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The Tjeerd de Jong Contest 2013

On Friday 1 November 2013 for the third time in a row the Tjeerd de Jong Contest took place – a research award in the field of livestock and economics. The ceremony was held at the Zodiac building of the Animal Breeding and Genetics Group of Wageningen UR.

The candidates

Three excellent students of the Animal Science Group battled that Friday for the cheque of 2,000 euros. The three candidates for this year were in alfabetical order Ms Esther Donkersloot, Ms Sasha van der Klein and Ms Mischa Streekstra. They took part in the study course Research Mastercluster which affilliates with the award. In this course the students are expected tot write their own research proposal in the field of animal science.


During a pitch of several minutes the candidates presented their research plan in front of the jury and audience.

The research plan of Esther Donkersloot is about identifying the indicators predicting the life time of cows in order to increase the resistance of these animals. This subject is of current interest because farmers intend to increase their cattle stock as reaction to the abrogation of the milk quotum in the near future. Obviously the influence of the farmers on the life expectancy of their cattle stock is present. That is why in the research project data will be used of several test farms in order to mitigate the influence of the farmers.

Sasha van der Klein presented her research proposal in wich she would like to measure the effects of reducing the nutrition for broiler breeds and their off spring. This is also a research project of current interest which could lead to new food strategies. Sasha used a terrific slogan to describe her project which is difficult to translate in English. Literally it says: “from a exploding broiler breeds to lucky chickens”. She openend the audience’s eyes by saying that a fast growing chicken (plofkip) should not be expected to have a life worse than chicken which grow at a normal speed.

Mischa Streekstra presented her research plan in which she will study the life cyclus of coral and the reproduction of coral. How does coral regenerates itself? In her research plan measuring the influence of light on the coral is one of the topics. The genes of coral will also be subject of study. This research is from an egological point of view urgent because for several reasons coral is harvested en reproduction of coral in captivity is not successful (yet). Several parties will cooperate in this project including Dutch zoos.

The Jury

Head of the jury was Dr ir Henk Bovenhuis of the university. On behalf of the Foundation Professor Dr Herre Kingma and Mr Erik Meijer took part in the negotiations of the jury.

It took the jury an unusual long time to decide. It appeared a difficult task to pick the winner because of the high quality level of the pitches and the research plans.

The winner

The jury eventually decided to award Esther Donkersloot the Tjeerd de Jongprice 2013. We congratulate her with winning the award. The differences this year were so little that we could speak of a ‘close call’. The jury therefore decided to award two second prices to both Sasha van der Klein and Mischa Streekstra. Both of them received a price of 1,000 euros. All the candidates received a flowers and the cup of Makkummer stonery.


We would like to thank Mr Jan van der Poel and other people of the university for organizing and taking part in the ceremony. We would like to thank family members and fellow students of the candidates for their attendance. After this succesful event we start preparing ourselves for the 2014 edition of the Tjeerd de Jong Contest.

Soon pictures of this event will be shown on this webpage. We will also publish stories of former candidates for the Tjeerd de Jongprijs in which they inform us about their reserach projects and developments in their (scientific) career.