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Sabine van der Asdonk wins Gratama Science Prize 2021

For her research into complex family problems, an assistant professor in Forensic Family and Youth Care Studies Sabine van der Asdonk has won the Gratama Science Prize 2021, a prize for talented young researchers from the universities of Leiden and Groningen. The jury praised Van der Asdonk’s excellent research skills and her drive to improve youth care.

‘Talent and drive’

Sabine van der Asdonk, an assistant professor in the Forensic Family and Youth Care Studies research group at the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, has worked at Leiden University since 2014. In her research she focuses on vulnerable families with complex problems such as domestic violence. She researched whether effective family interventions can help prevent children being taken into care by the youth care service and how to make sure that decisions about taking children into care are taken more carefully.

The jury praised Van der Asdonk for her ability to work methodically to bridge the gap between science, practice and society, for instance in her intensive work with practitioners for her research. The jury said: ‘Sabine’s excellent research skills, her drive to improve the care for the most vulnerable families and the fact that she is an extremely pleasant person to work with make her a most deserving winner of the Gratama Science Prize.’

Van der Asdonk received the prize on Friday 25 June at a ceremony at the Academy Building in Leiden. As winner of the Gratama Science Prize she receives the sum of € 20,000 to use for her further academic development. The prize is provided by the Gratama Foundation, a family fund that has long-standing links with the Leiden University Fund and Leiden University.

In good company

For the Gratama Science Prize 2021, two other young Leiden researchers were nominated: linguist Evelyn Bosma from the Faculty of Humanities and neurologist Maartje Huijbers from the LUMC. As runners-up they each will receive a prize of € 2,500.

Runner-up Evelyn Bosma 

Linguist Evelyn Bosma conducts research into bilingualism, mainly in Frisian-Dutch children. Her use of advanced psycholinguistic techniques (including eye-tracking and EEG) and the little-studied population of bilingual Frisian-Dutch children make her research innovative in the field. With ever more children growing up bilingual, the results of Bosma’s research are relevant not only within but also outside the Frisian context. 

Runner-up Maartje Huijbers

LUMC researcher Maartje Huijbers conducts research into auto-immunity in rare muscle disorders. She demonstrated her exceptional talent by discovering two new molecular disease mechanisms, which she is now developing into a therapy for muscle disorders such as ALS, myasthenia gravis and spasticity. She is also passionately involved in outreach, teaching and management activities, thus helping further professionalise scientific research in the field of auto-immunity and muscle diseases. 

Text: Julia Nolet

The Gratama Science Prize

The Gratama Prize was established by the Gratama Foundation, a family fund dating from 1925 that supports and stimulates societally relevant projects in the field of research and teaching. The prize is for talented young researchers at the universities of Leiden and Groningen. It has been awarded annually since 2012, in odd years to a researcher from Leiden and in even years to one from Groningen. The LUF’s Committee for Academic Expenditure makes the preliminary selection for Leiden.

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