For a person who has conducted groundbreaking research or made a revolutionary invention that directly leads or has led to improvements in human health and well-being. The prize is named after Willem Johan Kolff and has been international since 2003.


The Kolff Prize 2018 went to Prof. Dr. Gerhard Rakhorst (1946) and Dr. ir. Arjan van der Plaats (1973), Groningen pioneers of perfusion systems for improving donor organs. On October 12, 2018, the Kolff Prize was awarded for the first time in five years in CORPUS in Leiden. Adrie Burnett-Kolff, daughter of Willem Johan Kolff (1911-2009) came over from England for this. It was the first time that the prize was awarded to a duo. For an interview with one of the Kolff Prize recipients Arjan van der Plaats, click here.

The Kolff Prize has so far been awarded to:

  • 1998: Mrs. Ineke Wever for her graduation thesis 'Intensive home care under the microscope'
  • 1999: Ms. Catherien Jansen for developing MéMé reading and playing materials for elderly people with dementia
  • 2000: Prof. dr. dr. G. Zilvold for his research and development of rehabilitation technology
  • 2001: Mrs. drs. A. Oomen, orthopedagogue, for reducing the educational disadvantage in children who have to undergo dialysis
  • 2002: Prof. dr. dr. J.C.M. Hattinga Verschure, founder of informal care
  • 2003: Prof. dr. dr. Jacobus van Noordwijk, contribution to the development of an artificial kidney
  • 2004: Prof. dr. dr. William H. Dobelle (posthumous), pioneer in artificial vision
  • 2009: Prof. dr. dr. Donald B. Olsen DVM (1930), pioneer in artificial heart research
  • 2011: Prof. dr. Dr Hans C. Clevers (1957), pioneer in stem cell research
  • 2013: Prof. dr. Dr. H. David Humes (Ann Arbor, University of Michigan, USA), pioneer in the development of the bio-artificial kidney

Bill Dobelle