Newnham Postdoctoral Affiliate wins prestigious research prize for ‘highly original’ PhD

Dr Lucy van de Wiel

Dr Lucy van de Wiel has been awarded the Erasmus Research Prize for her PhD thesis which focused on the socio-cultural dimensions of new reproductive technologies.

Her thesis was titled Freezing Fertility: Oocyte Cryopreservation and the Gender Politics of Ageing and explores whether freezing eggs, which can allow motherhood to be postponed, has had profound consequences on the way female ageing is viewed.

The material her thesis examines is diverse and includes time-lapse photography, documentaries, and news coverage, and Dr van de Wiel synthesizes gender studies, biotechnology studies and ageing studies.

She also analysed the cultural debates around reproductive technological developments, showing how egg freezing can trigger a series of discussions which are similar internationally and indicative about the sign of the times as a whole.

The Erasmus Research Prize is an annual prize, awarded by the board of the Praemium Erasmianum Foundation – a cultural institution active in the fields of humanities, social sciences and the arts. The Foundation awards a maximum of five prizes of €3,000 to young academic researchers in the humanities and social sciences, who have written a PhD dissertation of outstanding quality and is one of the most distinguished awards in Europe

The judging panel said about Dr van de Wiel: “The jury considers this dissertation highly original, lucidly written and above all an important theoretical contribution to understanding gender constructions, reproduction and ageing.”

His Majesty the King of the Netherlands is Patron of the Foundation and the award ceremony took place at the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in Amsterdam on May 11 2017.

Read more about Dr van de Wiel and her work