Societal Impact Award

The Societal Impact Awards spotlight research being carried out at VU University Amsterdam that has an impact on society. The Junior Societal Impact Award is for a PhD candidate who has completed a PhD dissertation at VU University Amsterdam within the last year which could have a potentially significant impact on society. The Senior Societal Impact Award is presented to a researcher at VU University Amsterdam who has had a longer career and spent several years working on research with a significant societal impact. The awards are presented by the Rector at the annual Dies Natalis celebration.

Winners Senior Societal Impact Awards

 The research of Pim Cuijpers focuses on the treatment and prevention of psychological disorders. He researches mainly the possibilities of the use of internet, self help books en television to treat and prevent depressions. He developed the training ‘In de put, uit de put’ to decrease mood disorders. Moreover, Pim Cuijpers contributes to the direction of the treatment to the right target group. To date 100.000 people have used his therapy.  FGB 
 Jelle Jolles is neuropsychologist and neuroscientist and has established an active and continuing dialogue between brain sciencists and society. He raises awareness in a number of societal organizations in the Netherlands about the role of the brain and neuropsychological processes in relation to the development of children and juveniles. These insights can play a big part in education innovations which stimulate optimal development of children’s talents.  FGB2011 
empty To Theo Doreleijers the societal impact of his scientific activities is very important. Care for youth with a psychic handicap has a primary focus: especially care for those that have difficulties finding help for legal and judicial reasons or because they are in an institution. The scientific work of Theo Doreleijers is of good quality and innovative, it is relevant for the practical crime prevention. Doreleijers is a pioneer in his field and has been an inspiring role model for years.VUmc2010
The career of Henk Vroom is very interesting, it combines his scientific work on hermeneutics and his attempts for interreligious dialogue. In his long standing involvement with the VU Amsterdam he has completed scientific and societal relevant work. Vroom has opened the VU Amsterdam for a broad variety of religions by his work for the faculty of Theology and the Islam study programme. This has changed the faculty in a societal oriented part of the interreligious dialogue.FRT 2009
 Martijn Katan’s research is of scientific and innovative excellence and has a important societal impact. He has cooperated with hi-tech food industries. As a result the composition of food worldwide got healthier. Katan has always strived for the food industry to implement his scientific results, but also to bring more knowledge about food and health to a large population. His published book ‘Wat is nu gezond?’ (What is healthy?) is a successful example.SCIENCE2008

Winners Junior Societal Impact Award

 Wilma Waterlander describes in her disseration the feasibility and effectiveness of pricing strategies to stimulate healthy food choices. She focused mainly on people with a low socioeconomic status. Waterlander showed that discounts on fruits and vegetables stimulate consumers to buy significantly more of these products and that this did not result in increased purchases of other supermarket products. The research results influence the development of future policy measures focused on food pricing policy.  SCIENCE 
 Victor van der Geest graduated with the highest distinction on his dissertation ‘Working their Way into Adulthood’.  He investigated a group of 270 (male) juveniles, their family backgrounds, problems and criminal and work career after their treatment in juvenile treatment facilities. His research has a considerable societal impact as it demonstrates that working has a positive influence on young men with a criminal past.LAW
emptyThe PhD dissertation of Wouter Botzen reviews the vulnerability of the Dutch insurance sector to climate change and investigates whether private insurance packages can participate in anticipating on climate change in The Netherlands. In a societal context, this research is very valuable because it can help the insurance industry to calculate risks and improve protection, but also to deal with the consequences better. This adds to current discussions over the balance between governmental and individual responsibilities.SBE
 In her dissertation, Irma Mooi-Reçi concludes that unemployment has a negative effect on further career and salary later on. It undermines the career prospects of individuals for the rest of their lives. The dissertation is particularly topical in these times of financial crisis and rising unemployment. Her research has already been cited several times in the media. Questions have even been asked in the Dutch parliament about the effect on a person’s career of accepting a job below their capabilities.FSS2009
 Martijn de Koning ’s work is extremely relevant for everyone who wants to know more about the significance of faith for young people in the Moroccan-Dutch community. His dissertation about religious beliefs and identity construction of Moroccan-Dutch Muslim youth is very important for society, including outside the academic field. It is relevant for policymakers in governmental organizations and Muslim organizations, but also for youth social work and education where more information about Moroccan-Dutch young people is needed.FSS2008
 Wendy Janssens received the Amsterdam Insititute for International Development-Worldbank Award for the best dissertation on international development. With precision and absolute integrity, Janssens set out to quantify development cooperation. Janssens’ work is strongly associated with VU University Amsterdam’s tradition of development economics and development cooperation.SBE