David Abbink receives Stevin Prize

Pictured in the header David Abbink, © Guus Schoonewille.

David Abbink is this year’s recipient of the NWO Stevin Prize. The Stevin Prize, along with the Spinoza Prize, is the highest Dutch award in science. David will receive 1.5 million euros to spend on scientific research and translating knowledge into practice.

TU Delft professor David Abbink researches the interaction between humans and intelligent machines. Within Convergence Health and Technology, he works with Professor Monique van Dijk. They are committed to robotics in support of healthcare.

Overblown expectations

According to David, robotics can help address healthcare challenges such as an ageing population and a growing shortage of workers. Still, skilled workers remain crucial. David: ‘I don’t like overblown expectations around robotics or the idea that we must make robots that mimic humans. We already have people; we must take good care of them.’

That’s why David works with experts and practitioners to explore how technological innovations such as robotics can truly serve the workplace and it’s people. Within the Convergence project Technological Innovation for Nurses, he does so together with professor of nursing science Monique van Dijk

Monique: ‘The workload for nurses is high. Technological innovations could ease the workload, but their implementation is often difficult. A robot frequently ends up gathering dust in a corner because the people who have to work with it are not included in the development process.’ Monique and David are committed to successfully implementing robotics in healthcare. ‘Our project is for and with nurses.’

An earlier transdisciplinary workshop by David Abbink and Monique van Dijk at Erasmus MC.


David brings together engineers, designers, social scientists from different universities and practitioners in the research and innovation centre FRAIM. David: ‘I am touched and very happy with the Stevin Prize. I see it as recognition and encouragement for the great group of people we work with, trying to shape a meaningful future of work.’


TU Delft Rector Magnificus Tim van der Hagen and Erasmus MC Chairman of the Executive Board Stefan Sleijfer congratulate David with the Stevin Prize. Sleijfer: ‘The quality and accessibility of Dutch healthcare are under increasing pressure due to major labour shortages. The collaboration between the transdisciplinary team that David has put together and healthcare professionals at Erasmus MC provide those labour-supporting innovations that the workplace, and thus healthcare, needs.’

Van der Hagen: ‘What a wonderful recognition of David Abbink’s pioneering research in the field of human-robot interaction and in shaping the future of work. David is a connector and inspirer who knows how to make the connection between science, innovation and society like no other. We at TU Delft are extremely proud of him for receiving this special prize, which will help him continue his impactful work.’


An earlier transdisciplinary workshop by David Abbink and Monique van Dijk at Erasmus MC.