Spinoza Prize

The NWO Spinoza Prize is the highest award in Dutch science. Each year, NWO awards the NWO Spinoza Prizes to three or four researchers working in the Netherlands who according to international standards belong to the absolute top of science. The NWO Spinoza Laureates do outstanding and groundbreaking research, which has a large impact. They are an inspiration for young researchers.

The prize is named after Baruch Spinoza (1632-1677). Spinoza was an internationally renowned Dutch scientist and a clear example of freedom in research - a tremendous figurehead for this prize.

  • Purpose

    The NWO Spinoza Prize is a mark of honour and a stimulus for further research. With this initiative NWO encourages top level research in the Netherlands. The Spinoza Prize was established in 1995. NWO created the prize to increase the visibility of excellent scientists and to encourage top research in the Netherlands. The prize is awarded to individual researchers.

    Foreign researchers can also win the Spinoza Prize, as long as they have a permanent position at a Dutch research institution. A Dutch top scientist with a chair at a foreign institution is not eligible for the prize.

  • Budget and duration

    The laureates each receive a bronze statue of Spinoza and 2.5 million euros to spend on scientific research. They are free to spend this as they wish as long as the expenditure is related to research.

  • Committee

    The NWO Spinoza Prize is a personal award for top researchers with international reputations. NWO requests selected persons to nominate candidates for this prize. The committee round 2020 is composed of the following persons:

    Committee 2020

    • Prof. Aafke Hulk, (technical) chair 
    • Prof. Jan-Benedict Steenkamp, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (US)
    • Prof. Elaine Dzierzak, University of Edinburgh (UK)
    • Prof. Paul Matthews, Imperial College London (UK)
    • Prof. Fred MacKintosh, Rice University (US)
    • Prof. Wilt Idema, Harvard (retired)
    • Prof. Candace Kruttschnitt, University of Toronto (CA)
    • Prof. Rosamond McKitterick, Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge (UK)
    • Prof. Walter Van Assche, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (BE)
    • Prof. Geoff Blake, Caltech (US)
    • Prof. Anne Verhoef, University of Reading (UK)
    • Prof. Nicole van Dam, German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research – iDiv (DE)
    • Prof. Martin Möller, RWTH Aachen (DE)

NWO Spinoza Prize Laureates 2020