Erasmus Trustfonds supporting six research projects into the socio-economic effects of the Covid pandemic

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) plays an important role in the research into the Covid-19 pandemic. Stichting Erasmus Trustfonds has therefore decided to support six research projects within the ‘Socio-economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic’ theme. The fund has awarded a total of over € 100,000 in research grants.

The following researchers will be receiving funding support from Erasmus Trustfonds for their research project.

Rene Bakker - Rotterdam School of Management: Equal opportunity within an unequal employment market

Times of crisis can put businesses’ viability to the test. This certainly applies to enterprises that pursue a social mission. In his research, Rene Bakker examines the effect of the crisis on companies that work to promote equal employment opportunity by offering work experience positions for people who are at a disadvantage in the job market. There is a risk that in order to survive, these enterprises will decide to adapt their mission. As a result, the target group for these businesses will be hit even harder by the crisis than would otherwise be the case. Indeed, the objective of this study is to determine how social enterprises can preserve their social mission during a crisis. This research will be performed in collaboration with Gelijke Kansen Alliantie (Equal Opportunity Alliance).

Pauwke Berkers - Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication: Is there a future for the music industry?

The cultural and creative industry is severely disadvantaged by the national Covid containment measures. The music sector was hit particularly hard: event locations were forced to close their doors, performers were out of gigs and festivals were cancelled. As a result, many performing artists have experienced a strong decline in income. The current crisis has laid bare the alarming financial position of the music industry, while simultaneously making clear that music plays a key role in solving the urgent challenges in the area of social welfare. For example, ‘balcony concerts’ are able to connect people who are physically isolated, while virtual concerts by symphonic orchestras can help people to handle stress. In response, Pauwke and his team will be researching the long-term impact of the pandemic on this sector, exploring which future transformative scenario this sector could go through and determining how a resilient music industry can improve societal well-being.

Beitske Boonstra - Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences: Rotterdam resilience: the ultimate test

How resilient is Rotterdam? This is the central question examined by Beitske Boonstra and her team in their research into the city’s resilience during the Covid-19 pandemic. The social consequences of this pandemic for our community depend in part on the response of local citizens and city administrators. That is why this study focuses on social resilience in the city and the organisational resilience of the administration itself. This multidisciplinary study is intended to map out the tensions between social resilience and organisational resilience on the basis of experiences in various Rotterdam neighbourhoods, and to examine how they may mutually reinforce each other. This study is co-financed by Kenniswerkplaats Leefbare Wijken and the Erasmus Initiative ‘Vital Cities and Citizens’ and is supported by the Municipality of Rotterdam. The study will start in early 2021 and has a term of six months.

Famke Mölenberg - Erasmus MC: Make Rotterdam pandemic-proof

Over the past few months, the government has taken a range of measures to reduce the number of Covid infections and simultaneously limit the negative impact of these measures. In addition, there are a number of additional measures in place at the local level in Rotterdam that complement national policy. Famke will be researching the consequences of national and regional policies during the lockdown on the basis of a literature study. She will seek to formulate lessons that policymakers could draw from the adopted measures, as well as research their impact on various socio-economic groups. The objective of this study is to identify those measures that increase inequality in the city and to determine the smartest strategy for combating this effect. Ultimately, these insights are intended to avoid unwanted side effects during a possible new lockdown. The study is performed within the CEPHIR academic workshop, a partnership between the Erasmus MC, the Municipality of Rotterdam and the regional Municipal Health Service (GGD), and in consultation with a multidisciplinary team of EUR researchers associated with the Erasmus Initiative ‘Smarter Choices for Better Health’.

Renée Scheepers - Erasmus School of Health Policy & Management: Care for the elderly is synonymous with care for their nurses

Since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, working conditions in the healthcare sector have become more demanding than usual. The pandemic has led to higher mortality rates among elderly residents of nursing homes. As a result, many care professionals who work at these institutions are worried about infecting their patients or friends and family, or even themselves. While there were obvious concerns about the effects of the stressful conditions experienced by care providers, not that much as yet is known about the precise impact of the Covid-19 crisis on healthcare professionals working in our nursing homes. This study will examine the impact of the Covid-19 crisis over the course of one year on the welfare of care providers in nursing homes, as well as seek to determine which organisational, work-related and personal resources can be used to support their welfare. After this, the researchers will be discussing in consultation with the nursing home sector how the results of this study can be translated into practical measures, by incorporating the various insights into organisational policies and interventions, team training programmes, individual coaching sessions or e-health solutions.

Matthias Wieser - Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences: Anxiety and stress: Covid’s impact on the mental health of EUR students

Younger people – students for example – tend not to become very ill after contracting Covid-19. The impact of the current Covid containment measures on young people’s mental health, on the other hand, is all the greater. Over the course of two years, Matthias Wieser and his team will be studying the long-term impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the mental health of students in the 18-25 age group. Monitoring how a pathological feeling of anxiety develops after an exceptionally stressful event such as this pandemic will enable us to identify which students are most at risk at the university and take measures to help prevent this group from developing mental health issues. This is the very first project that focuses on the impact of the measures on students’ mental health in a long-term context. This project is part of the Erasmus Initiative ‘Vital Cities, Vital Citizens’ and is supported by EUR’s Student Welfare programme.

More information


Meral van Leeuwen, press officer EUR: 06-40264367 or

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