First KNAW Merian Award for Naomi Ellemers

Naomi Ellemers, Professor of Social Psychology of the Organisation, is to receive the first KNAW Merian award for women in science in recognition of her excellent scientific research and her active commitment to equal opportunities for women in academia.

The award, by the Royal Netherlands Academy for Sciences (KNAW), comprises a monetary prize of 50,000 euro and a specially designed item of jewellery. The award, which will be presented on Tuesday 26 January 2010 in the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam, is funded by the SNS REAAL Fund.


68 nominations

The jury received a total of 68 nominations and was very impressed by the high academic level of the nominees. ‘Naomi Ellemers is a highly driven academic,' the jury wrote in its report. 'Through her excellent academic achievements and her visibility in academic associations and commissions, the laureate fulfils an important function as role model for young academics in general and for women researchers in particular. Ellemers is actively committed to achieving equal opportunities for women in academia.'  

Naomi Ellemers

Naomi Ellemers (1963) obtained her master's degree and her PhD, both with distinction, at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen. She continued her academic career at the Vrije Universiteit. In 1999 she was appointed professor in Leiden, where she conducts research into the effects of status differences between groups, diversity in organisations and involvement and commitment in task groups. Her particular focus is the importance of social identity for motivation (including at work), performance and innovation in work teams. She is also involved in such research themes as the importance of social identity for minority groups, and discrimination in the employment market. In 2008 she was awarded the European Kurt Lewin Award for her work. Ellemers s a highly productive and influential researcher in her field.

The award

The KNAW announced the KNAW Merian Award, backed by the SNS REAAL Fund, in the spring of 2009. The aim of this award is to promote the visibility of women researchers and the participation of women in the Dutch academic environment. The award will be presented once every two years to a female academic in the Netherlands who conducts excellent research within the arts and humanities (2009) and the sciences (2011).

The prize consists of 50,000 euro to be used for academic purposes. In addition, the laureate will receive an item of jewellery specially designed by artist Aimee Rhemrev.

The award derives its name from Maria Sibylla Merian (1647-1717) a German artist and scholar who made a number of discoveries of plants and insects, and produced detailed drawings of them, thereby making a significant contribution to entomology.  Her work is now regularly featured in art and science exhibitions throughout the world. 

(3 November 2009/KNAW)

Last Modified: 05-11-2009