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'Healthy Future' 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 'healthy future' involves mental and physical health in relation to cultural factors, behaviour, participation in society and the realisation of equal opportunities. 


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 are now being 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 Healthy future.

Midsize projects
  • Breaking the transgenerational cycle of mental health problems through parental ACE-sensitive parenting interventions

    Adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) of parents influence the development of their children. Multiple disciplines contribute to our understanding of the links between parental ACEs, parenting issues, and child mental health issues (e.g., heritability, stress sensitivity, subjective experiences of intergenerational transfer, shared environment, attachment). Yet how can we integrate this knowledge into interventions that break this intergenerational cycle of mental health problems?

    This project will integrate parental subjective experiences of how their ACEs affect their parenting, with our knowledge of biological, psychological, and societal mechanisms. We will translate this knowledge into a supportive psycho-education add-on to current evidence-based parenting interventions, and test its additional effects.

    Project team:

    • Dr. Jeanne Gubbels, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences: Forensic Child and Youth Care & Developmental Psychopathology
    • Prof.dr. Gaston Franssen, Faculty of Humanities; Dutch Literature
    • Dr. Rixt van der Veen, Faculty of Science; Swammerdam Institute for Life Sciences (SILS)
    • Prof.dr. Claudi Bockting, Faculty of Medicine (AMC-UvA); Psychiatry Amsterdam UMC & Centre for Urban Mental Health
    • Dr. Susanne Schulz MSc; Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences; Preventive Youth Care
    • Dr. Merian Bouwmeester, NCJ

  • Re-authoring meat consumption narratives: combining historical, cultural and public health perspectives

    This project is a collaboration between researchers from the Humanities, Social and Behavioural, and Medical faculties. It harnesses the diverging areas of expertise to understand the predominant role of meat in past and contemporary diets. 

    Reducing meat intake has clear and undisputed benefits for climate, population health and animal welfare. However, this is challenging. Eating meat is deeply embedded in people’s diets, anchored in cultural values, meanings, and shared conventions that contribute to what is believed to be healthy, tasty, or sustaining food. For many people it is literally hard to imagine a predominantly plant-based diet becoming the norm. New narratives that respect historic, cultural, economic, health and social values around people’s diets and the role of meat in particular, can aid this transition.  

    The focus of this project is on key narratives surrounding food and eating with the aim of suggesting new narratives, learning from best practices in past and present. Ultimately this can contribute to new societal norms and ways of (thinking about) eating meat, and thereby to healthy sustainable diets for human society and the planet as a whole.

    Project team:

    • Mary Nicolaou & Wilma Waterlander, Faculty of Medicine, department of Public and Occupational Health
    • Else Vogel, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Programme group Anthropology of Health, Care and the Body
    • Samuël Kruizinga & Maroesjka Verhagen, Faculty of Humanities, department of History, European Studies and Religious Studies
    • Gaston Franssen, Faculty of Humanities, ‘Capaciteitsgroep Nederlandse Letterkunde’
    • Emelia Quinn, Faculty of Humanities, ‘Capaciteitsgroep Engelse Taal en Cultuur’
Seed Grant projects
  • Distorted transmission: AIDS, minority stress and understanding Dutch (male) homosexual minorities’ collective past

    This project examines how the self-appreciation of (male) homosexual minorities in the Netherlands has been shaped by the HIV/AIDS-crisis of the 1980s. Recent literature on ‘minority stress’ demonstrates high (and rising) levels of mental health issues and suicide attempts among LGBTQ+ people despite improving social conditions. Through archival research and interviews with long-time HIV/AIDS survivors, this project will investigate how the collective experience of HIV/AIDS has affected homosexual men’s self-appreciation from the 1980s to present. The research will act as an exploratory step working toward the submission of a NWO Open Competition proposal. 

    Project team:

    • Dr. Bram Mellink, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History, European Studies, and Religious Studies
    • Dr. Jesse van Amelsvoort, Faculty of Humanities, Department of History, European Studies, and Religious Studies
    • Prof. Dr. Jan Willem Duyvendak, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Department of Sociology
  • Timing and Health (TIMINGHEALTH)

    The Timing and Health seed grant project is a collaboration between Sociology (FMG), Psychiatry (Amsterdam UMC) and Dutch Literature (FGw). The researchers will start from a sociological perspective to develop a novel concept of timing-practices in relation to family health (stress) and intergenerational transmission.

    Timing and health are intimately related, for example through the way we organize sleeping – on the one hand in relation to societal and social demands and on the other hand to circadian rhythms. There are two possible health-effects from timing as a social practice. One is the health effect of for example delaying sleep due to work or due to a sleepless baby. The second is that timing itself can be a source of stress. This project will start to identify target points to intervene in both of these areas.

    Project team:

    • Dr. Christian Bröer, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences; Sociology
    • Prof. dr. Claudi Bockting, Amsterdam UMC / UvA Psychiatry
    • Prof. dr. Gaston Franssen, Faculty of Humanities; Dutch Literature
  • A planetary food commons for healthy and sustainable diets

    To protect human and planetary health, we urgently need to reform our highly unsustainable global food system. The “food as commons” approach offers a radical revisioning of food policy through a key paradigm shift: from food as an object for sale, to food as a global public good, or global commons.

    This seed grant project explores the potential of the food as commons approach to deliver healthy and sustainable food for all. The funding will be used for an academic symposium on “just transitions” towards local and ‘decommodified’ food and a co-production workshop with key stakeholders in Amsterdam to operationalize the food as commons approach.

    Project team:

    • Branwyn Poleykett, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, AISSR, Anthropology
    • Rebeca Ibáñez Martín, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, AISSR, Anthropology
    • Ying-Tzu-Lin, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, AISSR, Geography
    • Mary Nicolaou, Amsterdam UMC, Public and Occupational Health
    • Wilma Waterlander, Amsterdam UMC, Public and Occupational Health
    • Peter van Dam, Faculty of Humanities, History
    • Fabio de Castro, Faculty of Humanities, CEDLA
  • The ORAHabit-study: Addressing Knowledge Gaps in Oral Health Interventions

    The ORAHabit-study will translate insights from health psychology on behaviour change and habits to the domain of oral health. It will look to eventually improve oral hygiene intervention programs. The seed grant will fund an intervention study to investigate incorporation of a new oral hygiene routine and the role of automatic processes. In follow-up studies, the research can be broadened to studying the effectiveness of multi-faceted habit-based intervention in different socioeconomic groups.

    Project team:

    • Dr. S. de Wit, Associate Professor Clinical Psychology and PI of HabitLab (, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences
    • Dr. C.M.C. Volgenant, Associate Professor Preventive Dentistry & Cariology, Faculty of Dentistry (ACTA)
  • ArtiC: Art in Care - Aesthetic Configurations, Impact and Spaces of Care

    This project is a collaboration between the humanities, medical and social and behavioural faculties. The main focus is how caregivers (hospital workers) interact with aesthetic interventions, such as artworks in the hospital. The project also aims to explore ways in which artistic interventions in health care can best be evaluated. 

    The planned activities include pilot fieldwork at the OLVG, cross-faculty workshops and the writing of additional grant proposals to further this field of work. 

    This seed grant project builds on the existing work of a non-academic partner, Stichting Project Stimulus. This foundation explores the collaborative potential between museums and hospitals for the creation of sustainable working and living environments through the curation of art exhibition experiences. The research and concepts developed via the seed grant funding, will form the academic pillar of this work.

    Project team:

    • Dr. Noa Roei, Assistant Professor, Department of Literary and Cultural Analysis, AIHR, Faculty of Humanities
    • Prof. Jeanette Pols, Professor, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Amsterdam UMC
    • Maya Lane, Lecturer, Faculty of Social and Behavioural Science, AISSR
    • Simone Stergioula, independent researcher, ASCA
Start-up projects
  • Stress and the intergenerational transmission of (un)healthy behaviour

    Some families suffer from a disproportionate accumulation of mental and physical health problems, such as depression, addiction, obesity and diabetes. We currently know little about the risk factors underlying these. It is likely that early and frequent exposure to stressors (e.g. poverty and family conflict) and susceptibility to the effects of adversity play a major role. 

    This project will develop a model in which the risk factors and mechanisms of intergenerational transmission of health and health behaviour within families at high cumulative risk can be identified, investigated and understood. 

    The first year will start with 1) formulating a theoretical model based on extensive literature review; 2) empirically testing the model with existing data from different health cohorts and 3) conducting interviews with families and Amsterdam institutions. 

    The aim is to conduct research on effective interventions at a later stage.

    • Faculties involved: FMG, FNWI, FdG/Amsterdam UMC and FGw
    • Contact person: Bram Orobio de Castro (FMG)
  • Towards a healthy diet for all

    Obesity is a major problem among Amsterdam's population. An unhealthy food environment is a major cause of this. Not only are fast food restaurants and delivery services increasingly appearing in Amsterdam, people are also increasingly exposed to food chain advertisements online via smart algorithms.

    The aim of this project is to set up a five-year programme to better understand the drivers and barriers to accessing healthy food, and to investigate what policy solutions are needed for a healthier (physical and online) food environment in the city of Amsterdam. 

    This interdisciplinary project builds on an existing collaboration with the City of Amsterdam and the GGD. The first year of the project focuses on mapping the online food environment, and further setting up and broadening interdisciplinary collaborations around this research theme.

    • Faculties involved: FdG/Amsterdam UMC, FdR, FMG
    • Contact persons: Karien Stronks (FdG, Amsterdam UMC) and Anniek de Ruijter (FdR)

Steering group 

The steering group for the theme 'healthy future' consists of the following members: 


For more information on the 'healthy future' thematic approach, please contact Jillian O’Mara (