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The RSM Awards are a yearly celebration of outstanding performance by those working or studying at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM). Individuals and teams are nominated by colleagues and students, and winners are selected from a shortlist by the RSM Executive Board. This year’s ceremony, held at Hal4 in Rotterdam, recognised five winners in the areas of funding, innovative teaching, professional services, thesis mentoring and positive change and announced. RSM also announced and launched a new leadership award to celebrate outstanding leadership within the school.

For a number of years, RSM has been recognising exceptional contributions to the school through an annual awards ceremony each December at the year-end town hall event. An open nomination process allows the full RSM community – faculty, staff, students and alumni – to nominate colleagues and members in the RSM community in five key areas that drive success for our mission, teaching and learning.

RSM Funding Award

The 2023 RSM Funding Award was presented to Dr Julija Mell, associate professor in the department of Organisation and Personnel Management, for her project: ‘Bringing us together or pulling us apart? How working in multiple teams simultaneously impacts workplace inclusion’. Dr Mell was awarded a prestigious Vidi Grant of € 800,000 from the Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO).

Dr Mell’s funded research – with its focus on teamwork through intercultural and intergeographic collaboration – is not only societally extremely relevant by addressing topical challenges inherent to contemporary globalised employment patterns but is also relevant to RSM and to EUR as organisations. We too are an international, diverse and sometimes geographically dispersed community of teams. The committee is of the view that Dr Mell’s research has direct relevance to EUR as an employer and as a collective working environment, meaning it has the potential to positively impact the way we, as an organisation, work together to achieve our goals. This, against the backdrop of psychological safety and diversity being urgent strategic policy priorities in Dutch universities, makes her research timely and showcases EUR as a force for positive change.”

Jury: Dr Patricia Chaudron (Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication and Erasmus Research Services); Dr Nathan Albury (Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences) and Paul Huber (International Institute of Social Studies).

RSM Innovative Teaching Award

RSM’s 2023 Innovative Teaching award was presented to Dr Arjen Mulder, senior lecturer in financial management in the Department of Finance, for creating personalised learning routes for students.

Arjen’s personalised learning routes, which were implemented at large scale and in both Dutch and English, can be leveraged to help both our pre-and post-experience students. This innovation is one that will fundamentally help improve the student journey through more personalised and tailor-made solutions which has the potential to really move education forward. It was obvious that students appreciated his work and that it improved their student learning journey.”

Jury: Prof. Michel Lander, dean of education; and Jeroen Melein, director of RSM Digitalisation and Information Services.

RSM Outstanding Professional Services Award

Bianca Doolhoff, management assistant for the Office of the Dean and the RSM Digitilisation and Information Services department, was awarded the 2023 RSM Professional Services Award for her service over the last eight years delivering outstanding secretariat support to colleagues across RSM.

“Bianca is a reliable, silent ‘force’ who plays a key role behind the scenes in making RSM ‘run like a well-oiled machine’. Bianca, a long-standing RSM employee, is also very active socially within RSM, being involved with organising positive change and volunteer activities as well as various other formal and informal events across the school. Her commitment and drive to helping RSM and its leadership to achieve the best is highly commendable and makes her the perfect candidate for this award.”

Jury: Myra van Esch, RSM’s director of operations; and Richard Hageman, chief operating officer of RSM BV.

Mariëtte Kaandorp Award

The Mariëtte Kaandorp Prize for Excellence in Thesis Mentoring was established by the Kaandorp family in 2021 to honour the memory of Mariëtte, an assistant professor in the department of Organisation and Personnel Management, who died in 2020 at the age of 35.

The award was created to recognise a master thesis advisor who supports students and empowers them to excel. RSM is proud to announce that Hendra Wijaya, lecturer in the Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship department was this year’s recipient.

“Hendra’s competence as a coach and useful insights was easily seen from the feedback with and scores from his students. His explanations, use of the thesis manual to help guide the process and timely responses helped to make the stressful process of writing a thesis much smoother, so much so that Hendra’s approach has been suggested by students to be used as a guiding template for others.”

Jury: Werner Brouwer, interim dean; Daan Stam, dean of faculty, and Michel Lander, dean of education.

RSM Positive Change Award

RSM’s mission is to be a force for positive change in the world, and this award is intended for a recipient who best embodies that mission. The 2023 RSM Positive Change award was presented to Stephan van Roon, student assistant for the MBA programme at RSM BV.

“Stephan contributes to SDG goals 4 (quality education), 5 (gender equality) and 10 (reduced inequalities) by creating a more inclusive learning environment where all students feel welcome. His kindness and commitment to being a strong advocate for LGBTQ+ students and staff on campus and creating a welcoming place for all students to learn and thrive is the reason why we are proudly presenting him with the 2023 RSM Positive Change Award.”

Jury: Werner Brouwer, interim dean; Pursey Heugens, dean of research; and Michel Lander, dean of education.

RSM Leadership Award

In recognition of the role that strong leadership plays within shaping the values and future of the school, the RSM Executive Board has created a new Leadership award to be presented to community members who have shown deep commitment to helping the school achieve its strategic aims while guiding its faculty, staff and students to achieving success. This inaugural award was presented to Prof Pursey Heugens, professor of organisation theory, development and change in the department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship and outgoing dean of research and scientific director of ERIM.

“For 25 years Pursey Heugens has been dedicated to ensuring RSM remains a leading global business school – in research, teaching and engagement. We present this award to him today in recognition of his efforts to create and nuture a high-performing research community and rich research infrastructure. His contributions in helping establish RSM as a world-recognised research institution have not only enabled us to attract top research talent from around the world, but they have helped ensure that the knowledge RSM generates makes an impact globally and drives real positive change.”

The RSM awards are held annually each year. Click here for more information on the awards, nomination requirements and associated prizes.

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers.

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at

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