I started working as a professor in Purposeful Entrepreneurship at NHL Stenden beginning of 2018. I was trained as an economic geographer (Msc 2000, PhD 2004; Spatial Sciences; University of Groningen) and have been researching entrepreneurship, sustainability, ageing society and inclusivity for quite some time now. This focus in my research led to the chair of Purposeful Entrepreneurship. Besides my professorship, I have a number of secondary functions: Lecturere at the University of Groningen (1 day a week), Supervisory Board of MEE Groningen, editor for the journal European Spatial Research & Policy and I am actively involved in The Regional Science Association Nederland, Betekenisvol Fryslân and the ‘Informal Care’ task force. I also act as an assessor for the NWO SGW Digitalisation call.

What is your most important research subject?

The research done in the chair Purposeful Entrepreneurship focusses on small and medium-sized enterprises that want to make the transition to new ways of doing business, ways where wellbeing and welfare are central. This requires new business models, new approaches, new value chains and new professionals.

Our current research projects are:

  • Inclusive entrepreneurship: how to deal with informal care-givers?
  • Futures by Design: digitalisation within SMEs (INTERREG NSR)
  • Make IT work in the North: additional training and life-long learning within the IT sector (EFRO subsidy)
  • Make IT work in the North: Job carving (EFRO subsidy)
  • HRM tools for happiness at work
  • Participation Stories
  • Protected learning-working environment (in cooperation with Friesland College)
  • Possibilities for circularity in the north of The Netherlands (PhD supervision)
  • Grass root initiatives: possibilities for ‘mienskip’ (PhD supervision)
  • DBE and the value-driven professionals
  • Mobility and Ageing Society (in cooperation with Politecnico di Milano)
  • COST ACTION: the geography of new working spaces and the impact on the periphery
  • Vitality scan Fryslan (in cooperation with the Thorbecke Academie, Fries Planbureau and Fryske Academie)

Starting point for the research projects within this chair always is, besides the thematic perspective and cooperation with international partners, the cooperation and co-creation in triple-helix setting: education/university of applied sciences (students-teachers) – companies (especially regional SME)/governments (regional, national and European level)  – academia.