Radboud Science Award 2021 for research on children in former colonies

Date of news: 21 June 2021

Three prominent Radboud University studies have won the twelfth edition of the Radboud Science Awards. One of these is research by Prof. Dr. Marit Monteiro, Dr. Maaike Derksen and Marleen Reichgelt MA at the Radboud Institute for Culture and History (RICH). The team investigates how we should deal with the colonial past and its impact on local children.

Maaike Derksen, Marit Monteiro en Marleen Reichgelt (van links naar rechts)
Left to right: Maaike Derksen, Marit Monteiro en Marleen Reichgelt

Colonialism had profound and long-term consequences for children in colonies. With their research, Prof. dr. Dr Marit Monteiro, Dr Maaike Derksen and Marleen Reichgelt MA break the silence about the impact of civilizing missions on local children in former Dutch colonies. Through institutes of (re)education, children were separated from their parents, community and culture. Generations were 'westernized', causing deep rifts in families and communities. These practices and narratives still have consequences for contemporary humanitarian projects aimed at 'saving' children, such as transnational adoption. The historical research of Monteiro's team exposes the colonial roots of this reasoning and thereby contributes to the public debate on our colonial past.

Science Education Programme

By winning the Radboud Science Awards, researchers take part in an annual education programme of the Science Education Hub Radboud University (WKRU). In collaboration with primary school teachers, they have the opportunity to adapt their research for use in primary schools. Each year, the projects of these Radboud Science Teams are published in the book series ‘Wetenschappelijke doorbraken de klas in!’ (Scientific breakthroughs in the classroom!). Teachers can use these to apply science education activities in the classroom themselves.

Other winners

In addition to Prof. Dr. Marit Monteiro, Dr. Maaike Derksen and Marleen Reichgelt MA, Johan Mentink and Paul Bovend'Eert will also receive a trophy.

Magnetism and data
Physicist dr. Johan Mentink has made an important contribution to the research field of magnetism. Magnets consist of many smaller magnets called ‘spins’. Usually, these spins all face the same direction, but sometimes they form a ‘skyrmion’, a tiny structure that looks like a whirling pattern. Together with an international team, Mentink discovered a new ultra-fast shortcut to create these tiny patterns. This new route can have many applications and is especially relevant for data storage, as magnetism plays an important role here. These new insights can help to make much faster data storage possible with much smaller magnets. An important contribution to a solution for the great amount of energy that is currently needed to run data centers.

The modern monarchy
With his book ‘De koning en de monarchie. Toekomstbestendig?’ (The king and the monarchy. Future proof?) prof. mr. Paul Bovend’Eert has made a unique contribution to the legal and constitutional research field. In his extensive analysis, Bovend’Eert takes the reader to the past and present of the Dutch royal family and most importantly formulates recommendations to rethink the role of the king and his family in the future. He considers what legal and constitutional changes are needed to make this new role possible and covers relevant themes such as the position of the king in the political system, his role in foreign affairs and the financing of the royal family. Among other interesting pleas, Bovend’Eert argues to position the king outside of the government and to drastically change the financing of the royal family.

The award ceremony will be held in the Aula at Radboud University on the 22nd of September (Academiezaal, Comeniuslaan 2, 6525 HP Nijmegen). The event will be streamed live online to the public, and there is limited space for audience and media in the hall. The ceremony starts at 9.30 a.m. and ends at 11.00 a.m. The stream can be viewed for free during that time. For more information, visit