Dutch Brain and Cognition PhD Thesis Award


Call for best PhD thesis

At the biennial NVP Brain and Cognition Winter conference, the NVP Dutch Society for Brain and Cognition will award a prize for the PhD thesis conducted in the Netherlands that made the most outstanding contribution to scientific knowledge in the field of Brain and Cognition.

The winner will receive an Award certificate, €500 prize money and the opportunity to present her/his work in the NVP Winter Conference. In addition, (s)he will be invited to present work from the thesis at the 19th NVP Winter conference on Brain and Cognition, planned (provisional) for December 14-16 2023 in Egmond aan Zee.

Deadline for submissions: July 31st 2023


Open to candidates who have obtained a PhD degree from any Dutch university/institute in the roughly two-year time span between the deadlines of the previous and current thesis awards. For 2023 this means that the PhD defense must have been between August 1st 2021 – July 31st 2023. Candidates can self-nominate or be nominated by their (co)promotor.

The submitted PhD thesis should be original work in the field of Brain and Cognition and related fields, i.e. work in those fields that would typically be suitable for submission for poster and/or oral presentations at the NVP conference .

Selection procedure

The prize winner is selected by the award committee designated by the NVP board.

The purpose of the award is to highlight excellent PhD research in the field of Brain and Cognition and related fields, spanning the range of topics as covered by the NVP Winter conference.

The award committee will assess the applications and recommend three nominees and the prize winner to the NVP board. After the board has confirmed the recommendation by the committee, the nominees will be announced. The award committee will provide a final recommendation to the NVP board on the winner prior to the Winter conference.

The assessment of the thesis will be based on the thesis itself and additional information in the application of a candidate. In case the thesis did not receive a judicium ‘cum laude’, the letter of support must include convincing arguments why the candidate is worthy of consideration after all. A shortlist of at most six candidates is made based on the initial rankings by individual committee members, after which each member of the jury re-evaluates the remaining candidates. Both initial ranking and final ranking are based on the following criteria:

  • The level to which the thesis work adds a significant new contribution to the scientific knowledge in the field of Brain and Cognition and related fields.
  • The level to which the thesis shows evidence of a critical attitude towards one’s own research findings and avoidance of questionable research practices (scientific rigor and integrity).
  • The evidence provided by the (co)promotor of the independent and original contribution of the PhD candidate, as well as the demonstrated level of rigor and integrity regarding the work reported in the thesis.
  • A demonstrated quality to discuss the theoretical arena and/or implications of the thesis that transcends the individual chapters (i.e., as expressed in the introduction and/or discussion and/or summary chapter of the thesis).

The application must contain:

  • An electronic copy of the PhD thesis.
  • The date of the PhD defense (check eligibility to be sure)
  • A letter of support from the (co)promotor recommending the candidate for consideration for this award, with special emphasis on the independent contributions of the candidate to the work reported in the PhD thesis and the ability of the candidate to exert scientific rigor and integrity (no more than 2 pages). This letter has to be submitted directly to the committee by the (co)promotor, not via the candidate.


Candidates must have defended the PhD thesis and received the PhD degree from a Dutch university/institute in the time period between the deadline of this and the previous NVP thesis award call.

The submitted PhD thesis should be original work in the field of Brain and Cognition and related fields. Candidates can self-nominate or be nominated by their (co-)promotor.

Candidates and their (co)promotor must submit the relevant parts of the application directly to the committee via email to TAC@psychonomie.nl by the deadline provided in the call.

The NVP board decides on the prize winner based on the recommendation of the award committee. The decision is final and cannot be disputed.

Previous winners

  • 2019: Gilles de Hollander
  • 2017: Anne Urai
  • 2015: Iris Groen
  • 2013: Sebastiaan Mathôt
  • 2011: Myrthe Plaisier
  • 2009: Floris de Lange
  • 2007: Ryota Kanai
  • 2005: Eveline Crone
  • 2003: Eric-Jan Wagenmakers

And others, including Maarten van der Smagt, Frank Zaal, and Frans Verstraten!