Prince Bernhard Scholarships 2020



The Prince Bernhard Scholarships were established in 1991 by the Foundation “The Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Institute”, on the occasion of the 80th birthday of the late Royal Highness Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands. The programme has also been financially supported by the University of Utrecht and CEDLA. Each year, depending on the amount of applications, one or two scholarships of 5,000 euros are awarded to promising young researchers from the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, or Latin America.

The scholarships aim to support innovative research carried out in the fields of economic, political, or cultural relations between the Netherlands/Europe and Latin America. At least one of the scholarships will be awarded to a research proposal in the field of sustainability. The proposed sustainability research project should be related to social, legal, economic or environmental aspects of the following topics:

• Climate change
• Biological mechanisms and changes
• Energy for sustainable development
• Land use dynamics and land use planning
• Ecosystem services and biodiversity conservation


The selection of the scholarship winners will be decided upon by a Scientific Board, consisting of:
Dr. Christien Klaufus (CEDLA/University of Amsterdam), Chair
Carolina Valladares (PhD candidate, CEDLA)
Prof. dr. Patricio Silva (Leiden University)
Dr. Gery Nijenhuis (Utrecht University)
Prof. dr. Kees Koonings (University of Amsterdam, Utrecht University)

The research proposals will be evaluated on scientific relevance, its innovative aspects, the research method and planning and its feasibility. The winners of the scholarships will be notified before 18 December 2020. The scholarships will be officially awarded by Prince Bernard’s grandson, Prince Carlos de Bourbon de Parme, during an award ceremony that will be scheduled in the first half of 2021.


The ceremony will be attended by the Board of the Foundation, as well as by the members of the Scientific Board, authorities of CEDLA, and the ambassadors of Latin American countries, Spain and Portugal. During this ceremony the winners of the Prince Bernhard Scholarships are expected to give a short presentation on their research project.

For further questions please contact CEDLA’s secretariat at or +31 20 525 3498.



Imagining water: Worldviews and critiques of the Piatúa Resiste movement in Ecuador
Caroline van Slobbe, PhD Candidate Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

In spite of the negative social and ecological impact of dams, a Swedish company aims to construct a hydroelectric dam in one of the three most biodiverse and endemic regions of Ecuador: the area surrounding the Piatúa river on the edge of the Amazon. The Kichwa communities living on the river banks are protesting against this dam, that threatens their livelihoods, amongst others using the ‘water is life’ discourse. In this research project, I aim to investigate social imaginaries and discourses of water in the context of the local protest against the Piatúa dam. I aim to work with Kichwa communities that collaborate in the movement Piatúa Resiste. I analyse movement members’ meanings of water, its ontologies and knowledge systems, and daily life around the river, and look at the ways in which their critique and resistance are represented by the movements’ members in stories, conversations, documents and practices of everyday life. Next to conventional ethnographic methods such as participant observation, informal conversations and interviews, I will use sensory and audio-visual ethnography. For that purpose, I aim to organise and record on audio and video a so-called ‘Water Pilgrimage’ to gain a better understanding of people’s encounters and interactions with various manifestations of water. In this pilgrimage, audio-(and-)visual methods are particularly useful in gaining more insights in the ways in which they talk and express themselves about water, their interactions with it, and how they imagine water. I will use the audio and visual material to produce an ethnographic film.


Excellent PhD Students and graduate students (intending to do a PhD) from The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal and Latin America affiliated to a Dutch university are invited to submit an application.


Requirements for Eligibility

• Candidates must submit a research proposal for a three month research project that makes a valuable contribution to the international economic, political, or cultural relations between the Netherlands/Europe and Latin America.

• Candidates are supposed to master either the Spanish or Portuguese language, as they will have to present their research proposal in Spanish or Portuguese during the ceremony for the award of the scholarships.


The application should include:

• A research proposal in English. Besides an outline of the project, the research proposal itself (max. 4,000 words) should include a clear description of the intended method, a short bibliography, an estimation of the costs to be incurred and the expected results.

• Letter of recommendation by a professor, or senior researcher.

• C.V.

• Proof of affiliation to Dutch university (either a proof of registration or a diploma)


Applications must be submitted by e-mail before 30 October 2020 to the following address:


2012        2016

2013        2017

2014        2018


© 2020 by CEDLA, University of Amsterdam

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