Bart Jacobs, Professor of Security, Privacy and Identity at Radboud University, will receive the NWO Stevin Prize 2021. It is the highest award in Dutch sciences.
The committee awarding Stephen Jacobs describes him as a completely independent thinker and brilliant scientific researcher who, over decades, has been successful in conducting innovative research with great social impact. He doesn’t utter words and talks constantly and consistently about all the digital privacy issues that society and citizens are exposed to. At the same time, he is a reference for all the scholars he works with – also in an interdisciplinary context – and a wonderful coach and motivator for his students and researchers.
Great social impact
The Stevin Prize is awarded annually to researchers who have achieved exceptional success in using knowledge for society. The premium primarily honors the significant social impact of their research. In addition to Bart Jacobs, Judy Meissman, Professor of the Interdisciplinary Study of Community Challenges at Leiden University College in The Hague, will receive this year’s Stephen Prize. Together with the Spinoza Prize, it is the highest award in Dutch science. The award ceremony will take place on Wednesday, October 13th. The winners will receive €2.5 million to spend on scientific research and activities related to the use of knowledge.
Jacobs was originally a mathematician and philosopher who developed extensively. He is one of the world’s leading scholars in his original field of logic and theoretical computer science, for which he has written two textbooks. It also does very practical work, like PEP, which is a technology for secure storage and exchange of (patient) data for medical research.
The European Commission recently adopted the basic ideas of his IRMA app, which can be used to log in in more and more places, to develop a new European identity wallet. His critical comment on the European payment service directive PSD2 – a “European strategic mistake” – led to a hearing in the House of Representatives and gave the debate an entirely different turn.
Jacobs is also the founder of iHub, an interdisciplinary security, privacy and data management research group at Radboud University Nijmegen. Here, researchers from the humanities, social sciences, engineering, and natural sciences conduct joint research on pressing issues in the field of digitalization.
Prices and subsidies
Jacobs has received large national and international research grants, including the ERC Advanced Scholarship. He was awarded this prestigious European scholarship for his research in the field of probabilistic (quantitative) logic, a subject he continues to occupy. He has previously won two prestigious awards in science and society for the social impact of his scientific work: the Brouwer Prize and the Huibregtsen Prize.
Jacobs is founder and president of Privacy by Design, a member of the Knowledge Circle CTIVD (the Oversight Committee on Intelligence and Security Services) that investigates whether secret services in the Netherlands are behaving lawfully, a member of the Cyber Security Council, and he was the chair of the Bits of Freedom advisory board . He is also a member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW), the Royal Dutch Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW), and the European Academy.
Photo: Studio Oostrum.