Descartes-Huygens Prize for historian and economist

20 December 2016

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) today announced the names of the two recipients of the Descartes-Huygens Prize 2016: Dutch maritime historian Louis Sicking and French behavioural economist Olivier l’Haridon.

They have been awarded the prize for their outstanding research and their contribution to Franco-Dutch relations. The € 23,000 prize will allow the Dutch historian to work in France as a guest researcher and the French economist to conduct research in the Netherlands.

Louis Sicking

Louis Sicking (born in 1966) has been a university lecturer in medieval and early modern history at Leiden University since 2001. He also holds an endowed chair in the History of Public International Law at VU University Amsterdam, a position to which he was appointed in 2013. Taking the Netherlands as his point of departure, Sicking analyses and compares the maritime history of nations on the Atlantic side of northwest Europe by studying such diverse areas as shipping technology, ship-building, naval warfare and maritime economics.

The jury praised Sicking’s impressive body of work, his broad historical outlook, his outstanding knowledge of the languages, documents and archives of west and northwest Europe, and his ability to bring people together. The Descartes-Huygens Prize will allow Sicking to devote more time to his study of maritime conflicts between 1200 and 1600. He is already planning a series of seminars at the universities of La Rochelle, Bordeaux, Paris IV, Rouen and Montpellier.

Olivier l’Haridon

Olivier l’Haridon (born in 1972) is professor of Economics at the University of Rennes in Brittany, France. L'Haridon is a behavioural economist. He combines labour economics and decision theory with research on experimental economics. l'Haridon is currently studying the perceptions of costs and effects of interventions in the health care system.

The jury is impressed by l'Haridon’s prestigious publications and his long and ongoing cooperation with Dutch researchers and PhD and Master’s students. The Descartes-Huygens Prize will allow l'Haridon to continue his close cooperation with Erasmus University for the next ten months. That cooperation could lead to new nudge techniques and digital tools that will help people take decisions in uncertain and changing circumstances.

About the Descartes-Huygens Prize

The French and Dutch governments established the Descartes-Huygens Prize in 1995 to recognise researchers for their outstanding work and their contribution to Franco-Dutch relations. The prize is awarded on a rotating basis to researchers in the humanities and social sciences, the natural sciences, and the life sciences. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences selects the French candidate for the prize. The Dutch candidate is selected by the Académie des Sciences. The prize money, EUR 23,000 each, is intended to cover the cost of a French researcher’s research residence in the Netherlands, and a Dutch researcher’s research residence in France.