The quality of the nominations for the Marina van Damme Fund was so high this year, that the fund decided to award not one, but three grants. Chantal Vogels and Judith Houtman each received a full grant worth €9000, while Nienke van Staaveren received an incentive prize of €2500.
Marina van Damme Fund grants are intended to deepen or broaden the careers of female engineers through the acquisition of knowledge and/or international experience in the form of a research study or project. The grants were awarded on 26 November during the first Feminer dinner in Wageningen.
Role model for women
According to the jury, winner Chantal Vogels is a role model for women who aspire to a career in science with her ambition to establish a special expertise network to further the study of virus-transmitted diseases.
The Marina van Damme grant will enable her to follow two personal training courses focussing on the manipulation of viruses and the analysis of the data from this process. These new insights may lead to new breakthroughs in the study of the evolution of mosquito-borne viruses.
Expertise in biochemistry
The jury was also impressed by Judith Houtman’s expertise in biochemistry and neurodegeneration and her dedication to improving understanding of neurodegenerative diseases through the study of the disease as a system.
The Marina van Damme grant will allow her to follow workshops to learn skills in bioinformatics and data analysis sequencing, and also to visit the Fred Cage Lab of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies in California, where she can apply these skills in her own research project.
Incentive prize for animal welfare
The recipient of the incentive prize, Nienke van Staaveren, has a Master’s degree in Animal Sciences and is currently working as a postdoc at the Campbell Centre for the Study of Animal Welfare of the University of Guelph in Canada. In September of this year she started as a project manager with the Genomic Applications Partnership Program.
Nienke will use her Marina van Damme grant to follow training courses that will help her lead the project team and make lasting and meaningful contributions to projects to improve animal welfare.