Royal Distinctions for seven Radboudians

On the occasion of King's Day this year, seven employees of Radboud University and Radboudumc receive a royal distinction for their exceptional scientific and/or social achievements. The awards have been presented on campus by Mayor Hubert Bruls on Wednesday, April 26.

They are the following:

  • Onno Crasborn, Professor of Sign Language of the Netherlands, Faculty of Arts
    Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau
  • Anna Bosman, Professor of Orthopedagogics, Faculty of Social Sciences
    Knight of the Order of Orange-Nassau
  • Mihai Netea, Professor of Experimental Internal Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences
    Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
  • Arno Kentgens, Professor of Solid-state NMR spectroscopy, Faculty of Science
    Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
  • Renate Loll, Professor of Theory of Fundamental Interactions Beyond the Standard Model, Faculty of Science
    Knight of the Order of the Netherlands Lion
  • Yvonne Benschop, Professor of Organisational Behaviour, Nijmegen School of Management
    Officer of the Order of Orange-Nassau
  • Marijke van Beurden, teacher Orthopedagogics, Faculty of Social Sciences
    Member of the Order of Orange-Nassau
Onno Crasborn lintje

Onno Crasborn, Professor of Sign Language of the Netherlands

Onno Crasborn is a researcher at the Centre for Language Studies (CLS) and is head of the Sign Language Linguistics research group. Among other things, he received a Vici and recently acquired € 900,000 for a large infrastructural investment for the conversion of gestures to subtitling and vice versa. Earlier awards he received include a Vidi, an ERC grant, and an NWO Free Competition.

Crasborn's social relevance is also evident. He is an excellent ambassador for the community of the deaf and hard of hearing. He is a sign language interpreter himself and is part of an expert panel at the World Federation of the Deaf. Crasborn also regularly appears in the press to advocate the position of the deaf community.

On the occasion of his appointment as professor, the Grand Gesture Foundation (Stichting Groots Gebaar) was established in 2017. Based in part on his professorship, Onno Crasborn is committed to the wider accessibility and applicability of sign language, including for hearing people.

Lintjesregen Anna Bosman

Anna Bosman, Professor of Orthopedagogics

Anna Bosman researches learning processes for children and adolescents with learning and developmental disabilities. She is a staunch advocate of classroom-based, clearly structured instruction. Bosman researches evidence-based teaching and tutoring. In doing so, she bridges the gap between psychological theory and pedagogical practice for children with learning and developmental disabilities. She has made an important contribution to the knowledge of how children can best learn to read and calculate, showing that good teaching and good didactics can make a difference. This is especially true for the achievement of students who are at risk of learning disabilities due to personal or environmental characteristics.

Bosman has developed several new programmes (such as Curriculum Development for Primary Education and Pedagogical Sciences of Primary Education), unique in the Netherlands, and she has thereby raised the profile of pedagogy and educational sciences from Radboud University. Her contribution has put this programme, with strong scientific expertise as its foundation, clearly on the map regionally and nationally.

In addition to being a professor, Bosman was director of the educational institute PWO (Pedagogical Sciences and Educational Sciences) for 10 years. In both roles, she championed the quality of education in elementary schools. Also during lectures, symposia, national programmes and media, Bosman always emphasized the importance of good quality primary education. In doing so, she was not guided by popular views, but only by reliable and valid data, the results of good scientific research.

During her directorship, the PWO educational institute grew significantly in terms of quality and also in terms of the number of students and staff. In addition, as a director, she always promoted a good atmosphere and was personally very involved with her staff, always with a keen eye for talent.

Mihai Netea lintje

Mihai Netea, Professor of Experimental Internal Medicine

Mihai Netea is a renowned clinical researcher in the field of infections, defence against microorganisms (immunology) and inflammation. He caused a paradigm shift in immunology in 2011 when he described the concept of trained immunity (TI). He discovered that our innate immune mechanisms, considered static and non-adaptive, can be trained to reach higher functional levels when exposed to microbial products. This activated state, located in white cells (monocytes and macrophages), was found to persist for months in his research.

Netea discovered that TI is an ancient mechanism in evolutionary terms. It is also present in invertebrates and even in plants. In these organisms, it is the main way the body defends itself against pathogenic microorganisms. TI is induced by ancient vaccines, such as the BCG vaccine against tuberculosis. The observations made in field studies in Africa, which implied that BCG protects not only against tuberculosis but also against a range of other infections (and increases child survival), were explained by Netea as an excellent example of TI.

Over the past 10 years, Netea and his group have been able to show that TI is important not only in infectious diseases and vaccinology but also in a wide range of other diseases such as atherosclerosis, gout, obesity and inflammatory diseases and the treatment of these diseases.

Lintjesregen Arno Kentgens

Arno Kentgens, Professor of Solid-state NMR spectroscopy

Prof. Arno Kentgens specializes in the development of methodologies for investigating molecules and materials, in particular on the improvement of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. This is an analysis technique that can provide detailed information about the structure and dynamics of all matter at the molecular/atomic level using magnetic fields and radio waves.

Kentgens is an expert in the field of solid-state NMR in particular and has also developed the so-called stripline detector, a fundamentally new NMR technique to do high-resolution NMR in extremely small volumes (less than a microliter). In addition, he made it possible to continuously monitor reactions and measure the kinetics of reactions. His research provides knowledge on relevant materials such as the promising perovskite materials for solar cells, lithium-ion battery materials, catalysts and plastics.

Kentgens has long been in charge of the Magnetic Resonance Research Center in the Goudsmit Pavilion, and he has received several Roadmap grants to further develop this facility.

Furthermore, Kentgens received a prestigious ERC Synergy grant in 2020. He has also made meritorious efforts in education. He has twice served on a curriculum committee (once as chair) and has also been director of the OWI molecular sciences for 4 years. In addition, he has served on the board of the Institute for Molecules and Materials on several occasions.

Renate Loll lintje

Renate Loll, Professor of Theory of Fundamental Interactions Beyond the Standard Model

Renate Loll conducts pioneering research in the field of quantum gravity. She seeks methods to combine the geometric description of space and time, as formulated by Einstein, with the quantum description of the most fundamental elements in physics. Her research has led to recognition at home and abroad. For example, Loll is a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences and the Academia Europaea. In addition, Loll is a fellow of the International Society of General Relativity and Gravitation and holds a distinguished visiting research chair at the prestigious Perimeter Institute in Canada. With her role within the international scientific field, Loll contributes to the international recognition of Dutch scientific research in her field.

Yvonne Benschop

Yvonne Benschop, Professor of Organisational Behaviour

Yvonne Benschop is an internationally prominent pioneer in the interdisciplinary field of gender and diversity in organisations. From her background in business administration and political science, she has developed a specific political view of organisations to understand how power processes produce intersectional inequality in everyday organisational practices.

Benschop is particularly interested in informal organisational processes that reproduce inequality, and in interventions to achieve organisational change toward greater diversity, equity and inclusion. Recent research projects deal with gender and inclusion in leadership, the impact of postfeminism on organisational change, and sustainable change toward intersectional equality in organisations.

With great energy and enthusiasm, Benschop is committed to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) at Radboud University, the Faculty of Management Sciences, Business Administration, and internationally in the European Group of Organization Studies and the Academy of Management.

Marijke van Beurden

Marijke van Beurden, teacher of Orthopedagogics at the Faculty of Social Sciences, is also receiving a royal distinction. She has been appointed a member of the Order of Orange-Nassau and on April 26 she will receive the distinction from Mark Slinkman, mayor of Berg en Dal.

Jos Draaisma

In addition to the seven Radboud University employees, Jos Draaisma, an ENT paediatrician at Radboudumc, will receive a royal distinction on April 26. He has been appointed Knight of the Order of Orange Nassau. He will receive his distinction simultaneously with Mihai Netea from the Mayor of Nijmegen Hubert Bruls.