Organization and methodology

The Institute for Societal Resilience (ISR) of the Vrije Universiteit was established in 2015 as a faculty-wide research institute for the Faculty of Social Sciences (FSS). Within the ISR, independent researchers do work across the disciplinary boundaries of the five departments of the FSS, in order to contribute to issues that fall under the header of 'resilience'.


To stimulate the scientific multidisciplinary approach that is needed to gain new relevant societal insights regarding resilience, the ISR is organized around four themes, each of which is headed by a theme leader:

  • Resilient Governance, led by Ronald van Steden
  • Resilience, Diversity and Inclusion, led by Halleh Ghorashi
  • Resilience through Communication, Organization and Interconnectedness, led by Tilo Hartmann
  • Care and Welfare in a Resilient Society, led by Bianca Beersma
Within the four main themes, the ISR connects the expertise of FSS researchers to the knowledge of professionals from the field in “expertise labs”. On the one hand, this cooperation leads to a greater unerstanding of the complex dynamics of societal challenges. On the other hand it provides concrete starting points based on which policies, methodologies or intervention techniques for specific problems can be improved.
Within these main themes, researchers and research groups from different social-scientific disciplines work closely together. In addition, our researchers from within the different themes cooperate to address complex large-scale social problems that require a multidisciplinary approach, such as the refugee crisis.

The management team consist of Joris Rijbroek (Director of the ISR), Steef Löwik (Head of the Research Support Office), Martijn van Houten (Research Support Officer of the ISR) and the aforementioned theme leaders. The research activities and other initiatives of the research institute are supported, developed and coordinated by the Research Support Office of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

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Telephone: +31 (0)20 598 2350