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ISA Medal for Science 2019 to Prof. Naomi Ellemers

ISA Medal for Science to Prof. Naomi Ellemers University of Utrecht, The Netherlands

May 14, 2019 from 05:00 PM to 07:30 PM

Where Sala VIII Centenario - Palazzo Poggi, via Zamboni 33, Bologna

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The Academic Board of the Institute of Advanced Studies of the University of Bologna has attributed the ISA Medal for Science 2019 to Prof. Naomi Ellemers (The Netherlands). The ISA Medal for Science is the highest honor awarded by the Institute to scholars who are worldwide acknowledged for their scientific stature and the broad impact of their research.

The award ceremony will take place on May 14 at 5 p.m. in the VIII centenario lecture hall. After receiving the ISA medal from the hands of the Magnifico Rettore, Prof. Ellemers will  deliver the Lectio Magistralis "Diversity and Organizational Development".

The mission of the Institute of Advanced Studies is to support the development of interdisciplinary research at the University of Bologna by facilitating visits from distinguished scholars from abroad. The ISA Medal is awarded by the Rector of the University of Bologna and by the Director of ISA to individuals or groups for their contribution to knowledge in science and technology as well as in human, social and behavioral sciences. Award winners are selected annually by the Academic board of ISA from proposals made by professors and researchers of the University of Bologna. The complete list of scholars who have received the Medal since its inception in 2006 is published on the Institute web site at

Prof. Naomi Ellemers CV

Naomi Ellemers (UC Berkeley, 1980-1981; cum laude PhD 1991, Groningen University) is a social/organizational psychologist, who started her career at the Free University in Amsterdam (1991-1999), and built her research group at Leiden University (1999-2015) into an internationally renowned center for research on group processes and intergroup relations. She is an expert on cooperation in groups and organizations, addressing how social identities lead people to transcend their individual interests and invest in collective outcomes. Ellemers was appointed Distinguished University Professor at Utrecht University, in recognition of her scientific excellence (2015). This is an honorary position awarded to “outstanding researchers with an interdisciplinary appeal and breadth of vision”. In the past years, Ellemers has succeeded in attracting a new team of interdisciplinary young talents and established scholars to work with her . She has forged collaborative research and knowledge exchange programs with different external parties, and won  very conspicuous  research grant from the Dutch National Science Foundation, awarded by the Ministry of Education (NWO Gravitation program, 2017).

A key contribution of Ellemers to the field relates to the challenges that emerge when people who represent different social groups and communities work together. She developed a model to specify the circumstances under which individuals can benefit from their differences instead of suffering from them (Ellemers & Rink, 2016). Her work elucidates the different experiences of men and women at work in light of their family responsibilities (Ellemers, 2014; in press). Likewise, she has uncovered how the willingness of ethnic minority members and other stigmatized groups (e.g. gay and lesbian workers) to collaborate towards organizational goals depends on the extent to which the organization acknowledges and supports their community identity (Ellemers & Barreto, 2015). Her pioneering work resulted in the emerging understanding that family and community identities spill over into the work domain, and that these different identities have to be taken into account to optimize cooperation at work.

Ellemers has won multiple large and highly coveted grants. These include a KNAW Academy Assistants grant (2010), an NWO Spinoza grant of 2,5 million euros (2010), a NWO Graduate School Grant (2011), multiple grants from the NWO ‘Conflict and Security’ program (2009), multiple grants totaling 3,2 euros from the Dutch national program on CO2 capture and storage (CATO and CATO-2), to examine communication and public opinion formation (2003; 2009), and most recently an NWO Gravitation Grant of 18,8 million euros to study sustainable cooperation for resilient societies (2017).

In the course of her carrier she has supervised almost 30 Ph.D students. She has published more than 200 articles in impacted journals and many international books and chapters. She is constantly involved in communicating  in different ways the results of her research to inform policies underlying resilient, equalitarian  and inclusive societies.