Six researchers receive seed fund to realise public engagement activity

This spring, six Public Engagement Seed Fund applications from UU researchers were honored. The researchers will receive a grant with which they can realise their ideas for innovative and research-related public engagement activities.

Read more about the recipients and their research project below:

Dr. Anouk Keizer (faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences): How do people experience touch after a period of touch deprivation?

Touch is an essential part of our life and communication with others. During the past COVID period, we have touched each other less frequently. A large-scale online survey of our target audience shows that people miss touch. However, it is not yet clear how people experience touch now - after a period of touch deprivation. Do they find this more (un) pleasant than before and is their evaluation related to the extent to which they miss touch? The researchers want to put the subject of touch on the map and stimulate people to introspection and conversation in the field of touch.

Dr. Anne Annink (faculty of Law, Economics and Governance): Vital@2040 in the field

A Vital Generation in 2040 (Vital @ 2040) is a joint interdisciplinary research project of Utrecht University, Julius Center / University Medical Center Utrecht, Eindhoven University of Technology and Wageningen University. In the project, the researchers will investigate the obstructing and facilitating factors for sports participation among young people aged 12-18 years with low family prosperity. They will also develop living labs in both cities, together with children, parents and professionals through co-creation.

Nisrine Chaer, M.A. (faculty of Humanities): Contested Belonging: The Meanings of Home for Arab LGBT Refugees in Amsterdam

This project is a documentary film about queer and trans asylum seekers in the Netherlands. The film is about the story of two people who live in an AZC refugee camp and try to improve their difficult asylum experience. Together with other activists, they are preparing an action during the Amsterdam Gay Pride to draw attention to their cause. The aim of the project is twofold: to create a collaboration between queer and trans refugees and to generate more awareness for the lives of queer and trans asylum seekers in the Netherlands.

Dr. Arthur Lutz (faculty of Geosciences): Mountains are the water towers of our world –a fragile system captured in electronic music

In “Mountains are the water towers of our world –a fragile system captured in electronic music” researcher Arthur Lutz and electronic music producerMitch de Klein take the audience on ajourney through the Earth’s water cycle. They show how essential mountains are to supply water to billions of people around the globe, including the Netherlands. In this performance to be developedin first instance for the UUnited music festival 2022 (with good scope for application in other science meet arts events),the audience experiences how science can show that mountains are important, how their role as ‘water towers’ is threatened, and what society can do to overcome these threats.

Stef Dingemans MSc MA (faculty of Geosciences): Future citizens

On World Refugee Day (20 June), the Future Citizens project will be hosting a hybrid performance in Utrecht in which the stories and dreams of status holders are presented and portrayed. During the performance, the (success) stories of status holders are shown (dreamers), just like those of the status holders who started this journey (dream hunters). The performance is the start of a targeted approach to work out possible obstacles in the path of a status holder and his / her dream with regards to employment / meaning of life. This includes, for example, a possible elaboration of the Future Citizens project in a theater tour, as well as a reinforcement and elaboration of the necessary network to connect the various target groups. To analyse and activate these connections between different target groups, the project uses the knowledge and skills of human geography / sociology researchers with regards to network theory.

Charisma Hehakaya, MSc. (faculty of Medicine): Can citizens transform the response to noneffective or unnecessary care?

This project collects common questions and concerns around the question: are there opportunities for patient representatives and citizens to contribute to the identification of ineffective and unnecessary prostate cancer care in the Netherlands? If so, in what ways? For example, health insurers and healthcare providers are responsible for divesting ineffective and unnecessary care, but there is currently a lack of joint efforts and a bottom-up approach. How can patient representatives, citizens, health insurers, healthcare providers and institutions work together effectively in this area?

New call 

The Public Engagement Seed Fund grants Utrecht researchers small amounts to help them realise innovative, research related public engagement activities. The next call will be in Fall 2021. Details will appear on the website and intranet in due time. 

Contact us 

If you need advice and help in setting up public engagement activities, do not hesitate to contact us at

Need some inspiration? 

Good examples, background information, experiences of researchers and support staff: the magazine Close-up will give you a look at ​​public engagement at Utrecht University.