Press Award

Who makes the domains of Wageningen University & Research's the best available for a wider audience? Which program, journalist or medium carries out our message the best?

Since 1978, UFW has been praising the Press Award once every three years for press releases that bring the following domains to a public audience: Society and well-being; Food, feed and biobased production and Natural resources and living environment.

Press Award 2017

Science journalist Hidde Boersma and colleagues have receive the triennial 2017 Press Prize for his documentary triptych “Well Fed”. During the Opening of the Academic Year at Wageningen University & Research on 4 September 2017, he received a Wageningse Boom (Wageningen tree) statuette, a distinction, and a sum of 2500 euros from the chair of the University Fund Wageningen, Jan Karel Mak.

For the full news item, please click here.

Press Award 2014

Annemieke Smit

Science writer Annemieke Smit (1957) has been awarded the three yearly Wageningen Press Award 2014 for her inspiring book Uitgekookt! At the 96th Dies Natalis of Wageningen University & Research, she received the sculpture 'The tree of Wageningen'. The jury appreciates her ability to translate complex food science knowledge into pleasant and amusing reading for a broad audience. Her book is innovatively designed, easy to read and makes scientific knowledge accessible to read without jargon or formulas.

The jury, composed of four representatives related to science and journalism, received twenty submissions which a.o. were articles, books and other prints. The jury was impressed by the high quality of the submissions.

Annemieke Smit consulted many Wageningen scholars for her book Uitgekookt! She integrated that knowledge in a playful way. With this, according to the jury, she made a significant contribution to our understanding of our food. Uitgekookt! makes us aware of our daily food and how it is processed.

The book has a lot of pictures, humoristic sketches and anecdotes and is, because of that, an attractive and informative cook book. The jury foresees it has the potential to become a national reference for cooking sciences for a wider audience. Annemieke Smit meets the requirements, formulated in quality, accessibility and the relation with scientific research of Wageningen University & Research.

Annemieke Smit is a scientific writer for multiple radio- and television shows. She directed dozens of TV-broadcasts, made hundreds of radio reports en presented live broadcasts for years. To be able to do this, she did lots of research, searched for interesting topics and contacted innovative scientists. Annemieke Smit was chief editor of Noorderlicht Radio, project leader 'Science' at VPRO and developed, with others, the website 'Pooljaar'.

Press Award 2010

The board of the University Fund Wageningen has decided to award the Press Award 2010 to two people, being domentary maker ir. Barend Hazeleger and journalist and editor ir. Arend Jan Voortman.

The board has reached this extraordinary decision by a nomination of the jury, consisting of four representatives from both science and journalism which is chaired by the chairman of the board of Wageningen University & Research, Aalt Dijkhuizen.

Both gentlemen amply fill the requirements associated with the Press Award on score of quality, accessibility and connectivity with scientific research or Wageningen University & Research.

Ir. B. Hazeleger

Barend Hazeleger (1956) graduated from Wageningen University & Research in Land Development in 1983. For the next eleven years, he worked as a journalist and educational officer for international development organisations such as Novib/Oxfam.

Since 1994, he has worked as an independent communications adviser, copywriter and film-maker. Barend Hazeleger runs his own agency Agrapen, whose activities include producing and directing text productions and documentaries. He is also the editor of Landschap, a scientific magazine for landscape ecology and environmental sciences.

He made a difficult subject like coexistence in the EU and the role of “biological containment” accessible to a wider audience and shed light on the issues from different angles with integrity.

The production prompted many responses and much discussion, thus serving to widen the public debate on this subject. The jury praises his journalistic qualities: professional, calm images, with the maker taking a neutral position and leaving the protagonists to speak for themselves.

Arend Jan Voortman

Arend Jan Voortman (born 1930) graduated from Wageningen University & Research in 1957, having studied economics and majoring in socio-economic history. For many years he worked at the then State Service for the National Plan, after which he found his way back to Wageningen and the Law and State Sciences department. He then founded an independent agency and launched the magazine Spil. He has been the editor-in-chief of the publication for many years.

For over thirty years, Spil has been a critical magazine looking at the production of food, raw materials and energy, food safety, relations between town and country, agriculture and countryside development and landscape, nature and environmental management. The magazine is published six times per year and has been extended with the website

In the view of the jury, Arend Jan Voortman deserves the Press Prize for his exceptional journalistic work over many years for the magazine Spil. As general editor and editor-in-chief of Spil over many years, he has adopted a critical, thought-provoking and constructive attitude to issues relevant to society. On the one hand, he has done this by offering his own, often colourful views on topical subjects, on the other by recruiting prominent and generally authoritative scientists and authors for the publication. Spil stimulates public debate and as such offers a platform for alternative voices, not just through the magazine itself, but also via its website. Driven by the tenacious Voortman, Spil has grown to become a medium whose influence reaches much further than its relatively modest circulation would suggest.

Perss Award 2006

Peter de Jaeger

According to the jury 'Peter de Jaeger is an excellent journalist who writes about a very wide range of topics that are linked with the Wageningen knowledge fields. He has great affinity with the material, enabling him to give the chosen topic the treatment it deserves. To achieve this he consults various scientific sources and approaches a topic from various angles. In this way he is able to combine an in-depth approach with a broad overview of the field. Peter de Jaeger succeeds in accurately interpreting Wageningen science for society at large; as a result, his work contributes to the quality of life. In view of the wide range of topics he addresses, this is a very remarkable accomplishment.'

P.M.H. de Jaeger was born in IJzendijke in the province of  Zeeland in 1955. He  graduated from Wageningen University & Research in 1982 (at that time called Wageningen Agricultural College) in the Agricultural Sociology. Following his graduation he worked as a journalist/editor for agricultural periodicals such as Boerderij, Boer en Tuinder and the Landbouwkundig Tijdschrift; for several years, he was also the editor-in-chief of the latter periodical. Since 1986 he has worked as a freelance journalist for a wide range of periodicals and press organisations including regional newspapers, the Geassocieerde Pers Diensten and national newspapers such as the NRC Handelsblad and Trouw. In addition, he publishes regularly in popular science magazines such as Eos magazine (published in Belgium), Intermediair and Internationale Samenwerking. He has also written a number of books.

Press Award 2002

Hansje van Etten

VPRO-TV program “Noorderlicht” for the broadcast 'Genetic gold' (broadcasted january 23rd 2001).

The prize was awarded to Hansje van Etten, one of the editors of 'Noorderlicht'.

The jury praised the outstanding journalistic qualities of the broadcast, composed and directed by van Etten. According to the jury: Hansje van Etten succeeeded in showing what is interesting about scientific research - the challenges for researchers, the societal dilemmas, and also the commercial interests -. The different perspectives and the technical aspects are clearly explained.' The jury appreciated the way in which 'Noorderlicht' makes science more popular via tv, radio and new media: 'She virtually forms an oasis in a desert, since there almost isn't a tradition to popularize science in non-printed media.

Previous Award winners

Previous award winners since 1978