Press release Ammodo Foundation and Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Eight promising researchers receive Ammodo KNAW Award for fundamental research

15 January 2015

The Ammodo Foundation and the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) have announced the names of eight scientists who are to receive the Ammodo KNAW Award in 2015.
Each of the winners will receive a cash prize of EUR 300,000 to spend on fundamental research. The award ceremony will take place on 11 March 2015.

The Ammodo KNAW Award, which is being presented this year for the first time, was established to encourage unfettered, fundamental scientific research in the Netherlands across the entire scientific spectrum. The Ammodo KNAW Award will be presented every other year to eight internationally recognised researchers in four fields: Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. The Award is intended for researchers who obtained their PhDs in the past fifteen years and who are associated with a Dutch university or research institute.

The eight 2015 winners were selected from 114 nominations. They may use their award in the coming years to explore new avenues of fundamental research. Ammodo and the KNAW hope that the prizes will contribute to the development of such scientific research in the Netherlands by encouraging talented researchers at a crucial stage of their academic careers.


On the recommendation of four advisory committees the KNAW and the Ammodo Foundation will present this year’s Ammodo KNAW Awards to the following eight laureates.

Biomedical Sciences

Thijn Brummelkamp, group leader on biomedical genetics, Netherlands Cancer Institute, the research institute of Antoni van Leeuwenhoek. Brummelkamp (1975) developed techniques to enable the suppression of individual genes in human cells. This allows researchers to uncover why cancer cells become resistant to drugs and how viruses invade our cells.

Caroline Klaver, professor of epidemiology and the genetics of eye diseases, Erasmus MC, Rotterdam. Klaver (1967) is leading a large-scale international study of the genetic and environmental factors that affect the development of eye disorders, from myopia to age-related eye conditions. Myopia for example appears to be strongly hereditary, but a person’s lifestyle – such as playing outside more than reading – affects the inherited risk.


Barteld Kooi, professor by special appointment of logic, University of Groningen. Kooi (1976) is an authority in the field of ‘dynamic epistemic logic’ and focuses on the analysis of changing knowledge. What do we know? How is knowledge shared? How does that affect decisions? What fundamental laws are shared by both card games and complex information systems?

Asifa Majid, professor of language, communication and cultural cognition, Radboud University Nijmegen. Majid (1974) conducts multidisciplinary linguistic and cognitive research into the interactions between our senses, our brains and our language. Why do we have words for colours but not for fragrances? And is this determined biologically or culturally?

Natural Sciences

Arwen Deuss, associate professor of seismology, Utrecht University. Deuss (1975) was the first person in the world to capture seismic vibrations which went through the very core of the earth. Now she combines knowledge from seismology, mineralogy and geochemistry to determine how this ‘planet inside our planet’ is built. What can we discover about the earth’s core on the actual surface of the earth?

Ronald Hanson, Antoni van Leeuwenhoek Professor of Quantum Physics, Delft University of Technology. Hanson (born 1976) revisits old dogmas and Einstein's world view. By manipulating individual atoms and electrons, he manages to break through old barriers – for example, he was the first person in the world to communicate information between computer chips without displacement of matter or light. Does his teleportation bring us closer to the quantum computer?

Social Sciences

Serge Dumoulin, professor of experimental psychology at Utrecht University. Dumoulin (1973) combines insights in the field of psychology, perception and cognition. He discovered a region of the human brain in which increasing numbers are represented spatially. His research has also led to new insights on the plasticity of our brains: do they adapt during development on a larger or smaller scale?

Frank van Tubergen, professor of theoretical and empirical sociology, Utrecht University. Van Tubergen (1976) works in politically sensitive areas of society: migration, integration, discrimination, religion and economic inequality. As a sociologist, he is searching for the facts and the underlying mechanisms of such issues, for example through large international projects which follow the lives of migrants for significant periods of time.

More information

KNAW Communication Department
Marja van der Putten
+ 31 20 551 0858 / + 31 6  1315  0837

About Ammodo

Ammodo promotes the arts and the sciences, focusing on projects which aim to achieve high international standards. In the arts Ammodo supports projects that contribute to the development of both visual and performing arts. In the sciences Ammodo stimulates unfettered fundamental scientific research through the Ammodo KNAW Award. Ammodo is a public welfare institution. For more information, please see

About the KNAW

The Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences (KNAW), has three main roles. Firstly, the Academy is an active association of outstanding scientists; secondly, as a wholly independent institution it serves the interest of science and advises the government.; thirdly, it is responsible for seventeen (inter)nationally renowned research institutes in the fields of humanities, social sciences, life sciences and social debate.