Strengthen the position of excellent female scientists through the Storm-van der Chijs Fund

The objective of the Storm-van der Chijs Fund is to encourage and support Wageningen University female scientists to pursue their work and career in science.

The impact of your gift

The fund awards three stipends of €1,500 each every two years to promising female Wageningen University PhD students. By supporting the stipendia, your gift helps strengthening the position of female scientists in the world. Through the stipendia promising PhD students are enabled to further distinguishing themselves internationally through participating in international conferences and/or visiting foreign institutes. This way, the fund supports the international development of these women from the onset of their career up the scientific ladder. 

The Wageningen University Board of Management finances one of the three stipends.

Information for applicants

The winners of the Storm-van der Chijs Stipend 2017. From left to right with certificate: Lies Zandberg, Chantal Vogels and co-promotor Marielos Peña Claros representing Carolina Levis.
The winners of the Storm-van der Chijs Stipend 2017. From left to right with certificate: Lies Zandberg, Chantal Vogels and co-promotor Marielos Peña Claros representing Carolina Levis.

What can the stipendia be used for?

The Storm-van der Chijs Award allows for:

  • A work visit to one or more foreign science institutes, and or;
  • Participation in an international scientific conference.

International networking and future joint co-operations play a central role herein.

Prior to the awarding of the stipends, a prominent foreign or Dutch female scientist will hold a Storm-van der Chijs Lecture. The lectures include topics concerning gender issues and issues faced by women in agriculture, food and environmental sciences.

Stipendia 2017

Three most talented female WU PhD candidates got the 2017 Storm-van der Chijs Stipend. Rector magnificus Arthur Mol was present to hand over the awards to Lies Zandberg, Chantal Vogels and Carolina Levis. The two-yearly awards ceremony on 23 May 2017 followed after this year Storm-van der Chijs theme ‘Towards an inclusive and gender responsive WUR’.


Lies Zandberg won the first stipend for her research on mate choice in wild birds. The chair of the jury of the Academic Board Niels Anten stressed that the quality of the 17 candidates nominated by their professors was high. The other jury members were Tiny van Boekel and Erwin Bulte. The stipend of 1,500 euro is to be used for further international profiling by a visit to an academic conference or institute abroad. The award certificates were handed over by rector Arthur Mol.

Lies Zandberg her work reflected the stipend criteria of richness in initiative, interdisciplinarity, international embeddedness and linking science and society best. Lies independently designed and carried out a unique test for mate preference in wild birds for which she followed them throughout their lives. She developed new experimental techniques to comprehensively track the fitness consequences of individual differences in mate preference by merging complex theory, statistics and computer programing, ecology and genetics. Lies her promotor is Prof.dr. Marc Naguib of Behavioural Ecology.

Carolina Levis from Brazil, who was present on skype, won one of the second ranked stipends. Her promotor is Prof.dr. Frans Bongers of Forest Ecology and Forest Management. Carolina looks at the relation between past-human activities and the composition of the Amazonian forests. By inventories of forest sites, mapping archaeological sites and conducting interviews, she combines methods of the social and natural sciences. By revisiting the image of the Amazon rain forest as virgin nature never touched, she contributes to developing ways how today’s and future forests can best reflect this presence. The journal Science and prestigious international media already featured her work!

Chantal Vogels received the other shared stipend. Her promotor is Prof.dr. Marcel Dicke of Entomology. Chantal her research looks at how environmental, behavioural and genetic aspects of European Culex mosquitoes influence the transmission of the West Nile virus. She seeks to understand why some infectious diseases do occur in some places and not in others and accordingly improve control measures. Chantal found funds for her work herself and developed a citizen science approach whereby people could send her mosquito samples by mail.

The awarding followed after an inspiring discussion on the advancement of women in science while working towards an inclusive and gender responsive WUR. After introductions by Prof dr Carolyn Sachs of Pennstate University, USA by Skype and by Dr. Margreet van der Burg, gender studies WU and chair of the Storm-van der Chijs Fund, together with Alet Leemans, project manager of the WUR Gender Action Plan, the discussion was started. Three panellists Dr Bram de Vos, managing director of ESG-WUR, Rhiannon Pyburn, CGIAR Gender Platform & Gender Specialist KIT, and Dr Gemma van der Haar, Sociology of Development and Change, made the audience enthusiastic to join in.

There was a clear agreement that we especially on HRM are progressing in our m/f balance but monitoring and further action remains very needed, also on the cultural aspects. Concerning the capacity building and integration of gender & diversity competence and analysis in education and research, it became clear that there is huge capacity demand in agriculture related organisations (e.g. CGIAR) as well as that capacity building will equip students to contribute to gender responsive work places and work in their future professional lives. It is a matter of taking the chances to boost WUR’s reputation and international profile by concerted effort.

Stipendia 2015

The winners of the Storm-van der Chijs Stipend 2015. From left to right: Hannah van Zanten, Ingrid van de Leemput, Anke Niehof and two colleagues of Maryna Strokal (because of her stay in China)
The winners of the Storm-van der Chijs Stipend 2015. From left to right: Hannah van Zanten, Ingrid van de Leemput, Anke Niehof and two colleagues of Maryna Strokal (because of her stay in China)

The three awarded women are PhD candidates Ingrid van de Leemput and Hannah van Zanten from the Netherlands, and Maryna Strokal from Ukraine. These winners are selected from sixteen women nominees from six countries. The awarding ceremony took place on Friday 16th of October in the Impulse Building on Wageningen Campus.

Researching tipping points, Ingrid van de Leemput, PhD student of Prof. Imke de Boer (Animal Production Systems), studies nitrogen microbial pathways in aquatic ecology. Her research can be used to predict phenomena such as the viability of coral reefs and psychiatric disorders. Her work stands out in its interdisciplinarity and the link between science and society.

Maryna Strokal, PhD student of Prof. Carolien Kroeze (Environmental Systems Analysis), received the stipend for making agriculture more sustainable in regard to nutrient losses. She redesigned a model to counter water pollution in China by examining human activities on land and in river basins (the Global Nutrient Export from WaterSheds model).

The research of Hannah van Zanten, PhD student of Prof. Marten Scheffer (Aquatic Ecology), crosses the boundaries of animal, plant and environmental sciences. She addresses the feed-food competition by looking into opportunities to use waste-fed insects as livestock feed.

Stipend awardees 2013

Left to right: Nora Sutton, Natalie Theeuwes, Anne van Loon en Susan Boonman-Berson ( photo Guy Akkermans)
Left to right: Nora Sutton, Natalie Theeuwes, Anne van Loon en Susan Boonman-Berson ( photo Guy Akkermans)

On Thursday 18 April 2013, three stipends and one honourable distinction were awarded to four talented female PhD candidates of Wageningen University, part of Wageningen UR, on the occasion of the biannual awarding of the Storm-van der Chijs Stipends. Nora Sutton, Natalie Theeuwes and Anne van Loon received a stipend and certificate; Susan Boonman-Berson got an honourable distinction.

The stipend criteria of richness in initiative, interdisciplinarity, international embeddiness and linking science and society were considered best reflected in the work of Nora Sutton, Environmental Technology. She got the first stipend for her research on remediation of polluted soils in which she combines approaches from several disciplines and discusses possible applications within international contexts and with many stakeholder groups. The second stipend was given to Anne van Loon, Hydrology and Quantatative Water Management Group, especially for her work in developing methods that better understand and manage drought and water scarcity.

The third stipend was given to Natalie Theeuwes, Meteorology and Air Quality, for her research work from a multi stakeholder and interdisciplinary approach in developing interventions in urban areas to diminish effects on heat and related health issues by climate change. Furthermore this year a honourable distinction was awarded to Susan Boonman-Berson, Forest and Nature Conservation Policy, with this time a small stipend since she just followed the others according to the jury report. Her work is developing interdisciplinary approaches to bridge different perceptions on wildlife management especially in human-wildlife conflict situations. The four women together represent the wide ranging domains of Wageningen UR.

Stipend awardees in the past

In the years before 2013 also the following promising PhD candidates received a Storm-van der Chijs stipenidum:

  • 2011 Cathelijne Stoof, Marije Oostindjer and Alessandra Galiè;
  • 2008 Maria Tysiachniouk and Flora Chadare;
  • 2006 Sarian Kosten, Roxina Soler Gamborena and Ramona van Marwijk;
  • 2004: Elke Scholten, Olga Vigiak and Kerensa Broersen;
  • 2002 Afaf Abdel Rahim, Ana de Almeida Costa and Jetske de Boer;
  • 2000 Mariëlle van Hulten, Makedonka Dautova and Karen Eilers;
  • 1998 Gemma van der Haar, Lida Soede and Suzanne Gerwen

Annelies Heijmans, Juana Delgado, Claudia Pabon Pareira, Els Faassen, Purabi Bose en Susan Boonman-Berson received an honourable distinction. Together with the stipendia awardees they show a wide range of nationalities, specialisms, and competencies within the Wageningen research domains.

Board of Management

  • Dr. Margreet van der Burg (chair), Senior University Lecturer / Researcher Gender Studies/History, Social Sciences, Wageningen University & Research
  • Secretary: vacancy
  • Dr Gertie Arts, senior aquatic ecologist and ecotoxicologist, Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra), Wageningen University and Research
  • Dr. ir Gemma van der Haar, University Lecturer/ Researcher Disaster, Conflict and Society, SADE, Social Sciences, Wageningen University & Research
  • Ir. Catharien Terwisscha van Scheltinga, researcher Climate change and adaptive land and water management, Wageningen Envrionmental Research (Alterra) , Wageningen University and Research
  • Alet Leemans, Gender Action Plan implementation manager, Corporate HRM, Wageningen University & Research

    Contact at University Fund Wageningen: ir. Saskia de Boer, Operations Coordinator

    More about the Storm-van der Chijs Fund

    The Storm-van der Chijs Fund was named after Mienette Storm-van der Chijs (1814-1895), pioneer in Agricultural Sciences and champion of (agrarian) education for girls.

    The fund was created in 1998 upon the initiative of a Wageningen work group “Women and Labour 1898-1998’ to commemorate the 100 Year National Exhibition of Female Labour 1898.

    About Mienette Storm-van der Chijs

    Mienette Storm-van der Chijs was the first female lecturer to speak at the agrarian congresses of her time. She was not only applauded for her contribution to agrarian science, but also for her exertions for the improvement of labour- and education conditions for women in agriculture.

    She was one of the first Dutch feminists to claim the advantages that arose from the ‘new era’ of women. She always spoke comparatively about the Dutch situation and made references to her foreign experiences acquired through her travels and many visits to foreign conferences and institutes. She also brought back samples of plants and seeds from around the world and explained how her experiences could be put to use for improvements in Dutch agriculture and the agrarian living environment.

    She was often commended for her work within the agrarian discipline and received awards and invitations to lectures. She took this opportunity to centrally position the role of women in agriculture and the agrarian living environment. During heated discussions about agrarian education, Mienette championed the improvement of agrarian living conditions for women by extending their education and improving their terms of labour. 


    On 10 March 2008, the fund celebrated the 10th anniversary and 90 years WUR with a high tea for full professors and directors. Entitled, ‘High Tea for Diversity: Ingredients for a new WUR-blend?’ the discussion centred on the manner through which diversity was being obtained at WUR and what was being written about it in literature. This day resulted in a list of recommendations on how to stimulate diversity at Wageningen UR in its management, research, education and human resource management.