Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics

'Vogel het uit!' finalist for prestigious Academic Year Prize

1 October 2013

For the first time, a team led by researchers from the University of Amsterdam (UvA) has made it to the finals of the Academic Year Prize. The ‘Vogel het uit!’ project was proposed by an interdisciplinary team led by Judy Shamoun-Baranes and Prof. Willem Bouten and aims to involve people that enjoy the outdoors in the high-tech study of bird behaviour.

Vogel het uit!

The Academic Year Prize is awarded annually to the best communication plan for translating scientific research to the general public. ‘We see the fascinating lives of birds from a completely new perspective and we want to share that with people and get them involved in our research,’ explains team captain Shamoun. The project stems from the bird studies that have used GPS-backpacks developed by the University of Amsterdam (, which have been running for the past five years.

Researchers such as Shamoun and Bouten of the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) can follow the behaviour of individual birds by the minute. Still, many questions remain unanswered. The project proposed by Shamoun and Bouten describes how people can follow these bird tracking studies and provide additional information about the surroundings where birds have been, something not observed by a GPS tag. Participants can use a special app on their smartphone to navigate to places the birds have visited and share their observations (for examples photos and videos of the landscape). By doing so, they can also contribute to scientific research. The latest developments can be followed on the Facebook page of Vogel het uit!

During the finals of the Academic Year Prize on 23 October, the best team will receive a €100,000 award. This prize would allow the UvA team to actually carry out their proposed project.

Vote now for the public award

In addition to the main prize the team of Vogel het uit! is also in the running for the public award. The general public is invited to vote for the best project of the three finalists from 29 September until the finals on 23 October. For this prize, each team has made a special four-minute pitch to outline their plan.

Published by  IBED