Patti Valkenburg, professor of Youth and Media at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), received the Dr. Hendrik Muller Prize for Behavioural and Social Sciences from the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences on 12 September 2011. The prize consists of a sum of EUR 25,000.
Valkenburg has developed her own field of study, namely the use and influence of media on children and young people. She has developed theories to understand, for example, the effects of media on children's imaginations, and devised a model to explain what media preferences children of different ages have. Her ideas have been an important starting point in developing the Kijkwijzer (the classification system for film, programmes and video games in the Netherlands). Her research explores how a child deals with social media, and what influence genetic predisposition and the environment within and outside the family have on this. Valkenburg is one of the leading figures in this field of study: she is the most cited European researcher in her field, has received numerous prizes, and plays an important role in the relevant international organisations.
Prof. Valkenburg (born 1958) began her academic career late on in life – she started studying when she was 30 – but then rapidly scaled the heights of academia. Since obtaining her doctorate in 1995, her research has been continuously funded by the Academy, the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO), and the European Research Council. Valkenburg has been Professor of Youth and Media at the UvA’s department of Communication Science since 1998, and she is the founder and scientific director of the Center for Research on Children, Adolescents and the Media, one of the largest of its kind in the world. Earlier this year she was appointed the first Distinguished Research Professor at the UvA’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. Valkenburg was also appointed a member of the Academy this year.
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 to Valkenburg in a special ceremony, which will take place on Monday 12 September 2011 at the Trippenhuis Building, the Academy’s headquarters. You are cordially invited to attend.