Fundamental research or fundamental science is the area of science that focuses on basic mechanisms and principles. The aim is to create knowledge for its own sake, without having to have a concrete application in mind. Scientific breakthroughs often come about when researchers more or less accidentally discover something. And the practical application of scientific discoveries then often only becomes clear in the long term. It therefore makes sense to give researchers free rein in their choice of subject. The KNAW report “Space for independent research” (2015) concluded that the (financial) scope for independent fundamental research has narrowed considerably over the past decade. The TWIN-figures (2016) and the Rathenau report “Chinese dishes” (2016) confirm this finding. Additionally, Ammodo has recognised a more limited availability of resources for researchers 10-15 years after receiving their PhDs. These insights have led to Ammodo and the KNAW together creating the Ammodo KNAW Award which gives both organisations new opportunities to contribute to the stimulation of fundamental science. Ammodo finances the award and, together with the KNAW, is responsible for the nomination and selection process, the communication and the awards ceremony.
José van Dijk, President of the KNAW: “The Ammodo KNAW Award is an important stimulus for fundamental research across the full range of sciences: from pure science, to the social and natural sciences. In addition, this award allows young researchers who are already halfway into their scientific careers the opportunity to enter as yet uncharted territory, with open minds searching for new knowledge”.
The first Ammodo KNAW Awards were made in 2015 to Caroline Klaver (Biomedical Sciences), Thijn Brummelkamp ( Biomedical Sciences), Asifa Majid (Humanities), Barteld Kooi (Humanities), Arwen Deuss (Natural Sciences), Ronald Hanson (Natural Sciences), Serge Dumoulin (Social Sciences) and Frank van Tubergen (Social Sciences).
The next Ammodo KNAW Awards will be presented in March 2017 to Jeroen Geurts (Biomedical Sciences), Eva van Rooij (Biomedical Sciences), Olivier Hekster (Humanities), Alicia Montoya (Humanties), Appy Sluijs (Natural Sciences), Guido van der Werf (Natural Sciences), Roshan Cools (Social Sciences), Eveline Crone (Social Sciences).