Paul & Tatiana Ehrenfest thesis award: Rules and Instructions


Aim of the prize

The Paul & Tatiana Ehrenfest Thesis Award is awarded annually to the author of an outstanding Ph.D. thesis in physics, defended at a Dutch University in the previous year. Both experimental and theoretical theses are eligible. The winner receives a sum of € 5,000 that can be spent as wished, together with a prize certificate, and is invited to present their work at a national meeting.

Who is eligible for the prize

Candidates should have obtained their doctorate from a Dutch university in an area of physics research. For the 2020 prize the Ph.D. degree must have been awarded in the period 1 May 2019 – 1 September 2020. The deadline for nominations for the 2020 prize is 1 October 2020.

Who can nominate

Candidates for the prize should be nominated by their Ph.D. advisor (promotor or co-promotor). Self-nominations are not accepted.

Which documentation is required

The nomination should contain a CV of the candidate and a supporting letter by the advisor. Hard-copies of the thesis are not needed, it suffices to provide a link to a digital copy (which must be in the public domain). The nomination should be sent by email to the secretary of the jury, Dr. Arlette Werner [ ]. The documentation will be treated confidentially and the list of candidates is not disclosed.

Assessment criteria

After an initial check to ensure that the research of each candidate does indeed belong to the field of physics, the thesis will be assessed against the following criteria:

  • the new insights obtained by the research
  • the originality of the research method
  • the scientific breadth of knowledge displayed by the candidate, in combination with their in-depth scientific understanding
  • the clarity of presentation of the results

Selection procedure

The selection of the prize winner is in the hands of a high-level jury of 5–6 members, appointed by the executive board of the Dutch Physics Council. A board member may be part of the jury. A jury member will be recused if one of the candidates is their own Ph.D. student. Membership of the jury is for a three-year period and can be renewed once. The executive board of the Dutch Physics Council decides on the award of the prize based on the advice of the jury. The selection procedure is confidential and not open to correspondence.