy Kan was a member of the first Innovation Platform (established 2003), set up to take the Netherlands into the international top five in research, education and innovation. He currently serves in the following capacities: president of the KHMW (the oldest learned society in the Netherlands); chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund; and chairman of a committee that is evaluating the national police force.