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The two Amsterdam-based universities, the UvA and VU Amsterdam, have a new platform for talented young researchers: the Amsterdam Young Academy (AYA). The first thirty members were announced today. AYA is intended to become a new, independent platform where talented young researchers from both universities can come together and foster novel perspectives on science and society.

Credits: Sander Nieuwenhuys

The AYA is an initiative of five Amsterdam-based members and former members of The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences: Kristine Steenbergh (VU), Rens Vliegenthart (UvA), Sjoerd Repping (AMC/UvA), Hilde Geurts (UvA) and Jeroen de Ridder (VU). The former members felt that, like other cities, Amsterdam deserved its own young academy, which should focus on free intellectual debate and have an independent, opinion-forming role. The academy will promote not only collaboration between the UvA and VU Amsterdam, but also between the two universities and the city of Amsterdam.


AYA will be officially launched on 6 November. The thirty new members will be installed by Taco Dibbits, General Director of the Rijksmuseum.

‘The enthusiasm all the new members have for science is electrifying! Not only for their own research but also about how science and knowledge in general can be put to use to benefit the city of Amsterdam and its inhabitants. Whether they are conducting research into history, technology or philosophy, every one of the new members has ideas about how their research can be of value to society. As trailblazers, we are immensely proud of this fantastic crop of initial members and we are eager to know what they will do as a group. You’ll be hearing more from them,’ says Sjoerd Repping, chair of the trailblazers board.

First thirty members

The initial board selected the first thirty members from candidates nominated by the UvA and VU Amsterdam. The faculties were asked to nominate people with proven talent who had been awarded a PhD within the last eight years. Other important criteria were: clear enthusiasm for science, for interdisciplinarity and for applying science to society. The membership will be expanded by the current members of the Amsterdam branch of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Science's Young Academy. The first thirty members are:


VU Amsterdam:

  • Bianca Buurman
  • Katinka van der Kooij
  • Sebastian Altmeyer
  • Marieke de Hoon
  • Thomas Mensink
  • Yarin Eski
  • Helmer Helmers
  • Anastasia Sergeeva
  • Bram Mellink
  • Pieter Coppens
  • Carla Ribeiro
  • Josine de Winter
  • Marit Van Gils
  • Linda Douw
  • Matthijs Brouwer
  • Ghizlane Aarab
  • Maria Weimer
  • Rik Peels
  • Marci Cottingham
  • Miriam Wijkman
  • Sanne Kruikemeier
  • Antske Fokkens
  • Umberto Olcese
  • Ronald Kroeze
  • Leonie Schmidt
  • Ivano Malavolta
  • Eddie Brummelman
  • Silke Muylaert
  • Shaul Shalvi
  • Denise Duijster 

About  AYA

The Amsterdam Young Academy (AYA) will bring together 30 young talented researchers from VU Amsterdam and the University of Amsterdam (UvA). AYA is an independent platform in which excellent researchers and lecturers from different disciplines will meet each other to develop views on science and scientific policy. At the same time, AYA provides opportunities for its members to conduct interdisciplinary research and aims to build bridges between science and society in Amsterdam.