I am an external PhD candidate at HSO. The goal of my project Addressing health inequalities in vulnerable urban neighbourhoods by social community enterprises is to measure the impact of social community enterprises on the health and wellbeing of residents with low socioeconomic status. We also study mechanisms of success or failure of these enterprises.
The project is a cooperation between the municipality of Arnhem, Wageningen University & Research and six social neighbourhood enterprises. In the role of project leader I will be executing the research project from 2018 until 2022 together with Jan Hassink and Lenneke Vaandrager.
I find this project most interesting as it focuses on how residents of my municipality can gain possibilities to improve their living situation within their own neighbourhood and how these social enterprises support other community members. To further develop impact and sustainability of social enterprises we organise living labs in which we discuss local opportunities and constraints with a wide range of stakeholders.
I am excited about the project, because of the cooperation with WUR, the social community enterprises and other partners like the Municipal Health Service. It has already shown how interesting and beneficial it can be if different worlds come together. Personally, working at the WUR brings me the possibility to enhance my academic skills; I look forward to writing scientific peer reviewed papers.
Furthermore the PhD research brings me the opportunity to integrate much of my practical experience of my work as a civil servant, policy advisor and researcher for the municipality of Arnhem into the knowledge of the academic field. I am eager to link the practice of working in the social domain for the municipality to social scientific theories and hope to contribute in this way to its further development, as well as to share insights with future colleagues at WUR and students.