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Special recognitions

Every year, the World Cultural Council grants special acknowledgements to five to ten young researchers or scholars of the host country who have achieved outstanding performance in the fields of science, education or arts.

We consider it important to recognise, encourage and give visibility to these young scholars whose current work is breaking ground.

Leiden University is taking the opportunity to tighten up the criteria that candidates have to meet for this year's ceremony. Nominees should be talented, young, female candidates (up to 45 years of age), whose research has had an impact on society and about which the researcher is able to communicate readily.

For the 2017 Ceremony, these scholars should be from the fields of Science or the Arts. The following nine scholars have been nominated for receiving the 2017 WCC Special Recognitions:

Dr Akkerman’s work in English Literature has focused on bringing knowledge outside academia to connect with society. She already has three books to her name, notably on the life of Elizabeth Stuart and on Female Spies. She has also organized exhibitions, making videos in collaboration with Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Nadine has received numerous accolades, including worldwide recognition for her project “Signed, Sealed & Undelivered” on the rediscovered trunk of 2,600 undelivered 17th century letters. 
Dr Brysbaert’s contributions to archaeology range from how long-term perspectives can help understand people’s resilience strategies; and the relation between circular economies, technologies and societal practices; through to theoretical thought that can influence approaches to museum display. Ann has also played a large role in heritage protection, particularly in the Aegean and Eastern Mediterranean. She speaks five languages, is a regular elected member of the Society of Antiquaries in London, and has written over 70 works, including eight books.
Dr Knoef has focused her economics research on societal questions, such as retirement savings and health care costs for the elderly. She was the leader of a project with the OECD. She regularly informs international delegations, such as the IMF, the World Economic Forum and National and foreign ministries of her research. Marike has excellent teaching and public speaking skills and has organized three major international conferences. She has also published several articles on top economics journals.
Dr Maeckelbergh’s social movement research examines the effects of the Alter-globalization Movement on democracy and also how digital technology is changing society. Marianne has publicized groups that resist oppressive forces worldwide, filming short movies, with 2,000 to 75,000 viewings each and over 50 public screenings at film festivals. She is working with the Berkeley University in developing an app for Citizen Participation. Her work has earned her the Marie Curie International Fellowship and Aspasia Grant for outstanding female researchers.
Dr Nyst’s work in sign language is not only outstanding scientifically but also has great societal impact. She has created a website with an overview of African Sign Language and an e-forum on Deaf Studies in Africa, as well as organizing an International Workshop for African Sign Languages. 
Locally, Victoria is documenting the history of the hearing-impaired in Leiden and will this year complement the Leidse collection of wall poems with the screening of a poem in sign language.
Dr De Rijcke leads a research group on understanding academic evaluation and the comparative analysis of research practices. She co-authored the Leiden Manifesto for Research Metrics, published in Nature. The Manifesto won the Ziman Award granted by the European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, of which Sarah is an elected council member. She is also a member of Science in Transition, a Dutch initiative to stimulate the involvement of society in shaping research agendas.
Dr Schrikker’s work has focused on colonial and global history, particularly Sri Lanka’s transition from Dutch to English rule and colonial interaction in Asia, as well as disaster politics, revealing a deep commitment to how ordinary people deal with social injustice and economic adversity. Alicia is an inspiring teacher who has built up a large community of scholars in Asia, developing new historical narratives that move beyond the Eurocentric paradigm, profoundly influencing national identities in Asia and Europe.
Dr Vijver is an internationally recognized expert in ecotoxicology.  Her considerable funding is used to study the effects of physical and chemical stressors on biodiversity and in particular the side effects of nanoparticles, trying to increase international awareness of potential risks. Martina also founded RISE, a network raising awareness in gender equality within science, and the Living Lab, which studies consequences of chemical compounds present in water, in outdoor research locations.
The research of Dr Van der Weijden into scientific careers and talent policies has been shared with many university Human Resource departments and public policy organizations, such as the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. She is a frequent speaker at workshops for PhD students and postdocs. Inge’s outreach work is extensive, and includes the founding of a nationwide platform for post-docs. She is furthermore studying young researchers who develop a career outside the sciences.


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