Three most talented female WU PhD candidates Eva Johan, Lucie Sovová and Julia Krug, all international PhD candidates, were awarded on 29 Oct 2019. After a short introduction on the Storm-van der Chijs Fund by chair Dr Margreet van der Burg, it was Prof dr ir Arnold Bregt as head of the jury who handed over the Storm-van der Chijs Awards. The two-yearly awarding ceremony was combined with the Gender-SMART thematic afternoon ‘From WUR gender analysis to WUR Gender SMART Plan’.
The high quality of the 16 candidates who were nominated by professors of all science groups was first praised by the head of the jury, Prof.dr.ir. Arnold Bregt, Dean of Education. He mentioned that the jury with also Prof.dr.ir Erwin Bulte and Prof.dr. Eric Schranz, found it quite hard to compare and grade the nominations according to the four criteria the Fund had set. These were richness in initiative, interdisciplinarity, international embeddedness, and linking science and society. The nominations showed very interesting aspects from a wonderful group of women PhD candidates to be proud of. This year one stipend of 1,500 euro and two honourable distinctions of 500 euro were awarded to encourage them to pursue an academic career. These can be used for further international profiling by a visit to an academic conference or institute abroad until one year after graduation.
Eva Johan from Indonesia won the stipend for her innovative research approach to support the process of Halal regulation and harmonisation in food trade within WTO compliance. The project takes up profound issues of its global dimension, notably at the intersection of public morality, religion and trade. Since Eva was in Indonesia, we called briefly and showed a video message about her research. The award certificate was handed over to her daily supervisor, Dr Hanna Schebesta, and responsible promotor Prof.dr. Josephine van Zeben, who just started as chairholder at the WUR Law Group (LAW-SSG).
Lucie Sovová from Çzech Republic won as first a Honourable Distinction. Co-promotor Esther Veen of Rural Sociology (RSO-SSG) was present to also represent promotor Prof.dr.ir Han Wiskerke who is on sabbatical leave. Lucie in her research bridges urban gardening and alternative food networks. In her work on Central and Eastern Europe, she questions framing informal food economies as remnants of the socialist era. She shows how they are not necessarily “inferior” to, but merely coexisting and interacting with their market-based counterparts. Next to her academic work she is in many ways involved and contributing to NGOs in this field.
Julia Krug from Germany also received a Honourable Distinction in presence of her promotor and nominator Prof.dr. Aldrik Velders of the Laboratory of BioNanoTechnology (BNT-ATFS). Her research concerns the exploration and exploitation of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) for which she combines physics, chemistry, biology and medicine in an interdisciplinary perspective and checks its usefulness for areas from food analysis to waste-water treatment, and from plant-root development to neuroscience. She also worked with artists to explore expressions of MRI. Julia is portrayed as multi-talented, engaged, and always stimulating broader discussions on culture, music and politics while fostering an open multicultural and respectful atmosphere.
The awarding was combined with a thematic afternoon ‘From WUR gender analysis to WUR Gender-SMART Plan’ of the EU Gender-SMART project. In presence of the WUR Gender SMART Steering Group, chaired by Arnold Bregt, we assessed the gap between the current and desirable gender WUR focus on various domains detected by the gender analysis, and identified solution areas to encountered issues in these domains. Next step is to build on the various input we collected and sketch a draft WUR Gender-SMART Plan in contours and activities to be presented for implementation for the upcoming three years.