Corine de Ruiter to accede to ‘learned society’

Corine de Ruiter to accede to ‘learned society’

"An honour and a change to expand my network"

23-02-2022

MAASTRICHT. Last week Corine de Ruiter, professor of Forensic Psychology, was appointed member of the Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen, KHMW (Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities). This organisation wants to bridge the gap between science and society. “This fits in with the person I am as a scientist.”

The names are similar, but this is not KNAW, the big brother that funds institutes and that has a firm hold on Dutch science policies. Not the ‘Dutch’ Academy but the ‘Holland’ Society. The KHMW is older, it dates from 1752, right in the middle of the Enlightenment, and was set up as a ‘learned society’.

De Ruiter feels that the appointment is a great honour. “It is like a kind of recognition for your work.” She sees opportunities to expand her network. “There are people present from completely different scientific fields. Together, you can come up with things that you wouldn’t as a group of psychologists.”

In addition to ‘members’ (all scientists), KHMW also has ‘directors’. These are representatives from society who are interested in science. People like, for example, Thom de Graaf, vice president of the Council of State, or Frederieke Leeflang, chairperson of NPO’s board of governors. De Ruiter would also like to meet with them. “I am constantly working on changes to the prison system and youth care. To achieve that, you need to know the right people.”

She is also looking forward to sitting in on the many committees, such as the assessment committee for one of the 140 science prizes that KHMW awards annually. “I’ll be 62 in August, not too much longer and I will be retiring. It would be a shame to go and live in a house in the South of France with all the experience and connections that I have acquired. This is one of the ways in which I can stay connected with science after life at the university.”

What is the KHMW?

The Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) was founded in 1752 by seven prominent citizens of Haarlem. The organisation is still located there, opposite the Teylers Museum, the oldest museum in the Netherlands. Almost a thousand people are involved in the KHMW: more than 400 'directors' (representatives of society with an interest in science), more than 500 'members' (scientists) and about 40 foreign members.

Awarding prizes has been an important task of the KHMW from the start. To reward science (there are prizes for theses, dissertations and whole oeuvres) and promote it (for research projects). Previous prize winners include Maastricht alumnus Matthijs Korevaar, who won the Van der Knaap Prize in 2021, an incentive prize for young researchers, and virologist Marion Koopmans, who won the Iris Medal for science communication last year.

The KHMW's biggest prize is the Brouwer Vertrouwens Prize. Every year, 100 thousand euros goes to a social initiative that strengthens mutual trust in Dutch society. Other prizes vary from 500 euros for the best profile paper of a secondary school student to 50 thousand euros for innovative research in the field of IT. The foundation also awards grants. For example, every year five people receive 50 thousand euros to follow an economics master's or PhD program in the United States.

In addition, the KHMW regularly organizes lectures, conferences, symposia and debates. The topics of those meetings vary, but the aim is always either to bring people from different corners of society and scientists together or to share scientific topics with a wide audience.

Author: Cleo Freriks

Logo: KHMW

Categories: News, Science
Tags: KHMW,society,member,de ruiter

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