Birgit Elands Thesis Award 2022-2023: Please submit your entries

The Forest and Nature Conservation Policy group of Wageningen University, the National Forest Service and Natuurcollege set up this award to stimulate and reward students who contribute to our understanding of contemporary human-nature relationships and their role in nature-inclusive societies.

The Birgit Elands Thesis Award on Human Nature Relationships is a prize for MSc students from universities and from universities of applied sciences in The Netherlands. It aims to recognise contributions to the understanding of the human-nature relationship in the Anthropocene and how this relationship can be strengthened towards inclusive nature-positive futures.

Examples include biocultural diversity, nature education, active citizenship and activism, nature & spirituality, and more-than-human perspectives.

We call upon all teachers to submit innovative, relevant and high-quality (MSc)-theses finalised by their students in the academic year 2022-2023 for consideration for this award. The theses should have a score of 8 and above.

Theses submitted for the award will be evaluated based on four criteria:

  • Contribution to a nature-positive society
  • Applicability in real-life practices
  • Analytical strength and scientific quality
  • Innovation and creativity

A jury consisting of representatives from the National Forest Service (Staatsbosbeheer), Natuurcollege and Wageningen University will evaluate the submissions and select the winner. The prize will be €1000 to be spent on personal development, as well as a tree to be planted in the Wageningen Food Forest. A tree planted each year by all the winners will form a Birgit Elands memorial forest.

Instructions for submission:

  • The thesis should be finished, evaluated and graded in the academic year 2022-2023.
  • Only MSc theses from Dutch Universities and Dutch universities of applied sciences (HBO) are accepted for submission.
  • The thesis should have a formal grading of 8.0 or higher.
  • Deadline for submission is 30 September 2023.
  • Submission can only be done by the supervisor of the thesis student. A short note by the supervisor why this thesis is nominated need to be included.
  • Please submit the thesis in pdf and the argumentation from the supervisors (max ½ A4) to

The Birgit Elands thesis award was initiated in 2022 to honour the legacy of Dr. Birgit Elands, former assistant professor at the FNP group at Wageningen University. Birgit was highly motivated to contribute to transformational change for sustainability through educating students and young people and to strengthening human-nature relationships in society. She contributed to several fields of research, including human-nature relationships, biocultural diversity, leisure and recreation, spirituality and nature education.