Albert Heck receives NWO Spinoza Prize
Today NWO president Stan Gielen announced that Utrecht University Professor Albert Heck has been awarded an NWO Spinoza Prize. Heck has been given this prize for his exceptional, pioneering and inspiring work. The NWO Spinoza Prize is the highest scientific distinction in the Netherlands. The laureates will each receive 2.5 million euros which they can spend on scientific research.
The NWO Spinoza Prize is not only an honour but also an incentive to conduct further research. NWO awards the Spinoza Prizes each year to no more than four researchers working in the Netherlands who rank as the leading authorities in their field according to international standards. Not only do they conduct high-quality research that has a major impact within and outside their field, but they are also an inspiration to younger researchers.
Professor Albert Heck has made a major contribution to the worldwide breakthrough of systematically mapping all proteins in human cells and their biological functions by means of mass spectrometry. This technique plays an important role in current research on illness and health, and therefore contributes to the development of new and better medicines. Heck is professor of both chemistry and pharmaceutical sciences at Utrecht University. He has been praised for his broad-based cooperation with researchers from other scientific fields and industry, and for his unique ability to innovate.
Researchers are nominated for the Spinoza Prize. This year the Spinoza Committee received 34 nominations. Based on these nominations an international science-wide committee compiled a shortlist with no more than eight candidates. Committee members discussed each candidate with several foreign experts. Partly based on these discussions, the committee referred four scientists to NWO for the Spinoza Prize this year. The most important criterion for being awarded an NWO Spinoza Prize is international recognition of the candidate’s quality as a scientist. Including the new laureates, there are now 85 Spinoza laureates in the Netherlands.
The NWO Spinoza Prizes will be awarded during a festive ceremony on Tuesday 12 September in the Koninklijke Schouwburg in The Hague. During the ceremony, the laureates will present their research to the audience and how they intend to use the financial part of their prize.
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