From now on, teams of two or three scientists will also be eligible for the Spinoza Prize awarded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), in addition to outstanding individual scientists.
Education minister Ingrid van Engelshoven made this announcement on 2 October when handing out this year’s Spinoza awards. ‘I am convinced that our research can benefit more from cooperation than from competition,’ she said in her speech. ‘After all, two heads are better than one.’ A precondition is that the team offers something extra. That means the team must be demonstrably better than the individual members.
The Spinoza Prize is for world-class scholars who are an inspiration to young researchers and actively propagate their insights by incorporating them in an application or by popularizing their knowledge.
There were no prizes for WUR scientists this year. Last year, microbiologist John van der Oost got a Spinoza Prize, and there have previously been Spinozas for entomologist Marcel Dicke (2007), microbiologist Willem de Vos (2008) and aquatic ecologist Marten Scheffer (2009).