Netspar Thesis Awards granted: Excellent contributions to the netspar research program

Netspar congratulates the winners of the Netspar Thesis Awards 2021: Marc Vahlenbreder (UM), Kristy Jansen (TiU) en het team van Martin Coppens (APG), Ilse van Eekelen (FNV), Roy van Nisselrooij (PGGM), Gilles de Vries (PGB) en Lieke Werner (Achmea) under the guidance of Roel Mehlkopf. The prizes of € 3.000 each were awarded during the annual International Pension Workshop to outstanding master, phd and Tias theses within the Netspar research program.

Marc Vahlenbreder (UM) won the prize for the best Master’s thesis for his research, it explores how emerging technology (Augmented Reality – AR) can impact financial decision-making, namely pension engagement, temporal discounting, and spending decisions. “It fits very well in Netspar research addressing communication, advise and behavioural research. Bringing the technology (augmented reality) into this field this opens new avenues for research.” Read the paper: Meeting your Future Self: Exploring the Impact of Augmented Reality on Psychological Connectedness and Financial Decision-Making.

The award for best PhD thesis went to Kristy Jansen (TiU) for her highly relevant research questions regarding investment decisions of institutional investors such as pension funds. “Thanks to unique data she is able to ask and answer very novel questions. Data alone is not enough, but she manages to develop the proper theoretical framework and methods, and present the sometimes technical material in a well-written chapter.”, according to the jury. Read the paper: Essays on Institutional Investors, Portfolio Choice, and Asset Prices.

The prize for best TIAS thesis (executive education) went to the team of Martin Coppens (APG), Ilse van Eekelen (FNV), Roy van Nisselrooij (PGGM), Gilles de Vries (PGB) en Lieke Werner (Achmea) under the guidance of Roel Mehlkopf. The team has researched the positioning of the fund amongst its peers. They formulated unique potential regarding the background of the branche. “The group has provided some innovational routes regarding the new life cycles which can be used as a basis for further investigation.”. Read the paper: Pensioenvoorstel voor pensioenfonds SOKI: De meeste waarde voor iedere Euro (Dutch only).

About the thesis awards
Every year during the International Pension Workshop, Netspar presents three thesis awards for excellent theses in the categories Master, PhD and Tias
All theses were assessed by the jury – for the last time headed by former Editorial Board chairman Fieke van der Lecq (VU Amsterdam) – on academic quality, relevance to the Netspar research agenda, originality and execution of the research and the accessibility and presentation of the paper.

The bar was set high this year, all nominated theses were of excellent quality. We therefore thank all nominees for their entry and congratulate them on the end result. We also thank the jury for their expert assessment.

Netspar, Network for Studies on Pensions, Aging and Retirement, is a thinktank and knowledge network. Netspar is dedicated to promoting a wider understanding of the economic and social implications of pensions, aging and retirement in the Netherlands and Europe.


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