Ineke Sluiter President of the Academy

30 May 2020

Ineke Sluiter, Professor of Greek at Leiden University, is the President of the Academy. She has already been a Vice President for two years and succeeded Wim van Saarloos, whose term as President came to an end on 1 June 2020.

Ineke Sluiter (born 1959) has been Professor of Greek Language and Literature at Leiden University since 1998. Her research focuses on language, literature, and public discourse in classical antiquity. She links topics from that era with themes of today, such as freedom of expression, education, and cultural identity.

When accepting the presidency, Prof. Sluiter said that much of what the Academy stands for has become all the more pressing in this day and age. There is a large audience “peering over the shoulders” of researchers. She finds it important to explain how research in fact works: what is the role of uncertainty, of debate, and of “failing forward”, i.e. making mistakes but achieving progress precisely by making them.

As priorities for the Academy, Prof. Sluiter mentions scientific and scholarly excellence, which flourishes through inclusiveness and diversity of talents, involvement with society, and internationalisation. She also points out that the sustainability of science and scholarship stands or falls with the way we look after the up-and-coming generation of young researchers, who are right now in a particularly vulnerable position.

Inaugural speech, Dutch only, no subtitles

From 2000 to 2011, Prof. Sluiter was research director of OIKOS, the national research school for classics. She initiated the 'Anchoring Innovation' research programme, which uses examples from antiquity to investigate how innovation processes take place and how innovation is accepted. Prof. Sluiter leads this national programme, which was the only humanities project to receive an NWO Gravitation Grant, amounting to almost EUR 20m.

In 2010, she was awarded the Spinoza Prize by NWO and won the Academy Professor Prize. She is a member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities (KHMW) and of the Academia Europaea, and a corresponding fellow of the British Academy. She has been awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bristol.

Ineke Sluiter is a co-founder of Athena’s Angels, a group of four female professors who stand up for the interests of women in the world of science and scholarship. She is a member of the Palace Committee of the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, of the Scholarships Advisory Committee of the Prince Bernhard Cultural Fund, and of the Supervisory Board of the National Museum of Antiquities in Leiden.

Board of the Academy

With effect from 1 September 2020, the Board of the Academy will consist of the current members:

  • Marileen Dogterom (Professor of Bionanoscience at Delft University of Technology, Vice President and foreign representative);
  • Marc Groenhuijsen (Professor of Criminal Procedure and Victimology at Tilburg University; Vice President and General Secretary);

and the new members:

  • Martin van Hees (Professor of Ethics at VU University Amsterdam);
  • Linda Steg (Professor of Environmental Psychology at Groningen University);
  • Sjaak Neefjes (Professor of Cell Biology at Leiden University Medical Centre); and
  • Ton van der Steen (Professor of Biomedical Technology of the Heart at Erasmus Medical Centre Rotterdam).

The current President Wim van Saarloos (Professor of Solid State Physics at Leiden University) and Maarten Prak (Professor of Social and Economic History at Utrecht University) are stepping down because their terms of office expire on 1 June and 1 September 2020 respectively.