Young Academy selects ten new members

25 November 2015

Every year the Young Academy selects ten talented new researchers to add to its ranks. The Young Academy is part of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. It is an independent platform of leading young researchers that organises activities focusing on interdisciplinarity, science policy, the interface between science and society, and internationalisation.

In addition to their proven research excellence, members of the Young Academy take a broad interest in science and in science communication. Membership is for a five-year period. The latest group of new members will be inducted on 29 March 2016 during an official ceremony held in the Royal Academy’s Trippenhuis Building in Amsterdam.

The ten new members of the Young Academy are:

Dr Pieter Bruijnincx (Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Utrecht University)
Pieter Bruijnincx (born in 1979) is working on the development of catalysts and synthesis routes for the production of ‘green’ chemical building blocks from biomass. Such building blocks are vital to efforts to make the chemicals industry more sustainable. In his work on this socially relevant issue, he has joined forces with industry partners and combines basic and applied research. Bruijnincx is active in outreach programmes and has developed a teaching module for secondary school pupils focusing on biomass conversion and catalysis.

Prof. Belle Derks (Social and Organisational Psychology, Utrecht University)
Belle Derks (born in 1979) has developed an innovative line of research at the interface of social psychology and neuroscience. Her study of the unconscious effects of discrimination and stereotyping on women’s and minorities’ motivation and performance is highly relevant, and her findings make it possible to develop a coherent organisational policy of gender and ethnic diversity. Derks is also an internationally acknowledged expert on the phenomenon known as the ‘Queen Bee syndrome’, whereby a woman in a position of authority opposes attempts by female subordinates to advance their careers.

Dr Tatiana Filatova (Environmental Economy, University of Twente)
Tatiana Filatova (born in 1981) uses computer simulations to explore the relationship between economics and climate change science. She studies the economic behaviour of individuals when confronted with the risks of climate change. A better understanding of human decision-making is needed to transform a policy on paper into a real willingness to change behaviour. Filatova, who has developed her own line of research, is eager to share academic knowledge with the general public and to help improve the position of young scientists.

Dr Jason Hessels (Astrophysics, University of Amsterdam and ASTRON)
Jason Hessels (born in 1979) would like to usher young people and old into the world of basic research, in his case radio astronomy. His main research focus is pulsars, neutron stars that, like a cosmic lighthouse, emit regularly spaced pulses of electromagnetic radiation. His discoveries – including the fastest-spinning, and densest, neutron star ever found – have had a major impact on astronomy, nuclear physics and theoretical physics. Hessels enjoys talking to schoolchildren and the public about his work. He is the inventor of the ‘DIY pulsar’, a construction kit that teaches kids about pulsar rotation and magnetic fields.

Dr Alexandru Iosup (Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science, Delft University of Technology)
Alexandru Iosup (born in 1980) is an international pioneer in ‘distributed systems’. Computer systems and, specifically, their software consist of different components that can operate concurrently and in widely dispersed physical locations. His research is crucial for such emerging fields as cloud computing and popular internet applications like e-Science and online gaming, as well as for the future of large-scale or gamification-based teaching. Iosup is an advocate of open access and devotes much of his time to supervising talented young researchers.

Dr Liesbeth van Rossum (Internal Medicine/Endocrinology, Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam)
Physician and researcher Liesbeth van Rossum (born in 1975) is a major talent in her field. She has set up her own line of research into stress hormones and their relationship to stress-related disorders such as obesity and depression. Her discovery that hair analysis provides an accurate measure of stress hormone levels has opened up new avenues of interdisciplinary research. She also founded the Healthy Weight Centre, which is dedicated to developing innovative and personalised treatments for obesity. Her research interests are informed by the needs that present themselves to her in patient care.

Dr Rens van de Schoot (Methods and Statistics, Utrecht University)
A researcher with a passion for applied statistics, Rens van de Schoot (born in 1979) naturally seeks to collaborate with scientists in other disciplines. The aim that drives his work forward is to develop methods incorporating expert knowledge (for example the opinions of physicians, nurses, or teachers) into data analyses in order to prove or disprove hypotheses with greater certainty than is possible based on data alone. For example, a teacher’s familiarity with her pupil’s abilities can be set off against the pupil’s test result. Van de Schoot emphasises transparency and scientific integrity in his work with young researchers.

Dr Stefan van der Stigchel (Experimental Psychology, Utrecht University)
Stefan van der Stigchel (born in 1980) regularly engages in public and media discourses about science policy as a representative of young researchers. He is fascinated by issues at the interface between science and society. Van der Stigchel is a multitalented researcher who explores both fundamental questions about the unconscious determinants of behaviour and attention in people with brain damage. He obtains results by combining data from different disciplines, including experimental psychology and neuropsychology.

Dr Behnam Taebi (Philosophy of Technology, Delft University of Technology)
The most important achievement of Behnam Taebi (born in 1977) so far has been the development of a new area of research: Ethics of Nuclear Energy. His aim is to bring together the practical potential of engineering and the ethics of nuclear energy production and nuclear waste storage. Taebi studied Material Science and Engineering as well as Philosophy. He was a visiting PhD student at MIT and is currently spending a year at Harvard as a Research Fellow. He has built a vast international network. Taebi gives public lectures and is involved in master classes for Dutch MPs on technology and ethics.

Dr Christiaan Vinkers (Psychiatry, University Medical Centre Utrecht/Utrecht University)
Christiaan Vinkers (born in 1980) studied Pharmacy, Law and Medicine, making him truly multitalented. In addition to his work as a clinical psychiatrist at UMC Utrecht, he also heads a productive line of research focusing on the factors that influence the brain’s stress vulnerability and resilience. For example, he has demonstrated that stress can increase the risk of psychiatric and other disorders and identified biological factors that play a role. Vinkers is eager to make science accessible to the general public and has set up the Dutch website to explore topics in which psychiatry plays a role.

For more information

Marja van der Putten, Academy Communication Department, +31 6 1315 0837,