Prof. dr. Joep van den Berckenprize

As a tribute to the Utrecht neuro-toxicologist Prof. Joep van den Bercken, UTOX (a partnership of the University of Utrecht, RIVM and TNO in the area of ​​toxicology) established a prize to stimulate the research of young toxicologists. Since then, UTOX assimilated into IRAS and since 2003, this award is issued by the NVT. The prize, worth € 1,000, is awarded annually at the annual meeting of the NVT.

The evaluation of candidates and the award ceremony takes place under the responsibility of a committee installed and chaired by the president of the association. This committee is installed on an ad hoc basis, with a provision that the committee members have no involvement with the nominated candidates. This committee of prominent toxicologists evaluates the dissertations and selects the winner. During the annual meeting of the NVT, the winner presents his/her research during a short presentation (about 15 minutes).

Participation is open for researchers who have defended their theses in the calendar year prior to the annual meeting and are member of the NVT. Nominations for the prize are submitted by the PhD-team (the promotor(es) and co-promotor(s)).

Submissions should consist:

  • A short CV of the candidate
  • A PDF of the thesis
  • A scientific summary of the thesis (max. 400 words) and a motivation (max. 2 pages), In which the following aspects are addressed:
    1. Originality
    2. Scientific quality (publications (bibliography), reports (by institutions, not necessarily peer reviewed), book contributions, abstracts/presentations by invitation)
    3. Societal relevance (patents, contributions to risk assessments, public activities)

The documents should be sent to the chairman of the NVT before March 1, 2024:

Prof. dr. Paul Jennings, 



As a tribute to the Utrecht neuro-toxicologist prof. dr. Joep van den Bercken, the NVT established a prize to stimulate the research of young toxicologists. The award consists of a cash prize of € 1,000.

To Qualify
All theses describing toxicological research can compete for the Joep van den Berckenprize. These are nominated by the (co)promotor of the candidate. The (co)promotor does not need to be working in the field of toxicology himself/herself; the thesis must cover toxicological research. Candidates are member of the Dutch Society of Toxicology (NVT) and have defended their thesis in the calendar year prior to the year wherein the prize is awarded during the annual meeting.

The thesis must be submitted before March 1st of the year of the annual meeting (i.e. the year after the defense) to qualify for the Joep van den Berckenprize the same year. The chairman of the society will send an invitation for nominations to the professors in the society.

The evaluation committee is composed by the chairman of the NVT, consisting of five renowned toxicologists besides the chairman, who chairs this ad hoc committee. In the selection of committee members, representation from academia, institutes and industry is aimed for, as well as division over the several specializations within toxicology. Furthermore, the members of the evaluation committee may have no personal involvement in the dissertations being evaluated.

The evaluation committee selects the winner, where at least two thirds of the evaluation committee must agree on the selected candidate. The assessment committee will submit a short written note to the NVT board to explain the reasoning behind the selection of the winner of the Joep van den Berckenprize.
The winner of the Joep van den Berckenprize will be announced to members at the Annual Meeting of the NVT, after which the winner will give a presentation on his/her doctoral research.

Evaluation criteria
The main evaluation criteria are:

  1. Originality/innovative character
    The research presented is innovative, but may be based on previous research within the group. The research surpasses disciplines or is demonstrably innovative in its own discipline.
  2. Scientific quality
    There must be a clear theoretical framework within which the research was conducted. The relation to earlier research, also conducted internationally, is succinctly put.
    The research results are clearly described and published in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  3. Toxicological impact
    The described research contributes to the development of toxicology in the Netherlands.
  4. Societal impact
    The societal impact can be shown by patents, societal contributions (e.g. in the media), or inclusion of the work in risk evaluations performed by risk assessment institutes.