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Stieltjesprijs and NWO Impact Prize

January 28, 2021 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

16:00 – 16:05 Welcome and Opening
16:05 – 16:35 Stieltjes prize award ceremony
Laudatio by prof.dr. Aernout van Enter, chair jury
Presentation by Bente Hilde Bakker
16:35 – 17.00 NWO Stairway to Impact prize award ceremony
Laudatio by prof.dr. Johann Hurink, chair jury
Presentation by  Kateřina Staňková (MU)

Stieltjesprijs Winner

My name is Bente Hilde Bakker and to my big surprise and honour I’ve been granted this year’s Stieltjesprijs for my thesis titled “Nonlinear waves in local and nonlocal media: a topological approach“. I did my PhD studies at VU Amsterdam and I’m currently working as postdoc at Universiteit Leiden.

I did my studies in mathematics at the VU Amsterdam. When I decided to pursue a PhD I had a hard time choosing between topology/geometry or dynamics/partial differential equations (PDEs). Luckily I found a nice project blending the two fields, working with Jan Bouwe van den Berg and Rob van der Vorst as my promotors. I started working on developing topological invariants which capture travelling waves in reaction-diffusion PDEs. This turned out to be possible only by considering much more general equations which involve nonlocal terms. That’s how I rolled into the field of nonlocal equations, such as lattice differential equations (LDEs). Though formally these share a lot in common with their PDE counterparts, fairly little of the tools known for PDEs extend to the realm of LDEs. It’s all the more exciting that I’ve managed to develop my topological tools for LDEs and similar nonlocal equations.

At the award ceremony, I will give an overview of some of the key results from my thesis.

Kateřina Staňková winner first NWO Domain Science Stairway to Impact Award

With the Stairway to Impact Award NWO Domain Science rewards scientists who take effective steps to utilise their scientific findings to tackle a societal problem and/or to make an economic contribution. Kateřina Staňková (MU) wins the Stairway to Impact Award for her contributions to mathematics-based cancer therapies.

By winning the Stairway to Impact Award Kateřina Staňková receives €50.000 to spend on further steps promoting this impact and knowledge application. The Stairway to Impact Award is one of the five new special scientific awards of the NWO Domain Science.

Check out these links for more information about the award and a short film of Kateřina:


In this award ceremony, Kateřina will give a talk on

Title: Game theory to improve treatment of metastatic cancers

Abstract: In this talk, we will investigate cancer treatment as a game-theoretic contest between the physician’s therapy and the cancer cells’ resistance strategies. This game has two critical asymmetries: (1) Only the physician can play rationally. Cancer cells, like all evolving organisms, can only adapt to current conditions; they can neither anticipate nor evolve adaptations for treatments that the physician has not yet applied. (2) It has a distinctive Stackelberg (i.e. leader-follower) dynamics; the “leader” oncologist plays first and the “follower” cancer cells then respond and adapt to therapy. Current treatment protocols for metastatic cancer typically exploit neither asymmetry. By repeatedly administering the same drug(s) until disease progression, the physician “plays” a fixed strategy even as the opposing cancer cells continuously evolve successful adaptive responses. By changing treatment only when the tumor progresses, treatment failure becomes nearly inevitable.

Game theory helps us to utilize physicians’s advantages in the cancer treatment game, leading to treatment protocols that anticipate and steer cancer eco-evolutionary dynamics and improve treatment outcomes.

Stieltjesprijs and NWO Impact Prize


January 28, 2021
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Registrations are closed for this event