Societal Impact Award

Societal Impact candy bar

The Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance hands out the yearly Societal Impact Award to highlight the societal impact of work by students and staff and to show appreciation of the students and staff concerned.

We strongly believe that our research and education should have societal impact. And every year, students and staff at the faculty prove their commitment to this aim. In all kinds of ways, they contribute towards tackling societal issues and helping to find solutions.

How to be eligible for the award

To be eligible for the award, in the last year you must, either yourself or in a small group, have led or delivered a social project or achievement with a large societal impact. Another condition is that there must be a link with the teaching or research of the faculty.

The award, which consists of € 1000, will be presented annually during the New Year’s Reception.

How to submit a nomination

You can send your nomination for staf nominations until Monday 2 December 2019 11:59 am to: Please indicate if it is a student nomination or an employee nomination. 

Nominations must be accompanied by the following:

  • A motivation of the nomination, maximum 1 A4, in Dutch or English, which demonstrates the societal impact and makes a substantive link with the teaching/research of the Faculty of Law, Economics and Governance.
  • A description of the content and extent of the extracurricular activities of the nominated candidate (maximum one side of A4).

For students:

  •  A CV (maximum 1 page) of the nominated candidate and insight into the student’s academic process.

More info about the award

The award will be presented every year to a student or group of students or member(s) of staff who has or have clearly contributed towards tackling and helping to solve a societal issue in a way that is either directly or indirectly linked to education or research at the faculty. Their contribution may be at macro level, for example, in an international human rights organisation, or at micro level, for instance, by providing assistance to a refugee in their own living environment.

The selection procedure

A jury will select the three best student projects/achievements and the three best staff projects/achievements from all the entries and a winner will be chosen for each category.

In its deliberations, the jury will examine the substantive evidence of the societal impact. It should not only be a striking story, but it should also be supported by evidence demonstrating the societal impact or the realistic likelihood of the societal impact being achieved.


  • Prof. Mirko Noordegraaf, vice dean faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, chair
  • Rebecca van Musscher, project leader faculty of Law, Economics and Governance, secretary
  • Anne-Wil Dijkstra, Choco Co-Captain, Tony's Chocolonely, member
  • Prof. Elisabetta Manunza, Utrecht University School of Law, member
  • Dr. Hein Roelfsema, Utrecht University School of Economics, member
  • Prof. Maarten van Bottenburg, Utrecht University School of Governance, member
  • Michelle Kleine Deters, law student and winner 2018, member

Conditions for nominations for the Societal Impact Award

To stand a chance of winning the award, the student or member of staff must be nominated. It is also possible to nominate a group, but they must have worked jointly to deliver or lead the project or achievement.

Students and members of staff can nominate themselves or someone else. A final condition is that the project or achievement must have been carried out in the last year.


Winners 2019

The Social Impact Award was awarded in 2019 to the group of students who voluntarily work at the Juridisch Spreekuur voor Gedetineerden in the prisons of Nieuwegein and Nieuwersluis. In that weekly consultation hour, students in pairs visit detainees in the institution to help them with legal questions of all kinds. Rent law, dismissal law, fines, guardianship, the regime in prison, questions about legal proceedings. All kinds of questions for which the lawyers of the prisoners often don't have the time.

The Social Impact Award for employees went to Peter Linde and Jeroen Vermeulen, the founders and coordinators of the Learning Lab Overvecht. This lab originated four years ago from an Erasmus+ project on 'Community Enterprise Action Learning' and has grown into a university-wide educational innovation programme on 'Community engagement'.

Previous winners 

In January 2017 the Impact Award was handed out to employees Marij Swinkels, Hilke Grootelaar and Elena Valbusa for the project InclUUsion and to student Francesca Ali for the project Taste before you waste.

In January 2018  Paulien de Morree en Herman Kasper Gilissen won for the foundation Initiatives for Peace and Human Rights, that supports people in the Great Lakes region in Africa with education and knowledge on human rights. Student Gerben Hiemstra (research master Multidisciplinary Economics and a bachelor student of Law) won the student version of the award. He helps to establish study associations in het Dutch MBO (professional education).