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Five University of Twente researchers in the VIVA400 Cast your vote before 31 October 2017

Five female University of Twente scientists have been nominated for the VIVA400.

An annual list of 400 successful and inspiring women compiled by Viva magazine and separated into eight different categories. The following University of Twente scientists have been nominated in the Brilliant Minds category: Kerensa Broersen, Vanessa Evers, Suzanne Hulscher, Gréanne Leeftink and Valesca Retèl.

Cast your vote!

Vote for our University of Twente scientists til 31 October 2017, by clicking on this link. Per category, you can cast one vote for the woman you believe is most successful, passionate or inspiring. Sign in with your Facebook, LinkedIn or Viva account. The jury then picks a winner from the top 5 of each category. The winner will be announced on 23 November during the VIVA400 event, and of course we hope she is one of our University of Twente scientists!

For the Viva 400
Voting is open until (and including) October 31st


The VIVA400 is an annual list of 400 inspiring women who stood out in the past year. The achievements of the women on this list include efforts to make the world a better place, winning an important award or discovering a niche in the market. You have until 31 October to vote for your favourite VIVA400 woman. Once the votes have been counted and the top 5 for each category has been announced, an expert jury will pick the winners. The winners will be announced during the VIVA400 event on 23 November at Undercurrent Amsterdam, where they will also receive their coveted VIVA400 awards.

University of Twente scientists

Last year, Dr Kerensa Broersen won a prestigious Fulbright scholarship to conduct pioneering research into Alzheimer's disease at the University of California, Berkeley, in the United States, under the tutelage of Nobel Prize winner Randy Schekman. The focus of her research in the US and the question that is on her mind every day, and that 200,000 Dutch Alzheimer patients and their caregivers would also like to have answered, is how and why do people get Alzheimer’s and why is the disease so difficult to treat? 

Vanessa Evers is a Professor of Human Media Interaction and one of the world’s leading experts in the field of Robots that Are Going to Take Over the World. In 2014, Opzij magazine named her the hippest professor in the Netherlands. Thanks to her, hospitality robot Spencer now helps passengers find their gates at Schiphol Airport. Prof. Evers designs ‘social’ robots that will soon be able to assist humans in carrying out a wide variety of tasks, from loading the dishwasher and providing care for the elderly to performing surgeries. 

Prof. Suzanne Hulscher is the recipient of the Simon Stevin Meester Prize, the highest honour in the field of engineering sciences in the Netherlands. The grant associated with this prize is over half a million euros, to spend on research. She received this award for her ground-breaking research into changes to the soil, banks and shores of sandy rivers, coastal areas and seas, which usually consist of sand waves. She mainly received the reward for her efforts to cooperate and form partnerships with other universities, government agencies and the business community, demonstrating a strong ability to bridge the gap between science and the professional practice.

In her research, Gréanne Leeftink developed planning solutions for hospitals with patients who need multidisciplinary care. Her clever use of mathematical techniques in a healthcare environment has improved coordination of administrative processes, allowing departments to help more patients in a shorter space of time. These solutions not only reduce waiting time for the patients, but also ensure that the workload for healthcare professionals is evenly distributed over the day, giving them more time to provide quality healthcare.

Dr Valesca Retèl, in cooperation with other researchers, obtained a €1.5 million grant for an extensive and pioneering cancer study. The aim of the research is to use new and promising treatments such as tailor-made therapies on patients who stand to benefit from them, and make the treatments more accessible. This can be achieved by both optimizing DNA analysis of tumours and by using a highly structured approach to entering this data into the hospital’s system, which is expected to lead to the highest possible survival rate for patients and improved quality of life, with fewer side effects for patients and a lower financial strain on society due to less expensive treatments.

Note to the press

For more information or interview requests, please contact Press Officer Martine van Hillegersberg.

drs. M.M.J. van Hillegersberg - Hofmans (Martine)
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