Professor Kurt Deketelaere (SCB, KU Leuven, LERU) will receive the first Scaliger Medal, a new award offered by Leiden University to honour people or organisations that uphold the University’s values in a unique manner.
Deketelaere will receive the Medal for ‘the unique way in which has promoted the position of research universities in Europe and European collaboration in the area of research and teaching.’ Deketelaere is not only Professor of Law at KU Leuven but also secretary-general of the League of European Research Universities (LERU). Twenty-three European research universities work together in LERU, including Leiden University and KU Leuven.
Successful policy area
Professor Deketelaere is incredibly active for the LERU in the further development of the European Research Area and European policy on research and teaching, a basic tenet of which is academic excellence. ‘It is due to his work that European research policy is one of the most successful policy areas of the EU,’ says Rector Magnificus of Leiden University Carel Stolker, who will award Deketelaere with the Medal on 19 September 2017. ‘The European research universities play a crucial role in this. I therefore consider it a huge privilege to be able to award the first Scaliger Prize to him.’
This is the first year in which the Scaliger Medal will be awarded. The Medal was established by Leiden University to honour people or organisations who make a unique contribution to upholding the values that universities stand for, both nationally and internationally. These values relate to the independent pursuit of teaching and research. Universities must be a refuge in which any question can be asked and answered, where academics are guided by the highest ambitions of quality and academic integrity, where the teaching is inspired and enriched by academic research and where there is room to apply knowledge in a manner that benefits society.
Josephus Justus Scaliger
The Scaliger Medal is named after the great scholar Josephus Justus Scaliger, who earned international recognition for Leiden University at the end of the sixteenth century and whose peers called him a ‘phoenix among the scholars’ and a ‘bottomless pit of erudition.’ This new award is a supplement to the Willem van Oranje Medal for those who have reached a ‘high social, national or international level’ and the University Medal for those who have rendered a unique service to the University.
Bastion of freedom
As one of the oldest universities in Europe, and founded by Prince William of Orange as ‘een vast steunsel ende onderhoudt der vryheyt’ (a firm foundation for the maintenance of freedom), Leiden University considers its special duty to be to continue to draw attention to the importance of independent teaching and research. It regards freedom of spirit, thought and speech (Praesidium Libertatis) as its core values.