Athena Award

The Athena Award rewards female researchers that stand out, and because of that are role models for others. Role models are important for female researchers who are starting their careers. These role models demonstrate that a career in science is possible.

What for?

Diversity and inclusion are important for the quality of science and the impact of science on society. In the Netherlands, the percentage of women working in (natural) sciences is low. This percentage is even lower in more senior positions: only 16% of professors in (natural) science disciplines is female (source: LNVH Monitor Vrouwelijke Hoogleraren 2020).

Through the Athena Award, the NWO Domain Science wants to place female role models working in (natural) scientific disciplines in the spotlight. Role models are important for female researchers who are starting their careers. These role models demonstrate that a career in science is possible.

Winners Athena Award 2021

The winner(s) of the Athena Award 2021 will be announced on 3 December at 12:00 during the NWO Science Awards week.

  • Who can submit a nomination?

    Anyone can submit one or more nominations. However, it is not possible to nominate yourself for the Athena Award.

  • What could the nominees win?

    The Athena Award is a sum of 50k€. Recipients have ample freedom when it comes to spending this sum, as long as it is used to contribute to the research of the laureate.

  • When can nominations be submitted?

    Nominations are now closed.

  • How can nominations be submitted?

    The “nomination form” must be used for nominations. The form can be downloaded at the bottom of this page. The nominations must be written in English and must be DORA compliant.

    The nomination form contains the following elements:

    1. A cover page (mandatory) with general information about the nominee and the applicant.
    2. A motivational letter (mandatory, maximum two pages), in which the applicant explains why the nominee should win the prize and how the assessment criteria stated in Call for Nominations apply to the nominee. Clearly describe why the nominee is a real role model and a source of inspiration for other (younger) researchers, in addition to describing the scientific achievements.
    3. Supporting documentation (optional, maximum five pages), such as, for example, a short narrative CV of the nominee containing information relevant to the award and for example the top 5 publications with substantiation, and any support letters from third parties. A short description of the narrative CV can be found on the following web page.
  • Assessment procedure


    The NWO domain Exact and Natural Sciences wants to draw attention to female science scientists who excel and therefore act as role models for others. The following criteria have therefore been chosen:

    1. The nominee is an example / source of inspiration for young researchers who aspire to a career in science;
    2. The nominee stands out through her scientific achievements. The emphasis is on the quality of the research, but other aspects are also considered, such as the impact of the research, leadership, teaching skills and outreach and/or science communication.


    The nominations are assessed in relation to the criteria by a committee. The Board of NWO Domain Science will make the decision regarding the winners. More details are given in the brochure.

  • Composition of the Athena Award Committee 2021

    Dr Daniela Wilson (Ass Prof), RU
    Prof. T. (Tamalika) Banerjee, RUG
    Dr K. (Katerina) Stankova, UM
    Prof. M.E. (Eric) Schranz, WUR
    Prof. C. (Carsten) Dominik, UvA
    Prof. F. (Frederike) Wagner-Cremer,  UU
    Dr Andrea Fuster, Eindhoven
    Mary Tupan-Wenno, ECHO