David Dalenberg wins UvA Thesis Prize 2018

12 June 2018

Alumnus of International and European Law David Dalenberg is the winner of the UvA Thesis Prize 2018. He studied how discrimination can be prevented in the targeting of job advertisements. Second place goes to Carla Groenland (Artificial Intelligence), third to Robert Verschuren (Econometrics).

The three winners received their awards on Saturday 9 June during the UvA’s annual University Day. Seven of the ninety-two submissions for the UvA dissertation award were nominated – one for each faculty. The seven candidates each presented their research to the visitors of the University Day in a one-minute pitch, after which presenter Abdelkader Benali asked a number of questions. Hans Brug, chair of the jury panel comprised of the deans of the seven faculties, then announced the names of the winners and presented the award ceremony.

The winners of the UvA thesis award

The three winners of the UvA Thesis Prize (ltr): Robert Verschuren (third prise), Carla Groenland (second prise) and David Dalenberg (first prise) (Photo Marc Kruse)

In his winning thesis, ‘Preventing discrimination in the automated targeting of job advertisements’, David Dalenberg describes how artificial intelligence is used in the automated targeting of job advertisements for specific population groups. This excludes other groups, which creates a discriminatory effect. With his thesis, Dalenberg contributes to the development of a solution to this problem.

Second place winner Carla Groenland’s thesis deals with game theory-based research into the effects of anticipation. She looks at mathematical congestion games, a subspecies of game theory. In brief: when in the supermarket, do you choose the shortest line at the register, or not, because you judge one of the people in it to be a slow payer?

Robert Verschuren received the third prize for his study of the question as to how banks can best deal with negative interest. Positive interest means that you receive a remuneration for allowing the bank to manage your money; with negative interest, on the other hand, you have to pay for the service. Verschuren shows how financial organisations can describe this in the interest rate structure using a mathematical model, and how they can apply this model in practice in order to estimate the state of their financial affairs.


SPUI25 in spe, the youth editors of the academic/cultural platform SPUI25, created a podcast with each of the seven nominees for the UvA Thesis Prize. These podcast episodes, each approximately half an hour in length, can be listened to through the links below.

Nicholas Avedisian-Cohen (Faculty of Humanities): The thesis explores how online video archives attempt to document the ongoing war in Syria, charting the gradual acceptance of moving images as legal evidence and the archives as an evolving discourse, so as to understand contemporary audio-visual cultures that have emerged around war in fuller socio-historical context (in English)

Kahar Hussain (Faculty of Behavioural and Social Sciences): The thesis aims to understand the discrepancy between the high educational achievements of and labour market disadvantage experienced by young British Bangladeshis by analysing the key social interactions (within family, school, religion, community, and wider societal encounters) that influence their aspirations (in English)

Fons van den Berg (Faculty of Medicine): Newly discovered genetic risk factors may increase the likelihood of severe complications in acute pancreatitis (in Dutch)

David Dalenberg (Amsterdam Law School): Preventing discrimination in the targeting of job advertisements (in Dutch)

Carla Groenland (Faculty of Science): Game theory-based research into the effects of anticipation (in Dutch)

Liza van de Rijt (Faculty of Dentistry): Prevalence of pain in the faces of older people afflicted with dementia and validation of an observation scale to identify facial pain in this population (in Dutch)

Robert Verschuren (Economics and Business): How can financial organisations best describe low, negative interest rates in their interest rate structure (in Dutch)

Published by  Bureau Alumnirelaties en Universiteitsfonds