Consortium Members

Floor Alkemade (TU/e – Economics and Governance – appointed 2015 – VENI – VIDI – ERC Consolidator)

Floor Alkemade is professor of Economics and Governance of Technological Innovation at Eindhoven University of Technology since 2015. Before she worked at the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development (Utrecht University) and the Dutch National Research Centre for Mathematics and Computer Science. Her key areas of expertise include innovation, cleantech and sustainability. Alkemade’s research goal is to identify the general and the location-specific mechanisms that lead to successful innovations for sustainability. She has received prestigious grants from NWO, including VENI and VIDI to research innovation for sustainability. In her recently awarded ERC-Consolidator project, Alkemade aims to explain and model social tipping dynamics and interventions in energy transitions. She is also co-PI of the NWO Crossover project NEON that uses agent-based modeling to identify attractive socio-technical transition pathways towards net-zero energy and mobility systems. Alkemade is co-leader of the Fair Energy Transition Center, a joint multidisciplinary initiative from TU/e and Utrecht University. She is associate editor of the Journal of Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions and scientific board member of the Netherlands Energy Research Alliance.


Tilde Bekker (TU/e – Design for Systemic Change – appointed 2019 – multiple large grants – co-founder conference on Interaction Design and Children)

Tilde Bekker is Professor of Digital Technologies for Playfulness and Motivation at Eindhoven University of Technology. Previously, she held positions at Delft University of Technology and the University of London. With a background in industrial design, Bekker’s research focuses on design with play qualities, such as exploration, open-endedness, and imagination, to create solutions in the contexts of health and learning by using a theory-informed approach to design research. She has been PI on a large number of grants, including the NRO funded PlatOOlab project to develop tools for teachers, the FES-CRISP project to develop prototypes of design that motivates children to be physically active, and the Creative Conversion Factory CCF on design for behavior change of older adults. The outcome of her design research projects has resulted in various commercial products for play and learning contexts of use. Bekker is Honorary Professor at the Design School Kolding, Denmark. She is editorial board member of the International Journal of Child-Computer Interaction. Bekker received the best practice award in 2014 for the Developmentally Situated Design tool that she developed together with Professor Alissa Antle (SFU, Canada) and that is now used by many universities to teach Interaction Design. 


Niels Bosma (UU – Social Entrepreneurship appointed 2021 – NWO/KIC Societal Earning Capacity)

Niels Bosma is professor of Social Entrepreneurship at the Utrecht University School of Economics. He holds a PhD in Economic Geography and was previously affiliated to London Business School, Tinbergen Institute in Economics, Erasmus University Rotterdam, and Panteia consultancy. His expertise focuses on (social) entrepreneurial and innovative behavior in regional contexts. He has obtained an NWO/KIC grant for his Boosting Social and Community-driven Entrepreneurship for the Transition to an Inclusive and Sustainable Society project and acts as WP leader in the H2020 project HUB-IN. Bosma is co-founder of the Social Entrepreneurship Initiative (Utrecht University) and co-founder of the Platform Bottom-up Initiatives for Societal Change (Utrecht University). He has been member of an expert group advising the European Commission on activities related to the Social Business Initiative (GECES) and member of the Social and Economic Council (SER) in its advice on social entrepreneurship. Bosma is Member of the Board of Directors and Senior Research Advisor with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). He has also been GEM’s research director and has co-authored various GEM Global Reports between 2006 and 2021.


Valeria Gazzola (NIN – Social Neuroscience – VENI – VIDI – ERC – Young Academy of Europe)

Valeria Gazzola is Head of the Social Brain Lab at the KNAW Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience and Associate Professor at the University of Amsterdam. She is a pioneer in the neural basis of empathy and embodied cognition. Gazzola is part of GUTS ( where she explores how empathy influences the ability to grow up as a responsible member of society as well as of the Dutch Brain Interface Initiative Gravitation program that investigates how the brain mechanisms of empathy evolve. Internationally, she collaborates within the European Research Area Network for the Future and Emerging Technologies Flagships, investigating situated-embodied cognition. She collaborates with leading empathy researchers at the universities of Vienna, Parma (where the mirror neurons have been discovered), Tokyo, and Stanford to investigate how empathy mechanisms influence choices and how to nudge people to empathy. Her research has been funded by prestigious grants, including NWO’s VENI, VIDI, and an ERC-Starting Grant. She is co-founder of the Centre for Ultrasound Brain imaging (CUBE) at Erasmus MC funded by NWO. Her papers have been published in top-ranked journals, including Neuron, Nature Review Neuroscience, TICS, and PNAS. Her international standing is evidenced by her election to the Young Academy of Europe. Being a TEDx speaker shows the recognition of her work beyond academia.


Elbert de Jong (UU – Private Law appointed 2020 – Rubicon Award)

Elbert de Jong is professor of Private Law at the Utrecht Centre of Accountability and Liability Law (UCall, Utrecht University). His research focuses on climate change accountability and liability, risk regulation by civil courts and public interest litigation in relation to climate change. Previously, he was postdoc at the Institute of European and Comparative Law and a research associate at Corpus Christi College (Oxford University), funded by a Rubicon Award (2016), where he examined judicial intervention in allegedly failing governmental and corporate policies in the context of health and environmental risks, such as climate change and air pollution. De Jong has received a KNAW Early Career Partnership and the publication prize of the Dutch Society for Civil Law for the best scholarly article on civil law. As of 2022, he is program director of UCall. He is editorial board member of the leading Nederlands Tijdschrift voor Burgerlijk Recht. His work is regularly cited in civil court rulings. In 2021, he was appointed as Deputy Judge at the Court of Appeal of Arnhem-Leeuwarden.


Irene Klugkist (UU – Data Science – appointed 2015 – VIDI)

Irene Klugkist is Professor of Methodology and Statistics of the Social and Behavioral Sciences at Utrecht University, where she also serves as Head of Department. She is an expert on applied Bayesian statistics, with special interest in Bayesian model selection and the use of prior knowledge in current study analyses. Part of her cum laude dissertation was a ground-breaking article on the use of Bayes factors in the social and behavioral sciences. This work was published in Psychological Methods, the leading journal in the field, where she currently serves as consulting editor. She has extensive experience with interdisciplinary research through collaboration with psychology, educational sciences, sociology, and epidemiology. In 2013, she received a VIDI grant for the development of Bayesian methods for the analysis of circular data such as encountered in eye tracking (saccade directions), criminology (temporal data), and personality research (circumplex data). Her current research focuses on eliciting and incorporating prior knowledge, Bayesian evidence synthesis, and the use of power priors.


Paul Leseman (UU – Education Science – appointed 2003 – multiple large European grants – OECD advisor)

Paul Leseman is Professor of Educational Science at Utrecht University. Before, he was associate professor of education at the University of Amsterdam and KNAW fellow at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Leseman has been coordinator of the university-wide research focus area Education for Learning Societies (2011-2019). He is an internationally recognized expert on inclusive education and educational inequality, with a strong interest in embodied-situated learning.  He has received funding for multiple research projects with strategic relevance for (inter)national education policy, including two NWO-funded national cohort studies on the impact of equity policy in education, and government-funded national child daycare and after-school programs quality monitoring. He has been the PI on the EU 7th Framework project CARE on the social and economic impact of early childhood education (2014–2016) and two EU Horizon2020 projects on inequality, exclusion, and segregation in education across Europe (2017–2019). He is member of several advisory committees to the Ministries of Education, Culture and Sciences, Public Health, Welfare and Sports, and Social Affairs and Employment, and scientific advisor to the Leibniz Institute for Educational Trajectories, to the European Commission on early childhood education, and to the OECD. 


Panos Markopoulos (TU/e – Design for Behavior Change – appointed 2010 – FP6 – FP7 – Horizon2020)

Panos Markopoulos is Professor in Design for Behavior Change at the department of Industrial Design of the Eindhoven University of Technology. He is also adjunct professor at the School of Software, FEIT, at the University of Technology Sydney, Australia, and a visiting scientist at Kemphenhaeghe Expertise Center for Epileptology, Sleep Medicine and Neurocognition. His research focuses on ambient intelligence, behavior change support technology, end-user development, and interaction design. He is member of the scientific board of EASI, the Eindhoven Artificial Intelligence Systems Institute and editor in chief  of the Behaviour & Information Technology journal. Previously, he held positions in Philips Research and the University of London. He is the founding editor of the Child Computer Interaction journal. Markopolous is chair of the ACM Special Interest Group on Interaction Design and Children. He has been program chair of 18 international conferences, and first author of the book on Evaluating Children’s Interactive Products. He has obtained a substantial number of grants from FP6, FP7 and Horizon2020 schemes as well as national funding schemes.


Jeroen de Ridder (VU – RUG – Philosophy – appointed 2019 – VENI – VIDI – KNAW Young Academy)

Jeroen de Ridder is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and Professor of Philosophy at the University of Groningen. His research is in epistemology and philosophy of science, and focuses on how democratic societies can better harness the wisdom of crowds. His work has been published in leading international peer-reviewed philosophy journals. He is co-editor of several edited volumes, most recently the Routledge Handbook of Political Epistemology (with Michael Hannon, 2021) and Collective Virtue Epistemology (with Mark Alfano and Colin Klein, 2022). His research has been funded by NWO (VENI, VIDI, Open Competition Digitalization) and, together with colleagues, he has received funding from the Templeton World Charity Foundation. De Ridder was appointed a member of The Young Academy of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2017; between 2020 and 2022 he served as its president. He was recently appointed as member of the board of the NWO Domain Social Sciences and Humanities.


Sandra van Thiel (EUR – Public Management – appointed 2020 – Research Talent – Open Competition – KHMW)

Sandra van Thiel is Professor of Public Management at Erasmus University Rotterdam. Before, she was Professor of Public Management and Vice Dean for Research at the Nijmegen School of Management (Radboud University). She is a member of the Royal Dutch Society of Social Sciences (KHMW) and has chaired the NWO VIDI committee for the social and behavioral sciences (2012-2015). Van Thiel has contributed as a (co-)PI to several EU funded projects and she is a leading member of the COBRA international network of agency researchers. She was visiting scholar at KU Leuven Belgium, the University of Vaasa Finland, and Victoria University of Wellington. As of 2015, she is Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Public Sector Management. Next to her academic activities, Van Thiel is a frequent consultant to public organizations (ministries, executive agencies, municipalities) in the Netherlands and abroad (Belgium, United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand). In 2011-2012 she led a parliamentary inquiry for the Dutch Senate about the effects of privatization and delegation of public service delivery on the relationship between citizens and governments.


Sander Thomaes (UU – Developmental Psychology appointed 2019 – ERC Consolidator – Dutch Science Agenda – NWO)

Sander Thomaes is Professor of Developmental Psychology at Utrecht University. He obtained his PhD in Developmental Psychology cum laude from the VU and previously worked at the Centre for Research on Self and Identity at the University of Southampton. He integrates different methods and theories from developmental psychology and social psychology and translates these into practical applications. For example, how self and identity processes can be used to promote behavior change in young people. His research has been supported by an ERC consolidator grant (2020). With this research project, he uses psychological insights to innovate understanding and promotion of the sustainable, ‘green’ behavior of adolescents. He has been chair of the Dutch National Science Agenda’s ‘youth’ route. Thomaes is NWO board member for the social sciences and humanities domain (since 2022). Thomaes serves on Utrecht University’s Open Science Platform, which steers UU’s pioneering open science program (since 2019), is associate editor of Self and Identity (since 2020), and published a children’s book on psychology (2022).


Barbara Vis (UU – Political Science – appointed 2013 – VENI – VIDI –ERC- KNAW Young Academy KNAW Social Scientific Council)

Barbara Vis is Professor of Politics and Governance at Utrecht University since 2017. Before, she held the Fenna Diemer-Lindeboom Chair in Political Decision Making at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. Vis is an internationally recognized expert in the areas of political decision making, comparative welfare state research, and qualitative comparative analysis. She has been awarded VENI and VIDI grants from NWO and an ERC Consolidator Grant from the European Commission for her research on decision-making by governments, politicians, and political parties on welfare state reform. Vis has been involved in large international research consortia (e.g., FP7 NEUJOBS). She is alumnus of The Young Academy of the KNAW, elected member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities, member of the Social Scientific Council of the KNAW, board member of the Netherlands Institute of Government, as well as member of many advisory boards of international refereed journals. Vis participates in the Compass network, existing of  >2000 researchers interested in advancing systematic cross-case comparative research. She was also senior associate editor of the Oxford Encyclopedia of Political Decision-Making published in 2021.


Pieter van Wesemael (TU/e – Urban Studies – appointed 2007 – European Design Award – Design & Government Advisory Board)

Pieter van Wesemael is Professor of Urbanism and Urban Architecture at Eindhoven University of Technology. Previously, he headed a consultancy firm in the field of urban design, area development, and spatial policy. This work was awarded with several prestigious awards including the European Design Award and tenders for key urban projects. Van Wesemael has published on topics related to urban planning, healthy cities, active mobility, and community building through commons and place making. The focus of his research lies on how behavior is shaped by the interplay of physical, socio-economic, and digital factors to achieve the UN sustainable development goals for an inclusive, environmentally friendly, and economic resilient urban living environment. Van Wesemael is in charge of the TU/e Urban Lab and the Urban Development Initiative. Central to his work is the living lab methodology to translate research into innovations that contribute to solutions for urban challenges. Van Wesemael is member of several (inter)national networks and thinktanks on spatial planning and smart cities, including the Design & Government initiative at the Ministry of Internal Affairs.