Descartes-Huygens Prize

The French and Dutch governments established the Descartes-Huygens Prize in 1995 to draw the attention of researchers as well as a broader public to Franco-Dutch relations in science and scholarship. Each year two prize winners are selected: the Netherlands selects the French winner and France selects the Dutch winner. The prize is intended to support the scientific/scholarly career of an excellent researcher in Franco-Dutch research.

The Prize, a grant of EUR 23,000, can be used to (partially) cover the costs of a French researcher’s research residence in the Netherlands or a series of working visits by a French researcher to the Netherlands, or vice versa. If so desired, other activities regarding Franco-Dutch cooperation can be performed as well.


All disciplines: humanities, social sciences, natural sciences, engineering, (bio)medical sciences.

The Descartes-Huygens Prize is open to:

Excellent early to midcareer researchers who:

  • work at a French research institute.
  • contribute to Franco-Dutch scientific/scholarly cooperation.
  • are prepared to spend at least three months – continuously or spread over several working visits – as a guest researcher in the Netherlands.
  • are prepared to inform both researchers and a broader public about the Franco-Dutch research project carried out with this prize.

Nomination and award ceremony

Unfortunately, it is no longer possible to submit nominations to the Academy for the 2020 Descartes-Huygens Prize. The winners will be announced at the end of 2020.

The 2020 Descartes-Huygens Prize will be presented to both the Dutch and French laureates at an award ceremony to be held in Amsterdam on 12 February 2021.

More information about the selection of the Dutch winner of the Descartes-Huygens Prize can be found on the website of Ministère de lʼEnseignement supérieur, de la Recherche et de lʼInnovation.

Descartes-Huygens Prize 2019

On 5 February 2020, 2019 laureates Julien Barc and Lex Kaper were awarded their Prize during a special ceremony in Paris.

From left to right: Lex Kaper, Véronique Verges and Anne-Emmanuelle Grossi 

From left to right: Connie Bezzina, Julien Barc and Wim van Saarloos