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Who deserves a Spinoza or Stevin Prize?

11 April 2024

Do you know a researcher affiliated to our university who really deserves a Spinoza or Stevin Prize? Someone who conducts groundbreaking research that has a global impact on their discipline? Or someone who translates the insights from their own research in an exceptional way, creating demonstrable societal impact? Then suggest this candidate now to your Scientific Director or Director of Research.

The dean may then propose this candidate to the rector for nomination. Annually, the rector may nominate, in a personal capacity and in strict confidentiality towards the candidates themselves, up to three candidates for these distinguished awards.

About the Spinoza and Stevin Prizes

Every year, NWO awards four prestigious prizes to exceptional researchers in the Netherlands:

  • The Spinoza Prize is awarded annually to two researchers who have carried out - and continue to carry out - groundbreaking research with high academic impact. Research that, by international standards, places them among the very best researchers worldwide.
  • The Stevin Prize is awarded annually to two researchers who have achieved exceptional success in the area of knowledge exchange and impact for society. Knowledge utilisation that has led to value creation and/or changes in society (cultural, economic, industrial, ecological, and/or social) and in which the researchers themselves have played a crucial role.

The nominations are assessed by a broad, international committee. The four Spinoza and Stevin laureates each receive €1.5 million as a reward and incentive for their exceptional work. As figureheads of Dutch science, they also inspire early-career researchers.

Criteria and conditions for suitable candidates

The criteria and weighting listed below applied to last year's nominations (2024) and are subject to any potential changes by NWO for the upcoming 2025 nomination round.

  • Candidates should have a permanent position at one of the research institutes in the Netherlands (as defined in Article 1.1, paragraph 1 of the NWO Grant Regulations 2017);
  • candidates should be able to spend the prize fully before their retirement age, therefore, only candidates who are at least five years away from retirement age on 1 October 2025 are eligible (many previous Leiden laureates were between 46-55 years old at the time of nomination);
  • candidates may not have already received a Stevin Prize or a Spinoza Prize.
  1. (Inter)nationally acknowledged scientific quality and impact (weighting 20%).
  2. Leadership and the power to attract early-stage researchers (weighting 20%).
  3. Knowledge exchange and impact (including outreach activities) (weighting 60%).

The Stevin Prize is expected to enable the candidate to make substantial advances in applying research results.

For further information on the Prize and the criteria, see the Brochure NWO Stevin Prize 2024 and read more about previous Stevin Laureates here.

  1. (Inter)nationally acknowledged academic/scientific quality and impact (weighting 70%).
  2. Leadership and the power to attract early-stage researchers (weighting 20%).
  3. Knowledge exchange and impact (including outreach activities) (weighting 10%).

The NWO Spinoza Prize is expected to significantly advance the candidate’s research.

For further details on the Prize and the criteria, see: Brochure NWO Spinoza Prize 2024 and read more about previous Spinoza Laureates here.


Given the confidential nature of the nomination procedure, it is not shared which candidates the rector considers and ultimately selects for nomination. If NWO finds that this confidentiality is not guaranteed, NWO reserves the right to refuse the nomination. You can rest assured that, if an internal candidate is submitted to the rector via the dean, their candidacy will be considered with due care. 

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