First KNAW Merian Prize awarded to psychologist Naomi Ellemers

10 October 2011

(Joint press release by Royal Academy and SNS REAAL Fund) The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has awarded the first KNAW Merian Prize for women in science to Prof. Naomi Ellemers.

Ellemers, professor of Social Psychology of Organisations at Leiden University, received the prize for her outstanding research and her active role in promoting equal opportunities for women in science.

The prize, made possible by the SNS REAAL Fund, consists of a sum of EUR 50,000 and a specially designed ornament. The prize will be presented on Tuesday 26 January 2010 at the Trippenhuis Building in Amsterdam.
>The jury received a total of 68 nominations for the first KNAW Merian Prize and was deeply impressed by the quality of the nominees. 'Naomi Ellemers is a very dedicated scientist,' wrote the jury in its rapport. 'Her outstanding achievements as a scientist and her high-profile role in scientific associations and committees means that she is an important role model for young scientists in general and for female researchers in particular. Ellemers actively promotes equal opportunities for women in science.'
>Foto: Charlotte MarresNaomi Ellemers (born 1963) graduated cum laude from Groningen University, where she also obtained her doctorate, once again cum laude. She continued her career in science at VU University Amsterdam. In 1999, she was appointed professor at Leiden University, where she now studies the effects of status differences between groups, diversity in organisations, and commitment and effort in teams. She is particularly interested in the importance of social identity for motivation (in particular work motivation), performance and innovation in work teams. Other significant research themes are the importance of social identity for minority groups and discrimination in the labour market. In 2008, Ellemers received the European Kurt Lewin Award for her work. She is regarded as a highly productive and influential researcher in her field.

The prize

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences, supported by the SNS REAAL Fund, established the KNAW Merian Prize in spring 2009 in order to draw attention to women scientists and encourage more women to pursue careers in science in the Netherlands. The Academy presents the KNAW Merian Prize every two years to a female scientist working in the Netherlands who has performed outstanding research in the social sciences/humanities (2009) or the natural sciences (2011).
>The prize consists of EUR 50,000, to be used for scientific purposes. In addition, the laureate receives a special ornament designed by artist Aimee Rhemrev.
>The prize is named after Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717), a German naturalist and illustrator who studied plants and insects and made detailed paintings and sketches of her discoveries. Her work made an important contribution to entomology and features regularly in art and science exhibitions around the world.

For the editors

For more information and a photograph of the laureate, please contact:
>Annemarie Zegers, Communication Department,<a>, +31 20 551 0820
>Marja van der Putten, Communication Department,<a>, +31 20 551 0858
>For more information about the KNAW Merian Prize, please see
the prize webpage.
>For more information about the SNS REAAL Fund, please contact Bert Krooshof, Communication Department,, +31 30 233 7606.