Commissioned research and consultancy

We are available for short-term research projects at the interface of science and society. We apply social science methods (such as participant observation, qualitative interviews, group work, document analysis), to real-world problems. This leads to tangible outcomes: improving perfomance by enhancing collaboration and deepening mutual understanding – and sometimes simply by getting a clearer view on the key issues at stake. We operate mostly in the area of emerging technologies such as nano- and biotechnologies and medical technologies. Recent projects include:

Basisnet in lokaal perspectief (2021), a series of case studies on the local effects of the transport of hazardous substances by rail in three Dutch municipalities, commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management and carried out in close collaboration with Kees Le Blansch of Bureau KLB. See the report: Basisnet in lokaal perspectief (pdf, in Dutch).

On biotechnology and safety (2020). From September – November 2020, DPF held a series of interviews with researchers from the NWO-TTW research programme on biotechnology and safety to learn from the experiences in the programme on how to integrate safety considerations in biotechnoloy research. The report: On biotechnology and safety (pdf, in Dutch) presents the interview results and provides recommendations for encouraging Safe-by-Design in biotechnology. The study was commissioned by the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management.

REMEDIA ethics advice (2020-2024). Daan Schuurbiers of DPF is independent ethics advisor for the EU-funded REMEDIA project, working with the management team to offer advice on all ethics aspects of the project and ensure continuing compliance with the relevant ethics standards and guidelines.

Encouraging reflexivity in technical research aimed at Safe-by-Design (2019). At the request of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, DPF explored possible models to include reflexive questions in technical research aimed at Safe-by-Design. The report:
Models for a reflexive component in technical research aimed at Safe-by-Design (pdf, in Dutch) presents the pros and cons of five different models including self-reflection, collaborations with researchers from the social sciences and humanities,  collaborations with toxicologists and sustainability experts, collaborations with societal stakeholders and radical interdisciplinarity.

Quickscan of tools for Safe-by-Design (2019). Together with Lise de Boer of RIVM and Kees Le Blansch of Bureau KLB, DPF performed a quickscan of tools and initiatives that are relevant to the fiurther development of Safe-by-Design as an emerging policy concept. The report: Quickscan of tools and initiatives for Safe-by-Design (pdf, in Dutch) presents 10 factsheets on initiatives that focus on chemical innovation in early stages of development like the Green Chemistry Design Principles, the Circular Design Guide from the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and the GreenScreen for Safer Chemicals.

Learning from Safer Chemicals for Safe-by-Design? (2018/2019), a short-term research project commissioned by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) on safer chemicals. The final report: Learning from Safer Chemicals for Safe-by-Design? (pdf, in Dutch) presents the research findings and provides suggestions to strengthen the role of Safe-by-Design in research and innovation policy.

Learning from Green Chemistry for Safe-by-Design (2017/2018), a study for the Dutch National Institute for Public Health and the Environment. By way of a literature review and interviews with key players in green chemistry, this project studies green chemistry as a policy movement in the US and Europe. Understanding the key succes factors behind the rise of green chemistry – including strategic positioning, alliance formation and smart communication – may hold lessons for upcoming movements in research policy such as safe by design. The report is available here: Learning from Green Chemistry for Safe-by-Design (pdf, in Dutch).

Responsible Data Management for Personalised Diagnostics (2013/2014), a series of scoping interviews and workshops on the salient issues in storage, access and use of ‘big data’ as generated by new life science technologies for health care purposes and vice versa, carried out for the Centre for Society and Genomics. The report: Responsible Data Management for Personalised Diagnostics summarises the main findings from the interviews. These findings served as input for three expert workshops, organised in collaboration with the Center for Genome Diagnostics. The outcomes of the final workshop led to the succesful application for a European research project on the Genetics Clinic of the Future.

Embedding Nutrigenomics in Nutrition Science (2012), in collaboration with Bart Penders and Shannon Spruit of the Centre for Society and Genomics. This study explored the opportunities and challenges to integrate nutrigenomics research in the Dutch Top Institute Food and Nutrition (TIFN) by way of interviews and workshops. By elucidating different views on the role of nutrigenomics in food science, this project led to enhanced collaborations between nutrigenomicists and food researchers within TIFN. The final report: Embedding Nutrigenomics into Nutrition Science (in Dutch) summarises the process and main outcomes of the project. Based on these findings, we published a research paper on divergence and convergence in nutrition science in 2015.

Strengthening Collaboration within the Energy Factory (2011). This project explored collaborations within the Energy Factory, a sustainability initative of the Dutch Water Authorities. By way of participant observation and interviews with key personnel, the study provided recommendations to deepen mutual understanding and enhance collaboration between different departments within the Energy Factory.