Bas van Bavel appointed as Distinguished University Professor

Prof. Bas van Bavel has been appointed Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University as of 1 April. The appointment is for 0.3 FTE. "I want to use this new position to further stimulate cooperation within Social Sciences & Humanities and to help link SSH expertise better with technological and biomedical expertise, to contribute to solutions regarding the major issues in society."

Historicus prof. dr. Bas van Bavel.
Professor Bas van Bavel

According to Bas van Bavel, the SSH perspective is not only crucial when it comes to issues such as social polarisation, growing inequalities, or the future of democracy and the rule of law. It is also a necessary complement to the often highly technological approach to other issues, be it the corona crisis, energy transition or digitisation. Van Bavel: "We see more and more clearly how SSH expertise is necessary to arrive at socially acceptable solutions and to actually convert technological knowledge into earning power and prosperity. As university professor, I am explicitly given the task of propagating this. In Utrecht, but also nationally, such as through the KNAW and the SSH Council, and Europe-wide, through the LERU and through contacts in Brussels. I'm really looking forward to it."


At Utrecht University, Van Bavel is scientific director of the Strategic Theme 'Institutions for Open Societies'. The central theme of Van Bavel's own research is the development of successful societies: what institutional conditions are needed to build a good society? In answering this question, Van Bavel, as a historian, often seeks cooperation with scientists from other disciplines or partners outside the university, such as in the research on broad prosperity that he conducts together with the Rabobank.

We see more and more clearly how expertise from the Social Sciences and Humanities is necessary to arrive at socially acceptable solutions.

In 2019, Bas van Bavel was awarded a Spinoza Prize. According to the selection committee, Van Bavel's work is characterised by a broad interest and a powerful research agenda, in which he always manages to find surprising, original angles of approach. He writes in authoritative international journals and frequently appears in the media, among other things effectively putting broad welfare on the agenda in public debate.

Distinguished University professors

Since 2002 Utrecht University has had a limited group of scientists appointed as university professors. A university professor guarantees innovative education and research and can work on these in complete freedom. Furthermore, a university professor plays a profiling role in the academic and social debate.