14 December 2017

For their excellent research and contributions to French-Dutch cooperation

Descartes-Huygens Prize for Daniël Vanmaekelbergh

Prof. Daniël Vanmaekelbergh of the Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science and French physicist Manuel Bibes have won the Descartes-Huygens Prize 2017. The prize is awarded by the KNAW, the French Embassy in the Netherlands, and the Académie des Sciences. The two nanoscientists were presented with the award for their excellent research and contributions to French-Dutch cooperation. With the 23,000 Euro cash prize, the scientists will be able to reinforce their collaboration with research groups in the other country.

Daniël Vanmaekelbergh
Daniël Vanmaekelbergh

Chemist Daniël Vanmaekelbergh (1958) is Professor of Condensed Matter and Surfaces at Utrecht University’s Debye Institute for Nanomaterials Science. He has written around 250 scientific articles in leading international journals, and has received a number of major European and American research grants, including an ERC Advanced Grant for his research into the chemistry and physics of solid substances.

Vanmaekelbergh aims to use the Descartes-Huygens Prize to reinforce his collaboration with research groups in Lille, Grenoble, Paris and Bordeaux. One of the goals of these partnerships is to develop a special type of semiconductor with a so-called Dirac-type structure. In Utrecht, this semiconductor is made up of nanocrystals, while in Lille and Bordeaux, it is etched using nanolithography techniques.

>> Read more about Daniël Vanmaekelbergh


Manuel Bibes
Manuel Bibes

Materials scientist Manuel Bibes (1976) studies metal oxides. Bibes is Research Director of the institute Unité Mixte de Physique, a collaborative effort by electronics firm Thales and the French government organisation for fundamental research, CNRS. He is known for his research into so-called thin-film oxides and their use in spintronics. Despite his young age, he is already considered one of the top scientists in his field. He has several patents to his name, publishes frequently in leading scientific journals, and has received many grants including an ERC Consolidator research subsidy.

Bibes aims to use his Descartes-Huygens Prize to spend three months conducting research at the Center for Cognitive Systems and Materials at the University of Groningen, and to visit the nano labs at the University of Twente. The three organisations hope to combine their expertise in order to develop energy-efficient electronics, for example.

About the Descartes-Huygens Prize

The Descartes-Huygens Prize was created by the French and Dutch governments in 1995. The prize is awarded to one French and one Dutch researcher in recognition of their excellent research and contributions to Franco-Dutch cooperation. The KNAW selects the French candidate, while the Dutch candidate is chosen by the Académie des Sciences. The cash prize of € 23,000 associated with the award is intended to cover the expenses of being a guest researcher in either the Netherlands or France. The festive presentation of the Descartes-Huygens Prize will be held in Paris in early 2018.


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