Ralph Temmink wins Agnites Vrolik Prize for pioneering work on ecosystem restoration

Ralph Temmink winnaar Agnites Vrolikprijs 2023

Ralph Temmink is the proud winner of the Agnites Vrolik Prize. On Friday 9 June, he was awarded the fourth edition of the prize worth €25,000 by Prof José van Dijck for his pioneering research on ecosystem restoration. 

Restoring ecosystems

Temmink, nominated by the Faculty of Geosciences and based at the Department of Sustainable Development (Copernicus Institute), is researching how to design and produce 3D-printed biodegradable structures mimicking nature which can be used in large-scale nature restoration. This approach has already been used to develop artificial reefs for the recovery of mussel- and oysterbeds in the Wadden Sea. "My fascination comes from the fact that we have already lost many ecosystems. I want to use my work to build knowledge about how specific ecosystems work and then look at how we can actually apply that knowledge to help ecosystem restoration. Currently, the methods to do this successfully and cost-effectively are still underdeveloped," Temmink said. 

Jury report

The jury, consisting of Prof Erik van Sebille, Dr René Kuijten MBA, Prof Marca Wauben, Dr Steven Martina and Jury President Prof José van Dijck was convinced because: 

  • The research concerns a large and topical global problem, the restoration of ecosystems
  • The societal impact of the research is very evident
  • The research is high-quality, transdisciplinary fundamental research
  • Ralph Temmink actively seeks connections with stakeholders such as conservation organisations, governments, educational institutions and industry
  • He works hard to highlight the importance of nature conservation and ecosystems in various media (e.g. in NOS news, National Geographic and Klokhuis)

Agnites Vrolik Prize

The Agnites Vrolik Prize, worth €25,000, was created for talented scientists whose research makes an important contribution to finding answers to societal issues. The prize is awarded in the presence of the Executive Board of Utrecht University.

Dr Agnites Vrolik (1810-1894) studied mathematics and physics at Utrecht University, where he also obtained his PhD in 1836. From 1854 to 1858, he served as minister of finance. He was one of the initiators of the establishment of an 'alumni fund' and the first chairman of the Utrecht University Fund when it was founded in 1886. 

The Agnites Vrolik Prize was established thanks to a bequest to the Utrecht University Fund by alumna Ms Cobi de Bree.