KNAW Early Career Award for Marielle Wijermars and Christian Herff

Marielle Wijermars and Christian Herff will receive this year's KNAW Early Career Award. The Award is intended for researchers in the Netherlands who are at the beginning of their careers and who have innovative, original ideas. The prize, awarded annually, rewards their exceptional achievements with a sum of 15,000 euros and a unique work of art. The KNAW Early Career Award is being presented for the fifth time this year.

The prize

The KNAW Early Career Award consists of a cash prize of 15,000 euros. This sum may be spent by the laureates as they see fit on their research careers.

All laureates also receive the art object Extended Jewellery by Laura Klinkenberg. This is a brass screw with a "twist," symbolizing both coming up with new ideas and contrariness in art and science. The creator of the artwork won the art competition with Extended Jewellery at the first edition of the KNAW Early Career Award.

Marielle Wijermars

Mariëlle Wijermars 

Associate Professor of Cybersecurity and Politics, Maastricht University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences

Mariëlle Wijermars researches information control in authoritarian states such as Russia, with a specific focus on digital platforms. Her expertise extends to visible and invisible mechanisms that influence these information flows. Innovative to Wijermars' research is her approach to digital platforms as political actors. Here she analyzes in what ways the terms of use and algorithms of these platforms play a role in the political processes of non-democratic states. This starting point makes it possible to examine the set of mechanisms through which the circulation of information can be influenced.

Christian Herff

Christian Herff

Assistant Professor Computer Science, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience (MHeNS), Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences, Maastricht University

Herff conducts research in the areas of brain-computer interfaces and neuroprosthetics, and pursues links between natural and artificial intelligence. His work includes the development of algorithms for invasive electrophysiology (the study of the electrical properties of cells and tissues), with which he has created a neuroprosthesis that converts brain signals into high-quality audio. This innovation could allow people who can no longer speak due to brain damage to produce sound by imagining they are talking.

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