The Academy Medal for 2012 has awarded to Emmo Meijer, Corporate Director Research & Development at FrieslandCampina and part-time professor at Eindhoven University of Technology. The Academy awards the Medal every other year to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of science in the Netherlands.
Dr Emmo Meijer has been a staunch advocate of Dutch science throughout his career. There are few who can match his skill as a mediator between science, business and politics. He has taken this role upon himself in various positions in industry, but also as the chairman of the Chemical Sciences Division of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (the country’s most important research funding body), and as the chairman of the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation. As a key representative of industry, where applied research dominates, Professor Meijer has argued tirelessly in favour of independent research.
In the words of jury chairman Ben Feringa: “Emmo Meijer’s views on the importance of fundamental research make him a welcome participant in political debates concerning science. That is why he has achieved such important results. His efforts have encouraged extra investment in major research facilities and support for cross-border collaboration in key research projects.”
From the jury report: “His outstanding reputation, the important role he plays in stimulating interaction between science and industry, and his efforts to promote science beyond the confines of the research community make Emmo Meijer a worthy recipient of the Academy Medal. In making this award, the Academy is stressing the vital importance of fundamental research for society.”
About the laureate
Emmo Meijer (60) studied Chemistry at VU University Amsterdam and received his doctorate there in 1979. He took a position with DSM that same year, where he worked in various research and business management positions and played a key role in shifting the company’s main focus to the life sciences. Professor Meijer became DSM’s first Chief Technology Officer in 2001. In 2005 he continued his career at Unilever, where he was made responsible for Global Foods R&D and later for company-wide product development. Emmo Meijer is a part-time professor of Biochemistry at Eindhoven University of Technology. He is the director and a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities, chairman of the Top Institute Food and Nutrition, chairman of the AgriFood & Innovation Coordination Group, chairman of the Supervisory Board of Utrecht University, and a member of various Dutch and European organisations that concern themselves with science and innovation. Meijer was the chairman of the Energy Advisory Committee and, until late 2011, of the Netherlands Academy of Technology and Innovation. Since 2003, he has been an honorary member of the Royal Netherlands Chemical Society.
On 1 April 2011, Professor Meijer was appointed Corporate Director Research & Development at dairy company FrieslandCampina.