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Class of 2020

It is with great pleasure that we present (some of) the Class of 2020.  Every year around 20 PhD-candidates from 12 universities in the Netherlands and Belgium start with our PhD training program. Below some of the PhD Candidates of the Class of 2020 introduce their PhD projects to you.  

Henrico van Roekel

Utrecht University

I am a PhD candidate at the Utrecht School of Governance (Utrecht University). My dissertation will be focused on how occupational wellbeing in healthcare can be sustained through leadership. I conduct research in the field of (behavioral) public management, through (i.a.) field experiments.

Isa Bertram

Utrecht University

As part of an interdisciplinary, cross-country research project, I study the stereotypes that exist about civil servants, and how these stereotypes affect civil servants in their work and wellbeing. I focus primarily on the Netherlands. Next to my PhD work, I like to think about our culture of science, the way in which science and universities are currently set up, and the university's role in society.

Evelijn Martinius

Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

I am a doctoral researcher at the department of organization studies at the Vrije Universiteit. My work focuses on the sociomateriality of work. Specifically, I am interested in collaboration between organizations and the underground, in underground infrastructure projects. I hold a research master from Utrecht University, in Public Administration and Organizational Sciences, and a bachelor in Political Science from Vrije Universiteit.

Glenn Houtgraaf

Radboud University

I am currently researching public sector creativity as the origin of public sector innovation. The aim is to define and analyze public sector forms of creativity, explore these creative processes and indicate what makes public sector creativity unique and successful. This knowledge will allow us to improve the innovativeness of public organization in order to safeguard optimal public services. Our method consists of a qualitative longitudinal diary study, a systematic literature study, a survey and an experiment.

Iris van de Voort

Erasmus University Rotterdam

I started my PhD-trajectory in May 2020 at the Erasmus University Rotterdam. My research concerns the sustainable employability of healthcare workers, with a specific emphasis on the role of government regulation/supervision due to the presumed relation between the quality of health care workers’ working lifes and the quality of healthcare.

Nina Onopriychuk

VU Amsterdam

I am a Junior Lecturer and a PhD at VU Amsterdam. My PhD focuses on citizens’ trust and stereotypes of public sector depending on corruption levels, and how this affects their choice of public or private sector jobs. I teach research design courses and strive to promote junior lecturer and part-time PhD rights.

Esther Nieuwenhuizen

Utrecht University

I am a PhD-candidate at the Utrecht School of Governance (Utrecht University). Through an experimental design, I look into the effects of transparency on citizen trust in AI-tools used by the police. The project (ALGOPOL) is funded by NWO.

Lars Stevenson

Radboud University

My research focuses on steering dynamics in educational organizations. I examine how boards can contribute to the educational quality in their organizations, focusing on how contributions of boards are shaped and interacted with within the organizations.

Samantha Metselaar

ERasmus university rotterdam

In my PhD research I examine the use of time/spatial flexibility (in terms of when and where work is conducted) within three public sector organizations and what its consequences are for organizational outcomes and employee well-being.

Loek van Kraaij

Erasmus university Rotterdam

My PhD project focusses on policymaking for the future of work. Through a comparative case study design, I aim to study how policy actors prepare the labour market for the unknown. The project is funded by the NWO Doctoral Grant for Teachers.

Gabriela Szydlowski

Utrecht University

My PhD-project investigates cross-national stereotypes of public sector workers, their emotions and coping strategies, and how these factors can affect work performance.

Menno Hoppen

Radboud University

My research focuses on co-production of public services.

Moniek Akerboom

Leiden University

My research at Leiden University focuses on the role of leadership in inter-organizational collaborations. I am specifically interested in the way(s) in which leadership takes shape in organizational forms which are characterized by a lack of formal sources of influence and power. How does informal leadership in these arrangements contribute to successful collaborations between public, private and civil society actors? My research will be situated in public organizations in The Netherlands.

Sheeling Neo

Utrecht university

In my PhD research, I am part of a team that investigates the stereotypes of public sector workers the Netherlands, South Korea and Canada. Specifically, I am interested in understanding how sociocultural contexts can influence how public sector workers cope with the effects of stereotyping. Next to my research work, I run an initiative together with a few other PhD students that helps Masters students continue pursuing their research or academic interests following their Masters program.

Steven de Vadder

University of Antwerp

My project studies whether and how communication by public service providers via Twitter reduces the performance satisfaction gap. Using a quasi-experimental pretest-posttest setup, this project will bring new insights on what influences satisfaction of public services, the effect of public communication through social media as well as methodological innovation in the use of social media sources.

lEONOOR Gräler


I am a doctoral researcher at the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management. My dissertation focusses on what informal care means in society, especially in elderly care, from an economic and governance perspective. I use both quantitative and qualitative methods in order to answer questions revolving around the boundaries and costs of informal care, and the intersection of formal and informal care.

Rosan Haenraets

Utrecht University

I am a PhD candidate at the Utrecht School of Governance. My dissertation focusses on the sustainable employment of vulnerable citizens in small and medium sized enterprises. It is part of the ENGAGE project: a multi-method comparative study in Norway and the Netherlands funded by Oslo Metropolitan University.

Isabelle Fest

Utrecht University

I am employed at Utrecht University School of Governance as a PhD candidate. In short, my research focuses on the connections between algorithm use by police, citizen trust and public values. I will be using ethnographic methodology to study these relationships. This PhD is part of the NWO-funded ALGOPOL project.

Hans Smits

Utrecht University

Safeguarding the public interests en values by state-owned companies or by companies owned by provinces or municipalities in The Netherlands is the objective of my PhD research. The governance, the definition of public interest and values and the staffing of the supervisory and executive boards and of the shareholders are elements that will be part of the research



As a PhD candidate at the Utrecht University School of Governance, I investigate how regulation with and of (machine-learning) algorithms is organized. Studying the use of algorithms as a social transformation process, organizational challenges and changes in regulatory practice come to the fore. Empirically, my research focuses predominantly on Dutch national regulators and inspectorates.