News - December 17, 2014

Wageningen student produces best Bachelor's thesis

Last week, Martin Sikma won the Student Research Award, a prize for the best Bachelor’s thesis in the Netherlands and Flanders. He beat no less than 95 other candidates with his study of the transportation of moisture and chemicals in clouds.

The Student Research Award is an annual prize presented to the Dutch or Flemish student who has produced the best Bachelor’s the- sis. This year it was the former Soil, Water and Atmosphere BSc student Martin Sikma with his research. ‘My thesis was originally supposed to be about a model that represents the lowest layer of the atmosphere. But I discovered that it didn’t represent the transportation of chemicals and moisture by clouds correctly. So I decided to improve the model in my thesis.’ That worked out well.

Everyone who got a score of 8.5 or more for their Bachelor’s thesis was sent an email by Wageningen UR asking whether they wanted to compete for the Student Research Award. ‘I’d never heard of the award but I thought it would be a challenge,’ says Martin. In the final round, he had to present his thesis to an audience of 70 people, mainly professors. ‘Apparently my presentation was clear and easy to follow, which the jury really appreciated.’

Martin won 1500 euros, money that he immediately spent on a new computer. ‘That will let me run models even faster and better, which will certainly help me with my doctoral study.’ For thanks in part to his Bachelor’s thesis, Mar- tin has been taken on for a PhD, in which he will be able to play with models as much as he wants.