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KIT Board member Joyeeta Gupta wins prestigious Spinoza Prize

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KIT Royal Tropical Institute’s  Supervisory Board Member Prof. Dr. Joyeeta Gupta has won the Spinoza Prize, the highest scientific award in The Netherlands. KIT is proud and pleased that Joyeeta Gupta is awarded this prestigious prize for her work on climate change and justice, which is at the heart of KIT’s mission to contribute to a more sustainable and inclusive world.

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Henri van Eeghen, CEO of KIT Royal Tropical Institute, says in a first reaction: “big congratulations to our Supervisory Board Member Joyeeta Gupta, who has won the prestigious Spinoza Prize. It is a well-deserved recognition for her ground-breaking work on climate change and justice, and is bound to open up new opportunities for further research and action on this urgent issue.”

The Spinoza Prize comprises an award of € 1.5 million, of which Joyeeta Gupta is saying that she “would like to use the Spinoza Prize for greater equity in biodiversity, climate, water, nutrients, environmental and development issues. With a global constitution as the dot on the horizon.”

Ms Gupta, who is professor of environment and development of the global south at the University of Amsterdam, has been working her entire career on the effects of climate change. In doing so she calls attention to global injustice: in the end, developing countries are hit hardest by the changing climate while they are not the main culprits. Increased likelihood of floods, droughts and crop failures, have direct implications for relations between rich and poor.

Publication in Nature

Ms Gupta is a prominent member of the global community dealing with environmental issues. For instance, she was lead author of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. In her latest work, including the widely acclaimed article ‘Safe and just Earth system boundaries’ published in Nature  recently (31st of May 2023), Ms Gupta and her co-authors propose a set of safe and just Earth systems boundaries (ESBs), within which humanity must operate in order to continue making sustainable use of Earth’s resources possible.

About the Spinoza Prize

Quality of academic work and impact are the two main criteria for the Spinoza Prize, which is sometimes coined the Dutch “Nobel Prize” and this year also awarded to Toby Kiers, professor of evolution science. The selection committee says it is ‘very impressed’ by the scientific impact of Ms Gupta’s research, calling it ‘incredibly broad and interdisciplinary’. The committee also mentions Ms Gupta’s ‘tireless commitment’ which has an ‘attracting and inspiring’ effect on young scientists, referring to the long list of PhD students whom she has supervised. The official award ceremony will be held on 4 October 2023. 

Ms Gupta has been a member of KIT’s Supervisory Board since 2015.