Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam en Monique van der Veen awarded NWO Athena Prize 2018

15 November 2018

At the CHAINS chemistry conference on 4 December, Dr Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam and Dr Monique van der Veen will receive the NWO Athena Prize 2018. The prize is awarded in recognition of women chemists who serve as role models for other researchers. Aubin-Tam and Van der Veen are both dedicated to improving tenure-track policy at Dutch universities. The prize is not only an acknowledgement of their achievements as scientists, but also celebrates their outstanding commitment to wider society.

More accessible tenure-track policy for parents

This is the first time ever that the prize has been awarded to two winners. The judging panel was impressed by both Dr Monique van der Veen and Dr Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam for their scientific track records and their active efforts to change tenure-track policy at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) and other Dutch universities. With their ‘Dutch Tenure-Track Reform’ group, Van der Veen and Aubin-Tam represent the interests of researchers with children. They have worked hard to secure the support of the Association of Universities in the Netherlands (VSNU), the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW) and both male and female researchers at other Dutch universities. Thanks to their efforts, TU Delft amended its policy to enable both mothers and fathers to extend their tenure-track period by one year or six months per child respectively.

Dr. Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam

Dr Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam is an associate professor in TU Delft’s Bionanoscience department. At the cutting edge of chemistry, biology and nanotechnology, her research focuses on the transport of proteins through the cellular membrane. The judging panel was particularly impressed by the originality of this line of research, because she has developed new methods to study these membrane proteins individually using single-molecule techniques, such as optical tweezers.NWO previously awarded Aubin-Tam a Veni grant in 2013 and a Vidi grant in 2017.

Dr. Monique van der Veen

Dr Monique van der Veen is an assistant professor in TU Delft’s Chemical Engineering department. Her research focuses on the development of new chemical materials with improved electronic properties  for energy transfer. These materials will be essential in the transition towards a renewable energy supply. In the view of the judging panel, she has developed her own clearly-defined line of research. Van der Veen was previously awarded an ERC Starting Grant in 2017.

The Athena prize: female researchers in the spotlight

In its university policy, NWO aims to achieve an inclusive culture, free of conscious or unconscious barriers based on cultural, ethnic or religious background, gender, sexual orientation, health or age. With the annual Athena prize, NWO showcases outstanding women chemists who conduct state-of-the-art scientific research. Alongside scientific excellence, their contribution to society and/or teaching or administrative roles are key criteria for receiving the prize. Research has shown that female role models help other women to persevere with their academic careers. The Athena prize places these role models in the spotlight and is therefore an incentive prize. The prize consists of the sum of €25,000, a statuette and a personal media package.


For more information about the Athena prize, please contact Nadine Mascin at

Source: NWO