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Anna van Duijvenvoorde receives Heineken Young Scientists Award

The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) has awarded the Heineken Young Scientist Award 2020 in the Social Sciences to developmental psychologist Anna van Duijvenvoorde for her research on the development of the brain and behaviour in adolescents.

Anna van Duijvenvoorde has received the Heineken Young Scientist Award 2020 in the field of Social Sciences. (Photo: KNAW/Milette Raats)
Anna van Duijvenvoorde has received the Heineken Young Scientist Award 2020 in the field of Social Sciences. (Photo: KNAW/Milette Raats)

The Heineken Young Scientists Awards are important incentive prizes for young researchers whose outstanding achievements mean that they set an example for other young scientists. Each prize comprises a monetary award of EUR 10,000 and an artwork. 

The jury describes Anna van Duijvenvoorde as an outstanding researcher who is able to make her work accessible to a wider group of interested parties. She is curious and innovative, but also a bridge-builder who is part of an impressive network of top researchers. She inspires and supports young scientists. Above all, she is a researcher who dares to steer her own course, qualities that are indispensable for carrying out challenging top-class research and training young researchers.

Research on development of the brain  

In her research, Van Duijvenvoorde looks at how teenagers’ brains and behaviour change. During the teenage years, the brain undergoes an important development as we learn to empathise with others and our peers become more important to us. Van Duijvenvoorde wants to know how these changes affect the choices that teenagers make. She attempts to answer such questions as: Why do teenagers find unfamiliar risks interesting? How do they discover whom they can trust? And what motivates them? Her work involves fundamental research but can have important practical applications. For example, her research on how young people learn can help us understand the impact of online education during the corona crisis.

About the laureate

Anna van Duijvenvoorde studied psychology at the University of Amsterdam and graduated cum laude in 2007. Her PhD in developmental psychology was also cum laude. While working on her PhD, she spent several months in New York, doing research at Columbia University and the Sackler Institute for Developmental Psychobiology. She has been an associate professor at the Developmental and Educational Psychology department at Leiden University since 2019. Van Duijvenvoorde has received numerous major grants for her research, including a Sara van Dam project grant from the KNAW and an Open Research Area Grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO).

Heineken Young Scientists Awards

Anna van Duijvenvoorde is one of four researchers to receive a Heineken Young Scientists Award this year. The winners are selected from four fields: Medical/Biomedical Sciences, Humanities, Natural Sciences and Social Sciences. The jury comprises KNAW members and members or alumni of The Young Academy and was chaired this year by Carl Figdor, a member of KNAW and Professor of Immunology at Radboud University of Nijmegen. The prize consists of a monetary award of 10,000 euros, funded by the Alfred Heineken Fondsen Foundation, and an artwork. The Heineken Young Scientists Awards belong to the Heineken Prizes for Arts and Sciences that are awarded every two years; there are ten prizes in total. The laureates of the Heineken Awards will receive their prizes on Thursday 1 October 2020.

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