Descartes-Huygens Prize for 2012 awarded to cell biologists Graça Raposo and Harry Heijnen

18 December 2012

Graça Raposo and Harry Heijnen will receive the Descartes-Huygens Prize on 28 January 2013. They have been awarded the prize for their outstanding research and their contribution to Franco-Dutch relations. The Descartes-Huygens Prize (EUR 23,000 each) is intended to cover the cost of their research residence in the Netherlands and France respectively.

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences awarded the first annual Descartes-Huygens Prize in 1995.

Graça Raposo

Graça Raposo (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France) is internationally renowned for her expertise on exosomes, the tiny organelles that transfer protein and RNA molecules and hence play an important role in intercellular communication. One of her research interests is the use of exosomes in cancer immunotherapy. She collaborates closely with various Dutch research institutions, resulting in a large number of co-authored publications in top international scientific journals, and in her involvement in the Biomembrane PhD programme at Utrecht University. The jury has awarded Dr Raposo the Descartes-Huygens Prize for the excellence of her research, as shown by her outstanding track record and impressive list of publications.

Harry Heijnen

Cell biologist Harry Heijnen (University Medical Centre, Netherlands) is an established international authority on imaging methods for studying organelle endocytosis and biogenesis and intracellular transport. He works with other top Dutch and foreign scientists, including Graça Raposo and other French researchers. His contribution Franco-Dutch collaboration is also evident in his recent part-time appointment to the renowned Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in Strasbourg, France. The jury has awarded Harry Heijnen the 2012 Descartes-Huygens Prize for his laudable research and for his consistently active role in science.

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 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. The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences selects the French candidate for the prize. The Dutch candidate is selected either by the Académie des Sciences or (if the prize is being awarded in the humanities and social sciences) by the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques.

Note for editors

The Descartes-Huygens Prize will be presented at the Trippenhuis Building in Amsterdam on Monday 28 January 2013. For more information, please contact Helena van Oers, Academy Communications Department, +31 20 551 0863, e-mail: .