Opening of the Academic Year: an Erasmian contributes meaningful solutions to the society of the future

Opening Academisch Jaar 2018
Michelle Muus

On Monday 2 September, Executive Board President Kristel Baele opens the academic year with a presentation on Erasmus University’s new strategy. This ‘Strategy 2024’ focuses on training new academics and leaders in society who are capable of taking on the challenges facing the global community. Strategy 2024 has been developed based on the ‘one university’ concept and was realised with the input of scholars, students and stakeholders. The official opening of the academic year will be conducted by Prof. Rutger Engels, Rector Magnificus of Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Guest speaker Prof. Donna Dickenson
Technological developments are a strong driver of global change. They influence the way we live, work, learn, and conduct research. During her lecture, guest speaker Prof. Donna Dickenson (Emeritus Professor of Medical Ethics and Humanities) will speak about the impact new medical technologies have on societal issues relating to ethics, participation, and equality.

University awards
The following university awards will be presented during the Opening of the Academic Year:

  • Education Prize
    Prof. Han Smit has worked at Erasmus School of Economics since 2001 and is currently professor of Corporate Finance. He teaches Corporate Finance and is a visiting Fellow at NIAS (Netherlands Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities and Social Sciences). Hans Smit is a lecturer who is highly appreciated for his enthusiasm and his motivational approach to teaching.

  • Prof. Bruins Prize
    The Professor G.W. J. Bruins Prize is awarded to Maeve van den Aakster. She is a student in the Infection & Immunity research master programme, and she focuses on infectious diseases and the transmission of these viruses between humans and animals. In this context, Van den Aakster is specifically looking at the avian influenza virus. The purpose of her work is to understand which wild birds become infected with the avian flu virus and whether these birds can transmit the disease to chickens or humans. This ‘one health approach’ allows for improved prediction of outbreaks and facilitates preventing epidemics and making timely arrangements for interventions.

  • Research Prize
    Dr Carlos Riumallo Herl is an assistant professor at Erasmus School of Economics. His research interests are health economics and the economics of ageing. His research is of significant importance to society, both here in the Netherlands and abroad. Another of Dr Riumallo Herl’s achievements is the impact his research has within the academic community and society at large.

  • Prof. H.W. Lambers Prize
    Silvan Licher completed the Master in Medicine in 2016. During his studies he was part of the Erasmus MC Honours Class 2010, and after earning his master’s degree, he commenced with his doctoral programme at Erasmus MC’s Epidemiology department. During the initial period of his doctoral programme, he completed the Master in Clinical Epidemiology cum laude. The jury is impressed by the various extracurricular activities that Licher undertook during his studies, such as his collaboration with the General Practice Department for the benefit of students who want to expand their knowledge of basic medicine.

  • Rotterdam Thesis Award (joint initiative of the Municipality of Rotterdam and EUR)
    Myrthe van Delden is the winner of the 2019 Rotterdam Thesis Award for her study titled A design against crime. The researcher compiled extensive data with a case study based on a comprehensive analysis of the approach used in combating ‘subversive crime’ in Rotterdam Zuid. According to the media, the city of Rotterdam projects an image of being repressive when fighting crime and public nuisance. However, Rotterdam wishes to focus more on alternatives that promote ‘positive safety’. Her thesis explores more than just the repressive approach. It also looks at positive ways of influencing behaviour as part of the strategy for dealing with crime.

  • The media is cordially invited to attend the 2019-2020 Opening of the Academic Year. If you would like to attend, please let us know before 31 August by calling +31 (0)10 408 1216 or by sending an e-mail to We look forward to welcoming you on 2 September at 14:45, at which time we will give you a short briefing and discuss possible interviews. There will be an opportunity for interview sessions starting at 16:45.

More information

Press Office Erasmus University Rotterdam, +31 10 4081216 or

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Opening Academic Year 2019-2020

During this academic ceremony we will present our new strategy, based on our mission of creating positive societal impact.