Researchers of TU Delft contribute globally recognised research in fields as diverse as quantum nano, bio-nanotechnology, civil engineering, maritime technology, architecture, transport, water management, aerospace technology and robotics. Some of them have been awarded an honorary distinction or prize for their academic achievements, or received a substantial research grant. We are proud to present a selection of these prizes and the scientists that won them.

On this page, we have included both the excellence programs of the ERC and NWO, which are seen as important indicators for scientific excellence (see for example the national ‘Balans van de Wetenschap’ (Science balance sheet), as well as important accreditations that focus specifically on engineering sciences.  

Fotocredits header: NWO, fotografie: Bram Saeys

Excellence programmes

The European Union grants, through the European Research Council (ERC) scholarships to scientists doing fundamental and ground-breaking research. The ERC awards five types of grants. There are personal grants for early-career scientists (Starting Grant), grants for more experienced scientists (Consolidator Grant) and grants for established researchers leading in their field (Advanced Grant).

The ERC Proof of Concept Grant helps ERC grant holders to bridge the gap between research and commercial or societal potential. In addition to the personal grants, ERC also awards a grant to ground-breaking, interdisciplinary partnerships: the Synergy Grant. ERC grants granted to TU Delft scientists, are included in the ERC Timeline.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is one of the main funders of science in the Netherlands. The organization awards, among other prizes, the Spinoza Prize - the highest award in the Netherlands for fundamental science. The Stevin Prize can be considered as the equivalent of this within the applied sciences. In addition, NWO awards the main, national personal excellence subsidie: the Talent Scheme (Veni, Vidi, Vici) for researchers conducting innovative research. Excellent teamwork can be distinguished with a Gravitation (Zwaartekracht) grant, intended for scientific consortia that have the potential to be among the world leaders in their field.

Below you can find an overview of grants awarded by NWO during the previous year.

Vici 2020

Protein Sequencing Using Ultrahigh Resolution Single-Molecule Fluorescence
Dr. C. Joo

Vidi 2020

Assess bridge safety from space
Dr. G. Giardina

Hyperrealistic robotic systems to maximize post-stroke recovery
Dr. L. Marchal-Crespo

Veni 2020

Unravelling the aerodynamics of mating mosquitoes
Dr. A-J. Buchner

HARMONIA: Trustworthy Mobile Robotics
Dr. L. Ferranti

Widely available sensors help us find our way indoors
Dr. ir. drs. M. Kok

(To) correct compensation
Dr. ir. E. van der Kruk

Single-electron sensor of Majorana particles
Dr. F.K. Malinowski

Trustworthy programming languages for trustworthy software
Dr. J. Cockx

Enabling accurate computer simulations by developing the mathematics of splines
Dr. ir. D. Toshniwal,

A multiscale approach towards future road infrastructure: How to design sustainable paving materials?
Dr. A. Varveri

CrowdIT Space: design and impact assessment of IT-based crowd management solutions for pedestrian spaces
Dr. ir. D.C. Duives

Designing for the future: improving technological and policy decision-making for sustainable aviation
Dr. I.C. Dedoussi

Autonomous drones flocking for search-and-rescue
Dr. A. Jamshidnejad

Modeling Solid-State Batteries, creating a multiscale bridge between computations and experiments for superior electrochemical storage
Dr. ir. A. Vasileiadis

Her Office: a historical analysis of the role of gender in the design of corporate buildings and interiors, 1950-present
Dr A.R. Thomas

Zooming in on star factories in the early Universe
Dr M. Rybak

Apart from general prizes and grants, there are specific distinctions within the beta and engineering sciences that can be regarded as a proxy for excellence. Important recognitions include the Prins Friso Engeneering prize, which is awarded annually to the Dutch engineer of the year: an engineer who distinguishes his or herself in expertise, innovative capacity, social impact and entrepreneurship. Once every five years, the Christiaan Huygens science prize is dedicated to physics and likewise once every five year the prize is dedicated to information and communication technology.

In 2020, various award ceremonies were cancelled or postponed unfortunately. Nonetheless, several specific distinctions within the beta and engineering sciences were awarded to TU Delft scientists. For example, the Dutch Prize for ICT Research was awarded to a TU Delft scientist for the second time in a row: this year, the honour went to prof.dr. Pablo Cesar. He is given the award for his research on modelling and controlling complex collections of media objects. Dr. Emiel Lorist received the KWG Price for his doctoral research. Ad van Well and colleagues (3mE) received the Vanadium award, for the best scientific article concerning research into vanadium. Additionally, dr. Arthur Gorter de Vries (Biotechnology) received the Westerdijk Award for the best dissertation of the year in the category Environmental & Applied Microbiology, and Jasmijn Hassing received the KNVM/MVMM Kiem Award for young microbiology researchers. The H.I. Waterman Sustainability Award was awarded to Marie-Eve Aubin-Tam. This award is presented biannually to a researcher working at Applied Sciences of TU Delft who contributes to developments that simultaneously strengthen our economy and improve the environment.

In 2019, several of these specific distinctions within the beta and engineering sciences were awarded to TU Delft scientists. For example, The Dutch Royal Insititute of Engineers (KIVI) awarded the KIVI Academic Society Award 2019 to Andy van den Dobbelsteen, professor of Climate Design & Sustainability and Prof.dr. Kobus Kuipers received, as one of the founders of “nanophotonics”, the Physica Prize 2019, a prize awarded annually to an eminent physicist working in the Netherlands. Additionally, Prof.dr. Elmar Eisemann received the Dutch Prize for ICT Research 2019, Dr. Dion Gijswijt was awarded the N.G. De Bruijn Prize by the Royal Dutch Mathematical Society for his influential paper on combinatorial optimisation, Dr. Menno Veldhorst has been awarded the Nicholas Kurti Science Prize 2019 for his ground-breaking work on silicon- and germanium-based electron spin quantum bits, and Prof.dr. Dariu Gavrila has received the Outstanding Research Award 2019 from the IEEE Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) Society.

In 2018, several of these specific distinctions within the beta and engineering sciences were awarded to TU Delft scientists. Dr. Nima Tolou, for example, was awarded the Prins Friso Engineering prize as Dutch Engineer of the Year, prof.dr. Mark van Loosdrecht received the prestigious Stockholm Water Prize, Hans de Jonge has been awarded the Hudig Medal – a medal only awarded once every five years - for his efforts in the fields of Housing and Urban Planning, Sybrand van der Zwaag was the first Dutch scientist to receive the Grande Médaille of the French Society for Metallurgy and Materials SF2M (Société Française de Metallurgie et de Matériaux), prof.dr. Jack Pronk was honored with the International Metabolic Engineering Award for his contribution to metabolic engineering and Jan Dirk Jansen received a Distinguished Membership and Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society of Petroleum Engineers.
Science, engineering and design: these are the cornerstones of research at TU Delft. Sometimes, researchers of TU Delft are awarded design prizes. A new grab design, developed by transport engineer Dingena Schot and her team in cooperation with the Dutch grab manufacturer Nemag, has won an international design prize in 2018, the Red Dot Award. Previously, the design received an Innovative Technology Award.

For more prizes and grants, see the overview with related news items on this page.

Related articles

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04 November 2020

Vidi grants for four leading TU Delft researchers

The Dutch Research Council (NWO) has awarded four TU Delft researchers a Vidi grant worth 800,000 euros.

01 October 2020

TRUST PV Project

TRUST PV Project

The Photovoltaic Material and Devices (PVMD) group at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) has been granted funding by the European Commission Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) under the Horizon 2020 framework programme for the TRUST-PV project.

24 September 2020

Ajay Seth receives Chan Zuckerberg grant for Open Source Software

Ajay Seth receives Chan Zuckerberg grant for Open Source Software

Ajay Seth, assistant professor at the Department of BioMechanical Engineering, has received a grant of US$190,000 from the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative DAF for his research on the development of Essential Open Source Software for Science. Ajay Seth is receiving the grant specifically for his ‘OpenSIM’ project, an open source biomechanics simulator to study movement to improve the usability, computational performance, maintenance and outreach of the OpenSim open source software and to support the education and training of its users around the world.

10 September 2020

50.000 euro NWO grant for four researchers of Applied Sciences

The Board of NWO Domain Science has awarded four researchers of Applied Sciences in the NWO Open Competition Domain Science – XS. Xiaozhou Ma, Dimphna Meijer, Caroline Paul and Toeno van der Sall will all receive 50.000 euros for their various projects.

03 September 2020

ERC Starting Grant for TU Delft researchers

ERC Starting Grant for TU Delft researchers

ERC has awarded its 2020 Starting Grants to early-career researchers. Two of them are scientists from TU Delft. This European funding will help individual scientists and scholars to build their own teams and conduct pioneering research.

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