Eindhoven University of Technology: Professor Steven Vos wins half a million euros for research into active lifestyles

Professor Steven Vos, who also lectures at Fontys University of Applied Sciences, has been awarded the Delta Prize for his research into an active and healthy lifestyle. He was presented with the prize and accompanying grant of 500,000 euros by outgoing Minister Ingrid van Engelshoven.

Steven Vos is a professor of Design and Analysis of Intelligent Systems for Vitality and Leisure Time Sports at the TU Eindhoven department of Industrial Design. He is also Move to Be lecturer at Fontys University of Applied Sciences. He has been awarded the prize for his practice-based research at Fontys. “An incredibly wonderful recognition,” states a proud Steven Vos on the Fontys news site Bron. “This focuses more attention on the theme of active and healthy lifestyle. This is very important because everyone now realizes, due in part to the consequences of COVID-19, how relevant this theme is.”

Vos’ professorship at Fontys focuses on the preventive aspects of health and offering everyone a fair chance to engage in an active and healthy lifestyle. Examples include encouraging active transport to school, offering an after-school sports program or a healthy lunch, and creating exercise-friendly schoolyards in various districts in Eindhoven.

His method is distinguished by challenging parents, children, teachers and community workers to come up with their own ideas. For example, in one of the neighborhoods it turned out that the schoolyard was far too small. Vos: “There was no room to play and there were regular conflicts, so we went along with the school and the municipality to see what the situation was. On a small patch of grass a little further down the road there was a dilapidated playground. Together with the children, we sketched some designs for a new playground and the municipality provided a budget for this.”

Vos also stimulates a healthy lifestyle in other sectors. He took the initiative, for instance, for the cooperation between four knowledge institutes in the Brainport region (Fontys, imec, TNO and TU/e) aimed at increasing employee vitality.

Minister of Education, Culture and Science Ingrid van Engelshoven congratulated the winners. Van Engelshoven: “The further growth of applied research is important for the Netherlands and this must become even more visible. These fantastic Delta Award winners will certainly help to achieve this.”

The grant, an initiative of the Taskforce for Applied Research SIA and the Netherlands Association of Universities of Applied Sciences, was awarded for the second time and recognizes the valuable contribution that professors and their research groups make to society. There were two winners. Besides Vos, lecturer Margie Topp also received the prize for her research into recycling ‘difficult plastics’. The two winners were chosen by an independent selection committee comprising six experts chaired by Ionica Smeets, professor of Science Communication at Leiden University.

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