Annelien Bredenoord wins UU Publicity Award 2017

Annelien Bredenoord together with Annetje Ottow during the presentation. Photo by: Robert Oosterbeek.

Professor Dr Annelien Bredenoord, a professor of Ethics in Biomedical Innovation and tied to the Faculty of Medicine and the University Medical Center Utrecht, has won the Publicity Award 2017. She received the award from the Vice-President of the Executive Board, Annetje Ottow, on 8 January during the New Year's reception.

Bredenoord was frequently featured in the media for, among other things, the influence medical innovations such as stem-cell research, reproductive technology, Big Data and biobanks have on patient care and society. She recently appeared on the University of the Netherlands, where she spoke about ethical issues involving embryos that are not used anyway and ‘Designer Babies’, babies whose DNA has been engineered to the point that they do not have or develop chronic conditions or diseases.


“Annelien Bredenoord's research field is pre-eminently suitable to feature in public and to use in the social debate. Bredenoord does this frequently and also has an impressive scientific career on top of that. She knows how to combine these two matters in an outstanding way: she excellently translates her specialist field to practice, even though it's often about controversial matters,” the jury says.

“Bredenoord seeks out the nuance and then socially translates it and ties it to current events.”

The jury of the UU Publicity Award 2017


According to the jury, Bredenoord is a scientist who can serve as a role model to many other scientists. With her clear vision and her courage to enter sensitive subjects into public debate, she can be called a pioneer. On top of that, Bredenoord keeps seeking out the interdisciplinary angle, for instance by spending time with medical-biological researchers, such as Hans Clevers, to call out the social implications of fundamental acquired knowledge. The jury: “Bredenoord seeks out the nuance and then socially translates it and ties it to current events.”


Based on a well-measured compilation of media appearances in the academic year 2016-2017, three other professors were nominated for the Publicity Award besides Bredenoord: the labour economist Joop Schippers, historian Beatrice de Graaf and palaeontologist Jelle Reumer. “All nominees succeed in bringing their fields closer to people,” the jury states. “They bring up themes in the media that the university recognises as outlines - such as sustainability, life sciences, integration and diversity. They are scientists that the university can be proud of and with whom it loves to present itself to the outside world.”


The UU Publicity Award consists of a budget for making a video about the winning scientist's research. With the UU Publicity Award, the university wants to encourage Utrecht-based academics to generate publicity for their research, to participate in the social debate and to help solve social problems.


The jury of the UU Publicity Award 2017 consisted of Distinguished Professor Naomi Ellemers (president), the winner of the Publicity Award 2016 Martin van den Berg, lecturer/researcher Media and Gender Studies Linda Duits, science journalist Joep Engels of the newspaper Trouw and head of external communication of Utrecht University Sandy van Heerde.