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Tilburg University presents PhD Thesis Awards to Krysztof Postek (1st) and Lieke Wijnia (2nd)

Data scientist Krysztof Postek and art historian Lieke Wijnia have been awarded first and second prize respectively for the best Tilburg University dissertation in the academic year of 2016-2017. The awards, worth 4,000 and 2,000 euro, were presented at Tilburg University’s PhD Day on March 29th.

Kryztof Postek defended his dissertation cum laude on 17 February 2017 under the title Distributionally and Integer Adjustable Robust Optimization. He wrote several papers on new optimization models and algorithms to obtain decisions that are robust with respect to all kinds of uncertainty in the data. Three of his papers have been published in scientific top journals, which is exceptional, and two others have a high chance of being accepted in very good journals. According to his supervisors Prof. Dick den Hertog and Prof. Bertrand Melenberg (Tilburg School of Economics and Management), Postek is not only extremely good in theoretical research but also in applying it to real problems. For instance, one of his theories concerns an adjustable robust plan for measures to satisfy the water safety standards.

After his PhD defense Postek obtained a position at the William Davidson Faculty of Industrial Engineering and Management, Technion, at the Israel Institute of Technology hosted by Prof. Aharon Ben-Tal, one of the founding fathers of Robust Optimization. He has recently been appointed as Assistant Professor of Operations Research at the Erasmus School of Economics in Rotterdam. 

Lieke Wijnia defended the dissertation Making sense through music. The performance of the sacred at Festival Musica Sacra Maastricht on 12 September 2016. She analyzed how sacrality and religion manifest itself and are appropriated by different groups (public audience, and also organizations, performing musiciens, reviewers) in the contemporary arts festival Musica Sacra in Maastricht. Wijnia carried out a truly multidisciplinary study of very high quality both theoretically and methodologically, say supervisors Prof. Paul Post and Dr. Martin Hoondert of the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences.

In addition to her research Wijnia worked at the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague on projects regarding Mondrian and De Stijl; she was one of the authors of an important publication on Mondrian and Bart van der Leck. After her PhD defense she obtained a grant for a research project in the United States (Billings, Montana) and she won an essay prize of the Teylers Foundation. She is now working as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Groningen.