Descartes-Huygens Prize to two nanoscientists

14 December 2017

The Dutch chemist Daniël Vanmaekelbergh and the French physicist Manuel Bibes will receive the Descartes-Huygens Prize 2017. That was announced today by the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Embassy of France in the Netherlands and the Académie des Sciences. The two nanoscientists have been awarded the prize for their outstanding research and their contribution to Franco-Dutch relations. 

The € 23,000 prize will allow the Dutch chemist to work in France as a guest researcher and the French physicist to conduct research in the Netherlands.

Daniël Vanmaekelbergh

Daniël Vanmaekelbergh (born in 1958 in Belgium) is professor at Utrecht University where he holds a chair in Condensed Matter and Interfaces at the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science. He is the author of about 250 research articles in top international journals. He has received several large European and Dutch research grants, among them an ERC Advanced Grant for his research in the field of solid state physics and chemistry. Vanmaekelbergh will use the Descartes-Huygens prize to intensify his collaborations with the Institute of Electronics, Microelectronics and Nanotechnology (IEMN) in Lille, the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility laboratory (ESRF) in Grenoble, the ESPCI (Ecole supérieure de physique et de chimie industrielles) in Paris, the Néel Institut, CNRS Grenoble, and the LCPO group, University of Bordeaux. One of the objectives of these collaborations is to prepare semiconductors with Dirac-type band structure by nanocrystal assembly (Utrecht) or by nanolithography (Lille, Bordeaux).  

Manuel Bibes

Photo: Fabienne Issot-Sergent, Thales Research and Technology

Manuel Bibes (born 1976) works in materials science and studies metal oxides. He is a research director at Unité Mixte de Physique, a partnership between electronics firm Thales and CNRS, the French government organisation for basic research. Bibes is known for his research on oxide thin films and their use in spintronics. Although relatively young, he is already one of the top researchers in his field. He has been issued several patents, publishes regularly in top journals, and has received an ERC Consolidator grant and other awards. Bibes will use his Descartes-Huygens Prize to spend three months conducting research at the Center for Cognitive Systems and Materials at the University Groningen. He will also visit the nanolaboratories at the University of Twente. The three organisations aim to combine their expertise to develop low-power electronics. 

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 KNAW selects the French candidate. The Dutch candidate is selected by the Académie des Sciences. The prize money, € 23,000, is intended to cover the cost of a French researcher’s residence in the Netherlands and a Dutch researcher’s residence in France. The awards ceremony will take place in early 2018 in Paris.