Since January 2019, the Hermesdorf Awards are presented annually to a junior and a senior researcher whose research has had a major social impact. In the tradition of its namesake, the researchers selected have shown some form of courage, have exerted an uncommon level of effort, or have not shied away from resistance. Bernard Hermesdorf was Rector Magnificus of Radboud University during the Second World War. In 1943, Hermesdorf, as the only Rector Magnificus in the Netherlands, closed the University. For reasons of principle, he refused to submit a statement of loyalty with student signatures to the German occupier. He stood firm in difficult times.
Since January 2013, the Hermesdorf Prizes have been awarded annually to Radboud University scientists who have been featured in the media in a distinctive way as a result of their own research.