The Batavian Society has organized a competition on the occasion of its 250th anniversary in 2019:

‘The Batavian Society of Experimental Philosophy’ is celebrating its 250th anniversary this year. In that context, she is organizing a scientific competition on how the connection between scientists and the public can be improved. Do you have an idea and would you like to have a chance to win €10,000? Read the PDF document here and submit your idea before March 31 ( All (former) students and employees of TU Delft and EUR, as well as known members or relations of the Society, are allowed to participate.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, competitions were the instrument of Societies to promote Science (Experimental Philosophy) and the Batavian Society organized 267 of them until around 1980 (see here and here for a complete overview).

However, in the 20th century this instrument increasingly fell out of favour, especially as State-funded Universities and Colleges took over the role of searching for fundamental and applicable knowledge. That is why Pres.Dir. Prof.dr. Rodolph de Josselin de Jongh already stated in 1919 at the 150th anniversary that: “science will increasingly be the responsibility of the universities, as a result of which the competitions of the Batavian Society will gradually lose steam.” But for the 250th anniversary we were happy to make an exception (see video).

From the 22 entries, a jury consists of: PM BGPW Ahmed Aboutaleb (Burg. Rotterdam), Prof.dr. Hans van Leeuwen (Dean EMC), Prof.dr. John Schmitz (Dean dept. EWI TUD), Julia Cramer (Communication Scientist) and Rolf Hut (Scientist, tinkerer, geek) selected three finalists: Dr. Ingrid Mulder (Ass. Prof., dep. IDE TU Delft), Dr. Athina Vidaki (Sen. Postdoc Researcher Erasmus MC) and Drs. Adja Waelput (program director. HealthyPregnancy4All Erasmus MC).

These finalists presented their idea on June 7 during the celebration of the 250th anniversary, in front of HRH Princess Beatrix, the Jury and the public, after which the jury Dr. Athina Vidaki and her I-Lab-U team has chosen the winner.

Athina Vidaki with the I-Lab-U team

Together with her I-Lab-U team, Dr. Vidaki the anniversary competition: How can the connection between scientists and the public be improved in an experimental manner? has been tackled energetically with a series of speed-dating events (trial and error research) that are/have been held in both Rotterdam and Delft (see here), after which an answer can hopefully be given to this current question.

In addition to its own website, Erasmus MC and TU Delft also receive attention from other media.

Furthermore, on November 25, 2019, the Candidate Member Committee offered the other entrants the opportunity to present their ideas:

Presentation of other entries

President Director Peter A. Wieringa opens the meeting

The Competition to which all participants had submitted their ideas was: as follows:

“How can the connection between the scientist and the public be improved? be improved experimentally”

Eight more participants presented their ideas on this evening, which were well received by the audience. It was a full house and an interesting evening with many different perspectives and critical questions. In addition, Athina Vidaki (Winner of the 250th Anniversary Competition) also provided an update on the current state of affairs of the I-Lab-U initiative.

The following people gave a presentation this evening:

  • Krista Tromp/ Janne Papma | Alzheimer’s education
  • Rens Kortmann from TU Delft | Music gaming
  • Jeroen Mooij | Experience travel by Rail
  • Monique van Dijk | Support Casper Crowdfunding.
  • Jan Molenaar | Language as a bridge between science and the public
  • Athina Vidaki | I Lab U – Winner of the BG competition 2019
  • Stephan Poelsma |
  • George Pop | Cardiologist Human Energy
  • John Hays | Twitch

A summary of the presentations can be found here.