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'Fair and resilient societies' is one of the four themes selected from the Theme-based Collaboration programme. This programme fulfils the ambition in UvA’s Strategic Plan to innovate research and education through collaboration, both between disciplines within the UvA and with external partners. The theme focuses on promoting fair, stable and resilient societies that safeguards the well-being of its citizens.


From the theme-based collaboration programme, the ambitions for this theme have been translated into concrete research projects. In summer 2022, budgets were allocated for start-up projects, which have since been implemented. In April 2023, budgets were allocated for so-called midsize and seed grant projects. 

Seed grant projects bring together UvA scholars from different faculties to work on small-scale, innovative, interfaculty research projects or grant proposal preparations.

Midsize projects build on existing research collaborations between UvA scholars from different faculties. They also involve partnering with one or more non-academic parties.

Below is an overview of projects for the theme Fair and resilient societies

Midsize projects
  • Identifying and safeguarding the normative foundations of democracy

    Understanding why democratic decay happens and how it can be prevented, is of major societal relevance. Despite growing attention to democratic backsliding, we know less about the informal foundations of democracy among citizens and, especially, political elites. This is surprising because democratic norms are foundational to the functioning of democracy, and it is precisely these norms that are increasingly threatened. This project fills this gap and will provide new insights on how we can make democracy more resilient, by studying the emergence, determinants, and strength of democratic norms among citizens and elites in Europe, Asia, and North America. 

    The researchers will develop tools, publish papers, organise stakeholder meetings with policymakers and collaborate with various partners such as the Dutch Ministry of Interior Affairs and Kingdom Relations, The European Democracy Hub, the Centre for Policy Research, the Observer Research Foundation, George Washington University and 'Stichting Grondwet op de basisschool'.

    Project team:
    Nik de Boer (Law), Bert Bakker (ASCoR), Ward Berenschot (Anthropology), Robin de Bruin (European Studies), Ursula Daxecker (Political Science), Jan Willem Duyvendak (Sociology), Ursus Eijkelenberg (Law), Niels Graaf (Law), Imke Harbers (Political Science), Maciej Krogel (European Studies), Theresa Kuhn (European Studies), Matthijs Lok (European Studies), Neeraj Prasad (Political Science), Matthijs Rooduijn (Political Science), Gijs Schumacher (Political Science), Gulnaz Sibgatullina (European Studies), Jack Thompson (History) and Jerfi Uzman (Law).

  • Addressing urban marginality in Amsterdam through a wellbeing economy lens

    This project aims at deeper understanding and more precise measurement of urban marginality from the perspective of citizens in Amsterdam themselves, using a Wellbeing Economy lens that includes safety, social cohesion, and sustainability. 

    The researchers want to show how citizens, the Municipality and local businesses can build more resilient neighbourhoods by strengthening wellbeing in the community and local economy. The project aims to contribute to the democratisation of urban policy by developing bottom-up indicators on the basic needs and priorities of marginalised groups that feel ill-represented in urban statistics and policies that focus on the formal economy. 

    The researchers work in co-creation with citizen groups in three neighbourhoods in Amsterdam, the Masterplannen, the Municipality, NGOs, local businesses, and various social initiatives (Stichting SES, Vrouwengroep Venserpolder,

    Project team:

    • Nicky Pouw (FMG)
    • Dr. Hebe Verrest (FMG)
    • Siri Boe-Lillegraven (FEB)
  • Climate Change & Displacement

    The project specifically focuses on the relationship between climate change and forced migration (displacement). The project conducts collaborative research between four UvA Faculties (FMG, FNWI, FGW, FEB) and a select group of international and societal partners. Intellectually, the project transforms our understanding of ‘climate migration’ by critically exploring the interface between the nature of the phenomenon and efforts to understand and respond to it. Institutionally, the project builds a broad trans-disciplinary collaborative network on forced migration, spanning the UvA and potentially other Dutch universities and international academia, and governmental, communications and advocacy partners.

    Project Team

    • Darshan Vigneswaran (AISSR)
    • Nanda Oudejans (FDR)
    • Lynne Hilary (FDR)
    • Colin Hickey (FNWI)
    • Huub Dijstelbloem (IAS)
    • Jeff Diamanti (FGW)
    • Abbey Steele (FMG)
Seed grant projects
  • Representation in media & technology – why scientific insights matter

    As the social debate on diversity increases, many industries respond by increasing efforts towards representative and more ethnically diverse designs or media content. Especially industries that focus on technology and new media formats, often reach a considerable amount of people with their diversity efforts.

    But research on ethnic representation in technology and new media is scarce and limited. Understanding how these efforts are received by members of different ethnicities is important, because it not only informs “good diversity practices“, but also has direct implications for society. A simple attempt to increase representation does not accredit enough importance to the complexity of such efforts and can lead to potential undesirable effects towards the represented minority.

    This project aims to contribute to this important topic by understanding how minority and majority groups receive current representation efforts, and by identifying best practices for companies and regulators. The researchers will combine content expertise from marketing, communications, media and consumer psychology, and technology ethics in a multi-method approach (qualitative research; online/laboratory experiments).

    Project team:

    • Andrea Weihrauch, Associate Professor in Marketing, ABS (FEB)
    • Martina Cossu, Assistant Professor in Marketing, ABS (FEB)
    • Irene van Driel, Postdoctoral Researcher in Communication Science, FMG (ENTCOM)
    • Chei Billedo, Assistant Professor in Communication Science, FMG (ENTCOM)
    • Sindy Sumter, Associate Professor in Communication Science (ENTCOM)
  • Digital health for all especially vulnerable populations, like (undocumented) migrants

    Despite the potential of digital tools, groups living in vulnerable conditions seem to benefit less from the rise of digital health. Yet, all people have a right to health care. Through digital health, this research group aims to reduce health inequities and improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations, especially migrant populations. A healthy population will simultaneously influence a healthy workforce and reduce healthcare costs associated with poor health. 

    At the UvA, the researchers aim to develop a multidisciplinary collaborative network focused on "Digital Health for All”. This network should grow into an internationally recognized Centre for inclusive digital health, with an open-access infrastructure for research data and teaching in different curricula to improve knowledge. 

    The project team works with partners, such as the Dutch government, Municipality of Amsterdam, and NGOs in the field of health care for migrant population.

    Project team:

    • Faculty of Medicine: Charles Agyemang, Frank Cobelens, Steven van de Vijver and Christine Dedding
    • Faculty of Economics and Business: Barbara Schouten, Jeanette Pols, Menno Pradhan
    • Faculty of Science: Sara Altamirano
  • Successful undocumented migrants: making do in the Dutch economy

    Undocumented immigrant workers are a growing factor in the Dutch urban economy. This project brings together researchers, students, and societal partners to explore how these migrants manoeuvre, speculate and create entrepreneurial opportunities while living illicitly in Dutch society.

    The researchers will study two of the larger established groups of such workers in de ‘Randstad’: Indonesians and Brazilians. The methodology includes interviewing, life histories, observation, and surveys.

    The project team aims to develop an interfaculty research network on informal economies and undocumented workers. They also want to develop multidisciplinary teaching, release several scientific publications, collaborate with partners and write a follow-up proposal.

    Project team:

    • Laurens Bakker (FMG)
    • Pepijn van Neerijnen (FEB)
    • Julienne Weegels (FGW-CEDLA)
Start-up projects

Steering Group

The steering group for the 'fair and resilient societies' theme consists of the following members: 


For more information on the thematic approach for 'fair and resilient societies', contact project manager Christina Feray-Ceulemans (e-mail: