Bettina Speckmann receives Netherlands Prize for ICT research

The first Netherlands Prize for ICT Research will be awarded this year to Bettina Speckmann, researcher at Eindhoven University of Technology. Her research includes the mathematics behind geographical information systems and the computer science behind cartography. The Netherlands Prize for ICT Research – a unique prize for young ICT researchers ˗is an initiative of the ICT Research Platform Netherlands (IPN) and NWO Physical Sciences, supported by the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW). The prize money of 50,000 euros can be freely devoted to ICT research.

The Netherlands Prize for ICT Research is intended for a scientific researcher, under 40 years of age, who has carried out innovative research or who has been responsible for a scientific breakthrough in ICT. Besides receiving 50,000 euros for research, the winner will be involved in producing a poster published by NWO. This will explain the prize-winning work and its relevance to a wider public and will be distributed to schools and other knowledge institutes. Speckmann will receive her prize at a special award ceremony in November.

Bettina Speckmann: “Fantastic prize! Science, and that definitely includes fundamental science, is a fascinating area. It is great when as many people as possible are aware of this. I therefore want to use part of the prize money for educational activities. On top of that I want to give the PhDs who work with me every opportunity to become excellent scientists by using the prize money to support their work visits abroad and congress visits, for example.”

Louis Vertegaal, director NWO Chemical & Physical Sciences: “We are immensely proud that this prize can be awarded for the first time this year in collaboration with IPN. ICT is unbelievably important in our everyday lives and is a crucial aspect of innovation. Bettina Speckmann is a superb researcher who is pushing back the boundaries within ICT and who is very intensively involved in the application and dissemination of that knowledge. Her example shows just what ICT is and can do.”

Bettina Speckmann
Bettina Speckmann (1972) works on the interface of mathematics, computer science and cartography. Her work concerns geometric algorithms, a research area concerned with solving abstract geometrical calculation problems. Her research includes geographical information systems and cartographic visualisation for ICT applications. She is a leader in a European interdisciplinary project about the analysis and visualisation of spatially moving objects such as birds, pedestrians and vehicles. Furthermore, she actively disseminates the ideas and results from her discipline to a wider public and communicates science in general to high school students. She is a member of the Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and in 2007 she received a Vidi grant from NWO.

Of the nine candidates nominated, a jury selected Bettina Speckmann as top in her field. She has achieved scientific breakthroughs with potential or actual applications in ICT, such as an algorithm for the analysis of movement patterns from GPS or sensor data. She is highly active in the advancement of scientific research in her area, for example through numerous contributions to the organisation of international conferences and workshops. The jury, Prof. J. van Leeuwen (Utrecht University), Prof. P.M.G. Apers (University of Twente) and Prof. K.M. van Hee (Eindhoven University of Technology), was particularly impressed by the quantity of results and the combination of deeply fundamental and application-oriented research in Speckmann’s work.

Award ceremony
The Prize will be awarded on 30 November during a special ceremony by Prof. Arnold Smeulders (IPN), Dr Louis B.J. Vertegaal (NWO) and Dr A.H.G. Rinnooy Kan (KHMW) in the Hodshon Huis in Haarlem.

About NWO
The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is the independent Dutch science funding body and its mission is to facilitate excellent scientific research in the Netherlands by means of national competition. Each year NWO spends more than 500 million euros on grants for top research and top researchers, on innovative instruments and equipment, and on institutes where top research is performed. NWO funds the research of more than 5300 talented researchers at universities and institutes. Independent experts select proposals by means of a peer review system. NWO facilitates the transfer of knowledge to society and industry.

Over IPN
IPN is a national platform for the Dutch ICT research field and functions as the national contact point for policy makers, politicians, industry and other groups in society. Researchers in computer science and closely related disciplines, such as electronics, communication and signal processing, are increasingly working together. IPN encourages this movement towards a single ICT research field and is actively contributing to this.
About KHMW
The Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities was founded in 1752 and its aim is to advance science and to establish links between science and society. This is realised by the setting of prize questions, rewarding scientific achievements and organising lectures and scientific conferences. Since 1841, KHMW’s home has been the Hodshon Huis in Haarlem.