Member Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW)



Vossen has been appointed as one of the 26 new members of the Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen (KNAW). The 26 new members include this year’s selection of 16 top women scientists and scholars for membership with reference to the Westerdijkjaar.

Vossen has been nominated in the cross domain section of the KNAW, which is exceptional. He now belongs to the Behavioural Sciences, Social Sciences and Law Domain, the Humanities Domain and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Domain.


Throughout his career, Vossen has consistently worked on models of semantics that enable computers to understand natural language in relation to some model of the world. His research was always at the intersection of linguistics, computational modeling and artificial intelligence. He takes linguistics seriously but nevertheless applies formal mathematical and logic models to data and language interpretation. Vossen’s research added strong interpretation models to linguistic processing of text but he also made clear that there is more to language than just being multilingual labels for concepts in semantic web resources and AI models or computer interfaces. His work on large-coverage semantic resources revealed the richness and lexical diversity as a function of cultural and pragmatic factors. Any realistic AI system that needs to communicate with humans needs to take this into account.

The Academy has 556 members. Membership is awarded on the basis of scientific and scholarly achievement. Nominations may be submitted by members, executive boards of the Dutch universities or divisions for sciences of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) and assessments by external referees will henceforth be taken into account. The new Akademie-members will be inaugurated on Thursday June 8, 2017.

Members are appointed for life. Academy membership is regarded as a great honour in the Netherlands.