Descartes-Huygens Prize

The Descartes-Huygens Prize is intended to support the scientific/scholarly career of an excellent researcher in Franco-Dutch research. Each year two prize winners are selected: the Netherlands selects the French winner and France selects the Dutch winner. 

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.

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. 

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

Every researcher at a Dutch university or research institute can nominate French candidates for the Descartes-Huygens Prize. The next round of nominations for this award will begin in the summer of 2022.

The Academy strives for gender diversity of candidates who are nominated for a prize. For this prize, it can be relevant to note that the research stay in the Netherlands can be spread over several visits. The award ceremony for both winners of 2021 will be held in February 2022 in Paris.

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 2020

Prijswinnaars Rampal Etienne (rechts) en Halima Mouhib (links) tijdens online uitreiking Descartes-Huygensprijs 2021.

During this festive online meeting, French physics Halima Mouhib and Dutch evolutionary ecologist Rampal Etienne received the Descartes-Huygens Prize 2020.