PhD defence of Tamar Weenen on Thursday 24 April 2014

On Thursday 24 April 2014 Tamar Weenen will defend her PhD thesis entitled 'On the origin and development of the medical nutrition industry’. Supervisors are Professor Harry Commandeur (Erasmus School of Economics) and Professor Eric Claassen (VU University Amsterdam). Other members of the Doctoral Committee are Professor Enrico Pennings (Erasmus School of Economics), Professor Johan Garssen (Utrecht University) and Professor Roy Thurik (Erasmus School of Economics).

Time and location

The PhD defence will take place in the Senate Hall of Erasmus University Rotterdam (Campus Woudestein) and will start at 15.30 hrs.

Abstract 'On the origin and development of the medical nutrition industry'

Product development in the health and life sciences is shifting from the development of target-specific pharmaceutical products to multi-target therapies, including medical nutrition. Medical nutrition consists of nutritional compositions, prescribed by medical professionals for the nutritional support in the dietary management of diseases. The European medical nutrition industry is rapidly maturing, driven by new knowledge on medical nutrition effectiveness and increasing public awareness on its importance. Nevertheless, there are still numerous unmet medical needs that can only be addressed through innovation by the medical nutrition industry.

This dissertation describes the innovation dynamics within the European medical nutrition industry, through exploring the origin and development of this industry and all stakeholders involved. The research is multidisciplinary, encompassing scientific, industrial, technological, economic and regulatory disciplines. Although the relatively new and emerging medical nutrition industry offers innovation potential, the results show that a lack of medical nutrition innovation may result in a gloomy future for the medical nutrition industry.

The dynamics of the medical nutrition innovation system induces the realization that social well-being and economic growth is not only dependent on the innovation activity of both the food and pharma industries but requires input from key opinion leaders in academia; patients; regulatory and funding bodies.

More information

Weenen's PhD research project is conducted within the Erasmus Doctoral Programme organized by Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), the joint research institute of Rotterdam School of Management (RSM) and Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR).

For more information about this ceremony, please contact Ronald de Groot, Communication Officer of the Erasmus School of Economics phone +31 10 408 1762 or by e-mail: