New Research Award: Who will be named Supervisor of the Year?

February 28, 2024

WUR celebrates its birthday on 8 March, on which occasion it will present the Research Awards. There will be recognition for team achievements, programmes with and for society, and the best supervisor for the first time.

Since 1959, the Research Award has been presented to a researcher under the age of forty. The award goes to the researcher who published the best scientific article of the last year. This year, however, a different approach has been chosen for the awards. ‘We want to broaden the awards by also acknowledging other achievements’, says Janneke van Seters, Wageningen Graduate Schools coordinator. ‘The best scientific publication will still win an award, but it is no longer the only category.’ Added categories are 'Team Effort of the Year', 'Transdisciplinary Research of the Year' and 'Supervisor of the Year'.

Excellent supervisors

‘Awarding only a publication excludes all the other aspects of a researcher’s work’, Van Seters clarifies. She felt that something was missing for supervisors of PhD students and post-docs. She uses the carrot and the stick metaphor. ‘We have mandatory courses for supervisors, which is the stick, but not enough appreciation for those who do really well. An award serves as a carrot.’

What makes a researcher an excellent supervisor? The call to nominate supervisors cites criteria such as mentorship, leadership and inclusiveness. PhD candidates and post-docs can judge their supervisors according to these criteria and decide to nominate them as individuals or as a group.

Recognition and rewards

The new Research Awards are in keeping with the national Recognition and Rewards programme, which aims to do justice to all aspects of researchers’ work. Van Seters: ‘In implementing the programme, WUR checks which aspects are not yet rewarded. We already have an annual award for impact and for teacher of the year. However, we do not yet have awards for exceptional team achievements, transdisciplinary research, and supervisors. Thus, we will now also recognise these researchers.’

Vote for the Research Awards

The jury has selected a total of 14 nominees from among all the submitted suggestions. They will pitch their nomination on the morning of the Dies Natalis. All students and employees are welcome to vote for their favou

rite candidate. The winners will receive their awards at the end of the afternoon.

The prizes have been made available by the University Fund Wageningen (UFW) and the Wageningen Graduate Schools. The winners will receive a replica of “The Wageningen Tree” and a sum of €2.500.

Listen to the pitches and cast your vote on Friday, 8 March at 11.00 hrs in Omnia.