His research interests focus on video and image recognition. He has published over 200 refereed book chapters, journal and conference papers, and frequently serves as an area chair of the major conferences in computer vision and multimedia.

Professor Snoek is the lead researcher of the award-winning MediaMill Semantic Video Search Engine, which is the most consistent top performer in the yearly NIST TRECVID evaluations. He was general chair of ACM Multimedia 2016 in Amsterdam, program chair for ICMR 2017, and initiator of the VideOlympics 2007-2009. He is a lecturer of post-doctoral courses and tutorials given at international conferences and European summer schools. He is a senior member of IEEE and ACM. He is currently a member of the editorial board for ACM Transactions on Multimedia. Cees is recipient of an NWO Veni award (2008), a Fulbright Junior Scholarship (2010), an NWO Vidi award (2012), and the Netherlands Prize for ICT Research (2012). All for research excellence. Several of his Ph.D. students and Post-docs have won awards, including the IEEE Transactions on Multimedia Prize Paper Award (2012) the SIGMM Best Ph.D. Thesis Award (2013), the Best Paper Award of ACM Multimedia (2014), an NWO Veni award (2015) and the Best Paper Award of ACM Multimedia Retrieval (2016). Five of his former mentees serve as assistant and associate professors.