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University of Humanistic Studies News Els van Wijngaarden receives prestigious Erasmus Research Prize

Els van Wijngaarden receives prestigious Erasmus Research Prize

11 May 2017


Els van Wijngaarden is one of the prize winners of the Research Prize awarded by the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation to young academic researchers in the humanities and social sciences. The Research Prizes 2017 were presented during a festive ceremony in the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences on 11 May.


Van Wijngaarden received the prize for her dissertation Ready to give up on life. A study into the lived experience of older people who consider their lives to be completed and no longer worth living.



Photo: Praemium Erasmianum Foundation


Report by the Selection Committee 

"This dissertation examines a highly explosive theme, the phenomenon of a ‘fulfilled life’, in a balanced, lucid and sensitive way. The author researches the scientific context within which this phenomenon is written about. Drawing on interviews, she explores the factors that influence older people who wish to end their lives. She complements this empirical research in an interesting and thorough manner with an overview of existing provisions on the one hand, and external criticism on the other. In her research the author links various academic disciplines and fields of research, such as phenomenology, the psychology of medical studies and ethics. Her combination of individual histories, social structure and moral reflection makes this a finely balanced study. Moreover, this is the world's first study to put forward empirical arguments in the discussion on rational suicide, which to date has largely been a theoretical debate. The jury was impressed by the qualitative analysis and hopes that the work will prove exemplary in future debates on this important social issue."


Biography

In 2009, Els van Wijngaarden (1976) graduated cum laude in Religious Studies at VU University Amsterdam with a specialisation in (non-denominational) spiritual counselling. From 2007 to 2016, she has worked as a lecturer in ethics and existential counselling at two universities for applied sciences in bachelor and post-bachelor programs. In 2012, she was awarded with a NWO Doctoral Grant for Teachers, allowing her to conduct research into the lived experiences of older people who considered their lives to be completed, at the University of Humanistic Studies. In 2016, she defended her thesis titled Ready to give up on life: A study into the lived experience of older people who consider their lives to be completed and no longer worth living. Besides, she wrote a book for the general public titled Voltooid leven: over leven en willen sterven. Since October 2016, she works as a researcher for the research company Tao of Care and as lecturer and researcher at the University of Humanistic Studies.


Praemium Erasmianum Foundation

Since 1988, the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation awards annual Research Prizes. A maximum of five prizes of € 3,000 each are awarded to young academic researchers in the humanities and social sciences, who have written a PhD dissertation of outstanding quality. The relevant faculties of the Dutch universities are asked to nominate candidates. 


  


Els van Wijngaarden is one of the prize winners of the Research Prize awarded by the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation to young academic researchers in the humanities and social sciences. The Research Prizes 2017 were presented during a festive ceremony in the Royal Netherlands Academy for Arts and Sciences on 11 May.

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