From tiny circuit to global constitution: this is what the winners of the Dutch science prizes want

It takes some getting used to: this Wednesday, research financier NWO will be awarding only two Spinoza Prizes of 1.5 million euros for the first time. Until now, the most important Dutch science prize has gone to four ‘researchers who, by international standards, belong to the very best scientists worldwide’, but NWO has decided to halve this number, so that an equal number of Spinoza and Stevin prizes are now awarded. The latter prize, also 1.5 million euros, goes every year to two researchers who have ‘achieved a special success in the field of knowledge utilization for society’.

This intervention is in line with NWO’s aim to promote both scientific breakthroughs and social impact equally, a spokesperson said. The resources released by this change will be used by NWO for its Talent Program (Veni, Vidi, Vici), so that a previously imposed reduction can be absorbed. “We think it is important to continue to encourage young talent,” said the spokesperson.