Dr. Hendrik Muller Prize for researcher Rien van IJzendoorn

28 June 2013

Rien van IJzendoorn, professor of Education and Child Studies at Leiden University, has been awarded the Dr. Hendrik Muller Prize for Behavioural and Social Sciences by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is receiving the prize, the sum of EUR 25,000, for his entire oeuvre.

Rien van IJzendoorn (born in 1952) studies the influence of parenting on child development. Parents and other educators play a crucial role in the development of children at all ages. Van IJzendoorn and his team have studied children who grow up in extreme circumstances, for example in orphanages. They have gathered compelling evidence that a child’s development depends on its environment. The parents’ job is not finished at conception or birth; children and teens still desperately need their guidance and support. The observational and experimental research conducted by Van IJzendoorn and his team has led to new insights into the complex interaction between genes and the environment. They have direct relevance in such areas as child care and juvenile care.

Van IJzendoorn addresses urgent social issues in his research. His social engagement is obvious from his work on such issues as the impact of adoption, the effect of trauma suffered by Holocaust survivors on their children and grandchildren, the prevalence of child neglect, abuse in juvenile care, and the quality of child care. Van IJzendoorn also always ensures that his research results are available and of practical relevance to politicians, the public and education professionals. For example, he was the co-founder of the Adoption Triad Research Centre (ADOC), a digital research and information centre that studies the effects of adoption and foster care and disseminates the results. His research on the quality of child care and on child abuse led to debates in the Dutch House of Representatives.

Rien van IJzendoorn has made a unique contribution to Dutch and international education research and his work has received praise both in the Netherlands and abroad. He has published more than 280 articles in international journals and there are more than 20,000 citations of his work. His H-index is an impressive 71. He is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences and received a Spinoza Prize in 2004. In 2012, he and a number of other leading Dutch researchers were awarded an NWO Gravitation Award for the Consortium Individual Development, which studies why some children thrive while others do not. Van IJzendoorn received an honorary doctorate from the University of Haifa in 2008. In 2011, he was also awarded the Aristotle Prize by the European Federation of Psychologists’ Associations (EFPA), as well as the Bowlby-Ainsworth Founder Award for his research on attachment. Rien van IJzendoorn has supervised more than fifty graduate students, eight of whom have since been appointed to professorships.

The Academy has awarded the Dr. Hendrik Muller Prize to a leading researcher in the field of behavioural and social sciences every two years since 1991. The prize is funded by the Stichting Dr. Hendrik Muller's Vaderlandsch Fonds. The prize will be presented on Monday 9 December 2013 at the Trippenhuis Building, the Academy’s headquarters. You are cordially invited to attend.