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SURF Research Support Champion 2021 universities: Maria Kamp, Faculty ET Research support staff indispensable for high-quality research

The SURF Research Support Champions 2021 are Maria Kamp (University of Twente, Faculty of Engineering Technology), Mariëtte van Selm (UvA/HvA) and Bob van Dijk (Amsterdam UMC). The winners were announced during the SURF Research Week online conference. It's the first time that this award for research support staff has been granted.

"Researchers are often in the spotlight, but support staff are just as indispensable for high-quality scientific and academic output. With this prize, SURF wants to give research supporters at institutions a platform and inspire others. It's great to see that there are so many good research supporters around, working hard in different ways to achieve various goals." Chairman of the jury Ron Augustus (chief innovation officer at SURF). 

It was no easy task for the jury to compile a top three, with so many strong candidates. Moreover, the nominees fulfil various functions and roles, and the institutions where they work organise research support in different ways. Nevertheless, the jury unanimously selected the following three winners:

In the category Universities:

Maria Kamp, Coordinator Research Support at University of Twente 

“Others about Maria: 'Puts herself in the shoes of the researchers'.”

The jury report says: Maria was nominated by no fewer than 5 colleagues. She inspires others with her decisive approach and collaborative mentality. Maria puts herself in the shoes of the researchers, which really helps her to support them. She takes all kinds of administrative work off their hands, so that the researchers can focus on their primary task, and always comply with data management and ethics requirements.

In the category Universities of Applied Sciences:

Mariëtte van Selm, Coordinator Research Data Management (RDM) support at the UvA-HvA library

“An indispensable adviser”

The jury report says: An indispensable adviser. With unflagging energy and pragmatic commitment, Mariëtte helps researchers obtain, process, manage and sustainably archive research data. She listens well and brings the right people together at the right time. Mariëtte is a valuable link between the worlds of applied sciences and academia. Within the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences and the University of Amsterdam the term RDM is inextricably linked to her name.

In the category UMC & Research:

Bob van Dijk, adviser High Performance Computing at Amsterdam UMC

“Builds the bridge between researcher and research IT”

The jury report: Because of his solid, substantive, cross-domain knowledge, organisation-wide contacts and very helpful approach, Bob is the pivot of all HPC activities within Amsterdam UMC. This Research Support Champion builds the bridge between researcher and research IT by guiding researchers in technical solutions and translating their support request to technical requirements for research IT. Moreover, this widely respected expert can always be approached by colleagues for a virtual coffee.

Download the full jury report (pdf)

The SURF Research Support Champions

In the context of this prize, SURF defines research support staff as anyone who supports researchers in the field of research data management and ICT. This includes storage, management, archiving and sharing of their research data, but also software development and advice on research applications. For example, data stewards, ICT staff, librarians or research assistants. The SURF Research Support Champion is awarded to individuals who have made an outstanding contribution to supporting research at their institution.

Nominated by colleagues

The candidates were nominated by their colleagues, by researchers and by managers. In assessing the submissions, the jury looked at the quality of the support, the way the nominees connect the needs of researchers with research support, and the impact of their work. The jury was delighted to see how highly the nominated research support staff are appreciated by their colleagues. The submissions received by the jury were extensively and enthusiastically substantiated.

The jury of the SURF Research Support Champions 2021 consisted of:

  • Ron Augustus, chief innovation officer SURF (chair)
  • Joris van Eijnatten, director Netherlands eScience Center
  • Petra Drankier, senior policy adviser Federation of University Medical Centres (NFU)
  • Mariska van der Giessen, chair Vereniging van Lectoren
  • Lisa Oskam, board member PhD Network Netherlands
drs. J.G.M. van den Elshout (Janneke)
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