Niels Stensen Fellowship Conference 2016: Working in the Community

The relationship between science and society stood once again central in the Niels Stensen Fellowship Conference celebrated on 30 August 2016.

Sixty-two participants, many young alumni among them, took part in the event. The conference was held in a special location, the Leerhotel Het Klooster in Amersfoort, in which students learn and work on their skills in the fields of gastronomy and hospitality.

The key-note presentation by Prof Dr Luigino Bruni discussed an original approach and the relevance of the relationship between the market, science, and society. The main line of thought during the presentation was that the market is more than a vehicle for mutual benefit without obligation and is an instrument for the realization of public happiness, civilization, civic virtues, and sociality. Bruni is not only a scientist but also the coordinator of the project “The Economy of Society” which motivated hundreds of companies to take place in society and use part of their profit for its specific needs. Prof Bruni is Professor of History of Economic Theory at the LUMSA University in Rome.

The discussion panel and break-out sessions that followed exchanged views about the role of citizens, government, businesses and students in the academic enterprise of today. The group was led by Prof Ernst Hirsch Ballin, President of the NSF Committee, and was composed by:

  • Prof Dr Louise Gunning-Schepers, President of the National Research Agenda, who spoke about the relationship between citizens and science;
  • Dr Magda Smink, Researcher at the Energy Foundation for Nature and Environment, who discussed the relationship between business and science; and
  • Dr László Marácz, Assistant Professor of European Studies at the University of Amsterdam, who joined the discussion on the relationship between students and science.

The afternoon sessions gave the attendees an opportunity to continue the discussions on the topics presented. During the conference, the interim results of the NSF Think Thank were discussed. The Think Thank is an initiative of the alumni and was created after a suggestion from Prof Gabriel van den Brink during the previous conference.
Young fellows Dr Hanne van Ballegooijen, Dr Theun de Groot and Dr Michelle van Vliet presented their research on poster sessions during the breaks. Dr Caroline Stolte gave a much-appreciated dinner speech. Other participants were a few alumni from the Young Talent Awards from the Prince Bernhard Culture Funds.

The Furore Blaaskwintet entertained the conference guests. These musicians share an ambition and passion for playing chamber music.

Niels Stensen Fellowship conferences challenge alumni to think together about the social role of science and their personal ownership. The next conference will take place on Thursday, 31 August 2017.

Photo credit: Eiko Waleson