Royal Academy selects 22 members

12 May 2022

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has elected 22 new members, including three foreign members. Academy members, leading researchers from across all the disciplines, are selected for their scientific and scholarly achievements. The Academy has about 600 members. Members are appointed for life. The new members will be installed on Monday 12 September 2022.

New members

Maaike van Berkel (1970)

Professor of Medieval History, Radboud University

Maaike van Berkel is one of the leading medievalists of her generation. She researches the social and cultural history of the medieval Middle East, especially power relations, administration and urban culture. Van Berkel gained international authority as a result of the way in which she bridged the gap between Western and Middle Eastern medievalism. Her most recent research project is distinctly interdisciplinary and topical. It focuses on the ways in which administrators in the drought-stricken medieval Middle East managed to provide their citizens with sufficient water. Also as a lecturer, Van Berkel ensures a systematic integration of non-western perspectives in the bachelor and master programmes at the RU. 

Daniel Bonn (1967)

Professor of Complex Fluids, University of Amsterdam

Daniel Bonn played a revolutionary role in the research of complex liquids such as blood, shampoo or oil. Thanks to his efforts, the fundamental physics behind the transition of these types of substances from solid to liquid or vice versa is now better understood. This also promotes the understanding of the instability of blood in veins or oil in pipelines. Bonn is also a pioneer in studying the interaction between liquids and solids. His work has great practical relevance. He therefore shares his insights with industrial partners and cooperates with medical researchers on, for instance, the aerosolization of the COVID-19 virus. Blood spatter analysis in forensic investigations and a more environmentally friendly way of spraying pesticides are also applications of his work. 

Kees van den Bos (1965)

Professor of Social Psychology and Professor of Empirical Law, Utrecht University

Kees van den Bos investigates social conflicts in our democratic constitutional state. To this end, he examines fundamental questions about the experience of justice and injustice, uncertainty and trust. In doing so, he integrates social psychology with empirical law research. Insights arising from his fundamental research are applied in important social contexts. For example, it appears that when people are treated fairly this increases their confidence in the democratic rule of law. Conversely, perceived injustice fuels various forms of radicalisation. Van den Bos actively intervenes in the public debate and contributes as an advisor and teacher to the understanding and prevention of radicalisation and polarisation during the COVID-19 pandemic and other circumstances.  

Teun Bousema (1977)

Professor of Medical Microbiology, Radboud UMC

Teun Bousema is dedicated to better understanding the spread of tropical infectious diseases such as malaria. Through years of field research in, for instance, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, he was able to show that most malaria infections are caused by patients who themselves have no symptoms and that malaria patients remain infectious for weeks after they have been treated. To address these problems, Bousema set up a successful study with drugs specifically designed to block infection. Bousema is also very active outside his field. For example, he co-produced a play about academic integrity and helps research institutes and science funders to make their work processes more sustainable. 

Annelien Bredenoord (1979)

Professor of Ethics of Technology, Erasmus University Rotterdam

Annelien Bredenoord is an international pioneer in the ethical assessment of new biomedical technology. Together with her team, she has developed an interdisciplinary method for the responsible introduction of biomedical innovations into healthcare and society: ethical parallel research. A special feature of this method is that the ethical evaluation does not take place subsequently, but rather proactively, before or during the development of the technology. Bredenoord not only has frequently cited scientific publications to her name, but has also given international policy advice on genetic and reproductive technology. She is active in the Dutch media on ethical dilemmas. Since 2021, she has been rector magnificus of the EUR, and she is also politically active, as D66's parliamentary group leader in the Dutch Senate. 

Bart Bronnenberg (1963)

Professor of Quantitative Marketing, Tilburg University 

Bart Bronnenberg has made his mark on the international marketing literature in three areas: convenience as a factor in consumer purchasing behaviour, the formation of preferences, and online search behaviour. He showed, for example, that once formed, brand preferences among consumers are very durable. For entrepreneurs, this means that entering the market early with a new product pays off. Brands that introduce an innovation later have to do more to win over the favour of buyers. He is currently working on consumer issues regarding the transition to sustainable food, and how the availability or lack of time influences consumer decisions. Bronnenberg's international reputation is evident from, for instance, his appointments as associate editor and co-editor of the prominent journals in his field: Journal of Marketing Research, Marketing Science and Quantitative Marketing and Economics.  

Lucas Brunsveld (1975)

Professor of Chemical Biology, Eindhoven University of Technology

Luc Brunsveld has developed a unique method to study and manipulate protein complexes as compound units. His strength is that he connects synthetic and supramolecular chemistry and knows how to translate them into applications for current biomedical challenges. His work ranges from fundamental biophysics and mathematical concepts to the discovery of new drugs. Brunsveld is co-founder of an innovative biotechnology startup: Ambagon Therapeutics in Eindhoven and San Francisco. Based on groundbreaking scientific knowledge of protein interactions, the company is developing a new class of drugs to fight cancer and other diseases. The highly promising molecular concept enables the development of a completely new class of drugs. As such Brunsveld is a true valorisation researcher. 

Maghiel van Crevel (1963)

Professor of Chinese Language and Literature, Leiden University

Maghiel van Crevel is a sinologist who works at the interface of literary studies, anthropology, and translation studies. His research focuses on poetry in the People's Republic of China. Through ethnographic fieldwork, he especially studies an influential 'unofficial' poetry culture that steers clear of government restrictions. This gives voice to elitist avant-garde authors but also to labour migrants who tell tales of hardship and woe. At Leiden University Libraries, Van Crevel has built a unique collection of these unofficial publications that is accessible online. In China, poetry emerges at the intersection of politics, aesthetics, and society. Van Crevel is internationally known for his pioneering work in exploring this complex force field. 

Roberta Croce (1968)

Professor of Biophysics of Photosynthesis, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Roberta Croce's work is of great significance for a better understanding of photosynthesis, the process by which plants, algae and bacteria use sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into biomass. Croce studies at molecular level how organisms optimise this process in different environmental conditions and protect themselves against damage from various forms of abiotic stress. This fundamental knowledge is of great importance for improving food crops to adapt to a changing climate. Photosynthesis in plants is also a source of inspiration for human use of solar energy. Croce enjoys international recognition and attracts talent from all over the world. She has mentored young scientists from twenty different countries. 

Catarina Dutilh Novaes (1976)

Professor of Reasoning and Argumentation, and their history, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Catarina Dutilh Novaes’ main areas of work are argumentation and cognition & reasoning. In these fields, she has published an extensive oeuvre that excels in originality, insight, elegance and the ingenuity with which she connects different domains and interweaves historical, conceptual, cognitive and empirical themes. Her research on argumentation contributes to the social debate on topics such as vaccination, gender and race. Dutilh Novaes is not only innovative in her research. As the programme director of the humanities research master's at the VU University Amsterdam, she has also reformed education, in particular by creating more space for interdisciplinary approaches to humanities research. As a result, this programme is a driver for innovation in education at the VU. 

Marc Geers (1964)

Professor of Mechanics of Materials, Eindhoven University of Technology

Marc Geers studies the mechanics of various materials such as metals, composites, ceramics, paper and metamaterials. He investigates at a fundamental theoretical level the relationship between structure and properties, uses advanced numerical methods to better understand mechanics, damage and fracture, and has developed new measurement and testing methods to characterise materials. The social relevance of Geers' work is underlined by the fact that it is almost entirely rooted in industrial problems, while being of the highest scientific level. To properly train new generations of materials scientists, Geers took the initiative to set up a unique Multi-Scale lab. Here, students can learn to test, measure, experiment and model on force scales from kilonewtons to nanonewtons using state-of-the-art equipment. 

Marieke de Goede (1971)

Professor of Political Science and Politics of Security Cultures, University of Amsterdam

Marieke de Goede is a prominent researcher at the interface of social sciences and humanities, with a focus on the use of financial data for security practices. She published innovative research on the financing of terrorist activities and the practices and legislation for blocking these money flows. For this purpose, she managed to gain access to banks, financial intelligence services and judicial organisations. To shed new light on the politics and infrastructure of financial security, she used original theorising that combines critical security studies with science and technology studies. De Goede inspires colleagues, PhD candidates and students with her sharp insights and intellectual openness. As a member of the board of debate centre SPUI25, she stimulated debate between scientists and the general public. Since 2022, De Goede has been dean of the Faculty of Humanities at the University of Amsterdam, where she wishes to contribute to a safe, equal and diverse working and study environment. 

Paulien Herder (1971)

Professor of Engineering Systems Design, Delft University of Technology

Paulien Herder's merits lie at the interface of engineering sciences and research into the socio-economic impact of technology and policy for responsible and efficient implementation. She has an excellent scientific reputation, including a significant contribution to socio-technical knowledge on the development and integration of energy infrastructures and large-scale energy storage. In addition, Herder has a great talent for connecting people from different backgrounds – both disciplinary and social – and inspiring them to work together successfully. For example, she is Captain of Science of the Top Sector Energy and is a board member of the growth fund programme GroenvermogenNL, the largest innovation programme ever in the Netherlands for sustainable hydrogen and chemicals. 

Elly Hol (1966)

Professor of Glia Biology of Brain Diseases, UMC Utrecht

Elly Hol belongs to the still small but expanding group of neuroscientists who focus on the biology of glia. These are non-neural cells that play a crucial role in keeping our brain healthy. They act as stem cells and immune systems, but can also be derailed. Hol has published a number of frequently cited articles, in which she reveals a correlation between certain proteins in the human brain and glial cells that play a role in the development of brain tumours and diseases such as Alzheimer's and epilepsy. Hol is an important source of inspiration for young researchers, including through the national glia network led by her and through personal mentorships for young female researchers. 

Maria Antonietta Loi (1973)

Professor of Photophysics and Optoelectronics, University of Groningen

Maria Antonietta Loi holds two world records: that of the best performing solar cell created with quantum dots and made using Sn-based perovskites. Loi has the perfect combination of creativity, vision and transdisciplinary knowledge required to create the solar cell of the future. By exposing physical principles and manipulating materials down to the nanoscale, she translates fundamental physics into concepts that can be used for the energy transition. Her work has yielded patents, start-ups and close cooperation with industry. Loi is also a passionate and knowledgeable educator. Her PhD students invariably complete their PhDs within the nominal four years and her postdocs find excellent positions. 

Amade M'charek (1971)

Professor of Anthropology of Science, University of Amsterdam

Amade M'charek researches the relationship between science and society, with a special focus on genetics and genetic diversity. In her field, she has gained international recognition for her innovative and out-of-the box approach to genetics and forensic research, as well as to issues of diversity and 'race'. She does not view the concept of race as a cultural-political idea, but explores it as a practice that is given shape in different contexts such as laboratories, forensic research and health care. Inspired by the forensic method, M'charek has developed a new line of research into the ‘border deaths’ that wash up on the shores of Europe and Africa. By considering how the bodies got there, she examines migration and death in relation to life and livelihoods. In doing so, she focuses on post-colonial practices such as phosphate mining, sea sponge fishing, tomato cultivation, the role of water and industrial waste disposal. M'charek's work features regularly in national and international media, and her voice can often be heard in the public debate as a columnist and speaker. 

Dirk Slotboom (1971)

Professor of Structural Membrane Biology, University of Groningen

Dirk Slotboom specialises in explaining and manipulating membrane transport in bacteria and mammalian cells. He established his reputation by discovering a new displacement mechanism, with one protein component distorting the membrane, allowing a second protein in the membrane to tilt, thus bringing in a substance from outside the cell. In his work, he combines biochemical, biophysical and microbiological methods, but Slotboom's interests extend far beyond his own field. Together with synthetic chemists, he is attempting to develop substances that can inhibit membrane transport and, ultimately, possibly serve as antibiotics. He is an outstanding, multiple award-winning lecturer and one of the architects of an entirely new multidisciplinary curriculum for the Life Science and Technology programme at the RUG. The programme meets a great need among both students and employers.

Sonja Smets (1971)

Professor of Logic and Epistemology, University of Amsterdam

Sonja Smets is one of the most influential philosophers in the Netherlands. Her field of work is information dynamics, which includes both traditional and quantum information. It focuses on how people and machines revise their knowledge and convictions in response to new information. A topical theme that is relevant to contemporary epistemology, computer science and society as a whole. Smets broadened the focus of information dynamics. Not only individuals, but also groups are now being studied so that ‘herd behaviour’ can be better understood. Smets seeks to connect to logic, probability theory, theories of learning processes, social epistemology and game theory. As former director of the Amsterdam Institute for Logic, Language and Computation, she linked fundamental to applied research and developed outreach programmes for secondary schools. 

Jolanda de Vries  (1968)

Professor of Translational Tumour Immunology, Radboud UMC

Jolanda de Vries is committed to applying insights from fundamental biomedical research to patient care. She made an important contribution to a still experimental method of treatment in which cells from a patient's immune system are activated to fight cancer (immunotherapy). De Vries is a much sought-after speaker, she has set up exchange programmes for young scientists and has an excellent international network. This has enabled her to assemble a strong and diverse team around her, from which much is expected. 

Stephanie Wehner (1977)

Professor of Quantum Information, Delft University of Technology

Stephanie Wehner started out as a hacker, and now occupies a world-leading position with her pioneering research and inspiring vision of a future quantum internet. This type of internet uses quantum effects such as entanglement and non-local interactions to bring about new, secure and rapid forms of communication. By linking disciplines such as fundamental physics and computer science, Wehner has reshaped the field of quantum information. She leads European research on a quantum internet, initiated a successful interdisciplinary conference and set up an interdisciplinary education programme. Wehner disseminates her vision enthusiastically via (TEDx) lectures and interviews with international media. 

Foreign members 

Cas Mudde (1967)

Professor of Political Science, School of Public and International Affairs, University of Georgia (USA)

Cas Mudde is one of the most authoritative Dutch political scientists working abroad. His field of expertise is research into extremism, populism and political parties. He published several influential books, including Populist Radical Right Parties in Europe, which won numerous awards. Mudde initiated a reassessment of the concepts of populism and the radical right. He no longer sees the radical right as fundamentally opposed to the values of liberal democracy, but as radically interpreting some of its core values. Mudde is committed to bringing together global expertise on extremism. He was co-founder of the Standing Group on Extremism & Democracy within the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).

Sjors Scheres (1975)

Head of the Structural Studies division, MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology, Cambridge (UK)

Sjors Scheres is a rapidly rising star in structural biology. He made a name for himself by capturing the three-dimensional structure of protein complexes down to the atomic scale. A revolutionary milestone, for which Scheres used cryo-electron microscopy. This involves freezing biological material frozen so fast that its structure remains clearly visible under the microscope. Scheres developed an algorithm to process the images obtained. Most structural biologists are now using cryo-electron microscopy, as well as the software developed by Scheres. A better understanding of proteins is indirectly important for human health. Proteins are called the workhorses of living cells; they are crucial for keeping cells alive.