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Legal psychologist Linda Geven wins Gratama Science Prize 2023

With her exciting research into criminal truth finding in Europe, Linda Geven won this year’s Gratama Science Prize for young talented scientists. As the winner of the prize, Geven received the sum of €20,000 to use for her research. The jury believed that Geven belongs to ‘a new generation of legal psychologists, who are making a new indispensable contribution to enhancing criminal truth finding.’

Geven is a lecturer at the Institute of Criminal Law and Criminology at Leiden Law School and examines the reliability of police interrogations and false confessions of suspects. To do so, she looks at judicial errors in various European countries to uncover patterns, characteristics, and differences. Last year, Geven received a Veni-grant to set up her research.

Theory and practice

Not only were the judges impressed by the topical theme of Geven’s research, but also by the fact that Geven has built up an impressive CV in a short time. Aside from her position as lecturer, Geven is also the secretary of the European Society of Psychology and Law. According to the jury report, this position offers her a unique opportunity to promote European research in this field. Geven further acts as an expert in criminal cases and can regularly be seen in the media or at public outreach events and symposia. From the jury report: ‘Her important research in this relevant area of society and her relentless efforts to translate it into legal practice and bring it to the attention of a wider audience were the decisive point for the Gratama Foundation.’

The Gratama Foundation

Geven accepted the award on Thursday 22 June at the Academy Building. The Gratama prize for young scientific talent is awarded annually; in odd years to a researcher from Leiden and in even years to a researcher from Groningen. The prize is provided by the Gratama Foundation, a family fund that has had a long-standing relationship with the Leiden University Fund and Leiden University. With the prize money, Geven hopes to make a positive impact on reviewing judicial errors in the European context to understand and prevent wrongful convictions.

Tom Theuns, Reinier Gratama, Linda Geven, and Dorine Schellens


Every year, three talented researchers are nominated for the prize. The two runners-up each received a sum of €2,500 for their research.

Runner-up Dorine Schellens examined the politically charged interaction between German and Russian cultural history of the 20th and 21st centuries with a focus on literature and art. Aside from her research, Schellens is committed to helping students and academics touched by the war in Ukraine by connecting them to mentors across Europe. Earlier this year, Schellens won an award for the impact of her public engagement, awarded by LUCAS (Leiden University Centre for the Arts in Society).

The research by the other runner-up, Tom Theuns, also touches on a topical theme. The political scientist examined how the EU could and should react to the democratic decline in its member states. He hopes his research can provide  new concrete tools to stop further democratic decline within the EU.

Together for science

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 awarded to talented young researchers at the universities of Leiden and Groningen. The foundation works closely with the Groningen University Fund and the Leiden University Fund.

Photo: Monique Shaw

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