Researchers and students honoured during Opening of the Academic Year

Mayor Aboutaleb presents the Rotterdam Thesis Prize at the Opening of the Academic Year 2017

Six scholars and students will be honoured during the Opening of the Academic Year on Monday, 3 September. They are the winners of the academic awards which will then be presented in the Laurenskerk.

During the Opening of the Academic Year, Rector Magnificus Professor Rutger Engels will present the Education and Research Prize, the Professor H. W. Lambers Prize, the Professor Bruins Prize and the Rotterdam Thesis Prize:

This year's Education Prize goes to Professor Maarten Frens, founding dean of Erasmus University College (EUC). According to the jury, from the very start he has shown unflagging dedication to the development of the EUC curriculum. "Frens has created new teaching formats, educational themes and complete curricula and was closely involved in setting up EUC’s talent development programme."

This year the Research Prize goes to: Dr Daphne van de Bongardt, assistant professor in the Psychology, Education & Child Studies department of Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences (ESSB). Her research focuses on understanding and promoting young people’s relational and sexual development. The jury lauds Van de Bongardt for her research’s social impact and relevance and is very enthusiastic about its creative theme and the creative ways in which Dr Van de Bongardt collects data.

The Professor H. W. Lambers Prize is awarded to two outstanding students with two master degrees: Maikel Samsom and Sadaf Soloukey. Samsom graduated Summa Cum Laude from Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) with a master in Economics & Business Economics and also Summa Cum Laude from Erasmus School of Law (ESL) with a master in Liability & Insurance. At the same time, he obtained a bachelor degree in Philosophy – again cum laude. Sadaf Soloukey completed three full-time master programmes: the Neuroscience research master programme, and master programmes in Philosophy (cum laude), and Health, Economics, Policy and Law. For her master thesis in Philosophy, she received the Jan Brouwers thesis award.  

Sadaf Soloukey also has two academic titles so far: one in Medicine (valedictorian) and one in Philosophy in Medicine (cum laude).

This year, the Professor H. W. J. Bruins Prize, for research master students who excel in terms of academic performance and research qualities, goes to Eva Janssens. In 2016 Eva Janssens graduated Summa Cum Laude from Erasmus School of Economics with a Bachelor’s degree in Econometrics and Operations Research. She also took part in the Bachelor Honours Research Class. As co-author, she already has several articles to her name.

The Rotterdam Thesis Prize for best thesis on a Rotterdam theme was won by Evan van der Holst with his thesis ‘A Search for a Fertilizer for Social Enterprises’. In his master thesis, Van der Holst, who has a Master in Management degree from RSM, Erasmus University, focuses on how social entrepreneurs manage their businesses and what these entrepreneurs need from their surrounding ecosystem to upscale their business.

All information about the prize winners here.

  • About the Opening of the Academic Year

    The Opening of the Academic Year on Monday, 3 September marks the start of Erasmus University's 105th anniversary celebrations. The university is celebrating this 21st anniversary together with the city of Rotterdam and its residents with the theme: ‘Science Meets City: Getting to know each other’. The Opening will be held in the Laurenskerk. 'Value in diversity' is the theme of the Opening, which will be presented by two students. All information and registrations at:

More information

Press Office Erasmus University Rotterdam, +31 10 408 12 16 or