Prof. Alexander Rinnooy Kan, university professor of Economics and Business at the University of Amsterdam (UvA), has been selected to receive the 2014 Academy Medal of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW).
This distinction is presented biennially to an individual who has made a special contribution to the advancement of science and scholarship in the Netherlands. This year's prize will be awarded during the KNAW's Academy Afternoon on Monday, 26 May at the Trippenhuis in Amsterdam.
Pearl Dykstra, KNAW vice-president and jury chair: ‘There are few people in this country who can compare with Alexander Rinnooy Kan in terms of the drive and persistence with which he has dedicated himself to science. He is the consummate intermediary between science, politics and society’. The jury further lauds his erudition and charisma and the seemingly inexhaustible energy with which Rinnooy Kan is ever at the ready to aid and advise a wide range of social organisations.
Rinnooy Kan (1949) studied Mathematics in Leiden and Econometrics in Amsterdam. He subsequently worked at the Delft University of Technology and Erasmus University Rotterdam, where he was appointed professor of Operational Research in 1980, director of the Econometrics Institute in 1983 and rector magnificus in 1986. After stepping down as president of the VNO and its successor the VNO-NCW employers' confederation (from 1991 and 1995, respectively), Rinnooy Kan joined the executive board of bank and insurer ING in 1996, holding this position until June 2006. From 2006 to 2012, he was a Crown-appointed member and chair of the Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands (SER). In 2012, Rinnooy Kan was appointed university professor of Economics and Business at the UvA, with a specific focus on change processes at the micro and macro level.
As a frequent adviser to the government, Rinnooy Kan has chaired a diverse range of commissions on topics from the functioning of the public broadcasting system to the looming teacher shortage. He was a member of the first Innovation Platform, and at present is chair of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) of the Supervisory Board of the Prins Bernhard Culture Fund, and of the committee charged with evaluating the national police force.
The Academy Medal is presented to an individual who has made an exceptionally valuable contribution to the advancement of the broad spectrum of science and scholarship in the Netherlands, and more particularly to its translation to the social sphere. The silver medallion is awarded every two years in a field chosen alternately by the KNAW's Arts division and Sciences division. The jury for this year's Academy Medal, chaired by KNAW vice-president Pearl Dykstra, comprised KNAW members Christoph Lüthy, Jim van Os, Jan Smits and Bert Weckhuysen.