Small Grants Scheme

The Erasmus Initiative Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity is an interdisciplinary research center that aims to spearhead new ways of thinking about grand societal challenges, disruptive innovations, financial governance, and the roles and responsibilities of public and private actors with the aim of fostering inclusive prosperity in society.

The Initiative invites applications that undertake exploratory collaborative research on any topic of relevance to the broader theme. Funding of up to € 10,000 is available for research or networking activities that foster interdisciplinary relationships between researchers from Erasmus University Rotterdam and that help initiate larger scale research.

The Small Grants Scheme offers financial support for research and networking activities within the broader theme of DoIP at Erasmus University Rotterdam. These awards are provided to cover the cost of the expenses arising from starting up a defined research project (book publication, societal activity of academic nature with wide public coverage) or public event (conferences, workshops) aimed at fostering interdisciplinary research collaborations.

Funds are available to:

  • Support the direct costs of research (e.g., hiring of a research assistant);
  • Enable the advancement of interdisciplinary research through workshops or conferences, or visits by or to partner scholars.

Applicants may seek support for any combination of eligible activities and costs up to the overall limit of € 10,000. Applications will be assessed equally on their merits, with no preference as to mode of enquiry.

Grants are not intended to support individual conference visits or travel by staff, even where this involves the dissemination of the results of research directly associated with the theme of the Initiative.

Grants are also not intended for the continuation or promotion of research already undertaken at the university. The scheme is specifically designed to boost new prime interdisciplinary research.

Awards are open to all academic staff at Erasmus University Rotterdam, not limited to partner schools and also not limited to those of any particular status (e.g. assistant professor, post-doc researcher, full professor etc). However, in order to be eligible, applications to the small grants scheme should meet the following criteria:

  • Applications should involve the active participation of (a) researcher(s) of at least one of the three partner schools (RSM, ESL, ESPhil);
  • Applications should demonstrate a clear link with the theme of inclusive prosperity, including any of the identified subthemes and research agendas associated with the overall theme;
  • Applications should ensure that funds are sought for a clearly defined, distinct activity or piece of research, which will have an identifiable outcome on completion.

The level of the award is up to € 10,000. Grants are tenable for between 1 and 12 months.

Please note that the funding provided through the Small Grants scheme cannot be used to cover the cost of replacement teaching, payment in lieu of salary, or technical equipment. The awarded budget is for direct expenses for research or networking activity only.

Applications can be submitted four times per year: by 30 March, 30 June, 30 September and by 30 December. Since there is a limited amount of money available, a committee drawn from the three partner schools will review the applications and will decide based on the innovativity of the project, relevance to the theme of the Initiative and the societal impact.

Applications should be submitted to the Initiative at

If you have any queries or would like to discuss a project idea, please contact us at Applicants are advised to discuss their proposals with their responsible Research Director, Head of Division or research mentor where applicable.

Applicants will receive the decision in writing within one month after the application deadline.

The successful applicant will receive 75% of the rewarded grant upfront, the remaining 25% will be paid after the receipt of the short report (see hereunder).

Successful applicants are required to submit a short report (which will be used for public dissemination) within one month after the end of the project. The report must contain a statement of original objectives, a brief account of expenditure, project outputs, expected impact, and future plans including the dissemination of findings to relevant networks. If relevant, adding pictures for public dissemination is appreciated. The normal expectation is that the funding will be spent within an average of 3-6 months of the award being made, although as mentioned funds can be spent for up to a year.

This is an overview of projects that have received grants from the initiative. They cross the boundaries between our disciplines and contribute to studying the dynamics of inclusive prosperity. These grants are meant to further multidisciplinary research and to facilitate nascent research projects. 

Industrial environmental harms - the production and use of PFAS in the Netherlands

Dr. Abby Muricho Onencan (ESL), Prof. Dr. Lieselot Bisschop (ESL), Dr. Yogi Hale Hendlin (ESPhil)

Per-and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) are a group of synthetic chemical substances which have been widely used throughout society since the 1950s, and are easily transported in the environment, polluting soil, water, and air. They resist degradation, resulting in unprecedented persistence into the environment and any living species.

This project combines green-critical criminological, environmental philosophical and public health approaches to examine the historical and contemporary drivers and dynamics of the industrial environmental harms related to these synthetic chemical substances. During this phase of the project field research and a systematic review will be conducted. Interviews with both representatives of the companies using PFAS, especially Dupont Dordrecht/Chemours, politicians, media and other official parties will be held, as well as with members of the communities living and working in and around the area of Dupont Dordrecht/Chemours.

At the same time this project will also conduct systematic reviews of existing PFAS epidemiology studies with the aim to bridge the gap between PFAS evidence (based on toxicology and epidemiology data) and policy while also looking at the lack of spatial and temporal data reviews.

This research is a case study in the management of harmful externalities in the chemical industry in the Netherlands. The aim is to present an integrated analysis of the way the Netherlands stakeholders responded in the past to serious toxicity events involving PFAS exposure and pollution and how the governance system has evolved over time.  The interplay between epidemiological data, past communications, resilience, and collective action provides a cohesive and holistic picture of the experts and community’s response to PFAS exposure and pollution issues.

The Sustainability Law Lab

Prof. Dr. Alessandra Arcuri (ESL)

The aim of this project is to establish a Sustainability Law Lab to use the law as a means of achieving sustainability. In line with the vision of Erasmus University we want our academic research to produce positive impact. By creating the Sustainability Law Lab we want to emphasize the importance of law as a tool for combatting current societal challenges.

During this first phase of the Lab we will look at two issues, namely the degasification of ships in Dutch rivers and the identification of viable legal strategies to mobilize existing legal instruments to defy the anti-climate action potential of international economic laws, and more particularly of the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT). These two subprojects will be used as a steppingstone to establish the lab and gain further funding for future research projects.

Degasification, the process of removing remaining vapours after unloading liquid cargo, which is usually happening while the ship is in transit, is currently not done following the most advanced environmental standards. This not only affects the crews working on the ships but also the people and environment near and around ports and rivers on which this process is occurring. In this project, which has been commissioned by Broadcasting Flevoland (Omroep Flevoland) legal avenues to halt this process will be explored.

The second sub-project is aimed at creating an incubator to identify viable legal strategies to mobilize existing (international) legal instruments to defy the anti-climate action potential of investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) and WTO law. An incubator meeting will be set up in October-November 2022 during which legal alternatives to produce change and initiate specific legal action will be evaluated in cooperation with societal partners. These could be disputes before domestic courts against fossil fuel investors using ISDS to lock-in the fossil fuel economy, but also proposals to bar law firms supporting the fossil fuel economy from working with public institutions, such as the European Commission. Given its role in increasing the costs of climate action, work on the ECT will be prioritized.

Do you want to know more or are interested in cooperating with us? Please send us an email at

Report: Floating Degassing in the Netherlands from an International Law Perspective

Justice: A Multifaceted Concept?

Dr. Alberto Quintavalla (ESL), Dr. Constanze Binder (EsPhil), Kostina Prifti (ESL), Prof. Dr. Darren McCauley (ESSB)

Justice has traditionally been approached in a sectoral and fragmented way, focusing and narrowing down on specific aspects and fields of justice, instead of adopting a more holistic view which would combine and connect them. With this project Alberto Quintavalla and his team aim to fill this gap.

The project will consist of a bottom-up research process split up into two steps. The first part will be a systematic review of published papers on justice, which will lead to an open access database open to other interested scholars and providing a useful guide for the future. This phase will also be used to identify and define the various justice scholarships, such as for example climate justice or water justice.

Building on this first step a roundtable session will be organized aimed at creating an interdisciplinary dialogue among researchers with different backgrounds. Preferably participants from all previously identified justice fields will be represented to contribute with their knowledge and create common grounds for future interdisciplinary work. The outcome of this session will be an edited volume or a special issue.

Towards a definition of feminist fashion

Prof. Dr. Mariangela Lavanga (ESHCC/DIT), Prof. Dr. Hanneke Takkenberg (RSM/ECWO), Dr. Ana Uribe Sandoval (ESHCC), Daphne Geveke (ESHCC)

Fashion can be a powerful tool to express political opinions. It can be used as an activist tool with a feminist purpose, such as pink pussy hats worn by thousands during women’s marches all over the world as a form of protest and in solidarity with the victims of the #metoo movement, or in the form of slogans printed on t-shirts, such as ‘Pussy Grabs Back’ and ‘The future is female’. There is no doubt about the socio-political power of fashion, especially in a feminist context, but only very little empirical research has been done on the topic.

In this project Associate Prof. Dr. Mariangela Lavanga (ESHCC/DIT), Prof. Dr. Hanneke Takkenberg (RSM/ECWO), Senior Lecturer Dr. Ana Uribe Sandoval (ESHCC) and research assistant Daphne Geveke (ESHCC) are addressing this gap and will define feminist fashion in theory and practice with a specific focus on the Netherlands. Besides a systematic literature review, they will also organize a participatory co-creation workshop on what feminist fashion means in practice, discuss the challenges and envision opportunities and pathways for both industry and society. This workshop will include stakeholders, such as designers, scholars, influencers, and organizations, already involved in activist fashion.

The outcome of this research will not only lead to a peer-reviewed article, but also an open-access toolkit on feminist fashion to be shared in activist fashion networks worldwide.

Insuring the Dutch Delta: Climate Adaptation, Insurance and the Future of Risk Sharing in the Netherlands

Dr. Emanuel Ubert (RSM)

On November 14, 2022, the Dutch Association of Insurers, Resilient Delta and the Rotterdam School of Management convened over 25 experts from insurance, resilient engineering and building, academia, and other sectors to discuss ways to address the many challenges that climate risks pose to the low-lying Dutch delta. The insurance sector has a crucial role to play in climate adaptation, but also needs deeper collaborations with other sectors. This cross-sectoral approach is new for insurers, yet insurability is crucial for society at large.

This document summarizes the four main themes and related opportunities for further collaboration that emerged during the meeting.

SUMMER ACADEMY Law and Political Economy in Europe, Erasmus University Rotterdam 27-29th June 2023

Dr. Ioannis Kampourakis (ESL)

LPE in Europe is a movement of legal scholarship and praxis that seeks to show how law contributes to the social, economic, and ecological crises that we face, and how it could become a tool in addressing them. In this intensive 3-day Summer Academy, successful applicants will join an international Faculty of leading researchers working in the field of LPE studies for a series of writing workshops,  masterclasses on core LPE topics, including on teaching LPE; roundtable discussions; sessions on publication strategies, with the support of the journals European Law Open and Journal of Law and Political Economy; networking opportunities, and social activities. 

Key areas of focus for the Academy are those that correspond to the crises currently impacting society, including those relating to the energy transition, housing, and the food system, as well as on the role of social rights, constitutions, and economic governance.

How much is enough? A moral framework for assessing the freedom to pursue sustainable lifestyles

Dr. Constanze Binder (ESPhil)

Global natural resources are depleting. A transition away from current economic systems is extremely urgent, but such transitions face a conflict between environmental policies and a core liberal value: non-interference in lifestyles. This is due to lacunae in contemporary liberal thought: preferences are a given, and the impact environmental constraints have on freedom is neglected.

This project fills these lacunae through a moral framework for assessing new socio-economic systemsthis allows accounting for the constraining effect current societal structures have on preferences, and comparing institutional changes in terms of resources that enhance freedom to pursue valuable lifepaths. Neglected aspects of the capability framework will be developed by employing the literature on overall freedom and freedom-rankings in political philosophy and social choice theory. The theoretical framework is then used in a deliberative poll to identify how far deliberation about sustainable lifestyles may lead to preference changes caused by the current lack of alternative less-resource-intensive lifestyles.

European High Level Expert Group: Regulating Artificial Intelligence

Prof. Evert Stamhuis (ESL), Joris Krijger (ESPhil)

Financial institutions are relying more and more on algorithms, models and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to make their processes more efficient. There is a lack of concrete legal guidelines for AI systems and legislators are openly struggling with what legislation and enforcement of these systems should look like. In April 2019 the European High Level Expert Group published guidelines for "Trustworthy Artificial Intelligence", which the Dutch National Bank translated into their own SAFEST guidelines for the use of AI in the financial sector.

The question is whether these guidelines align with existing regulations and to what extent these guidelines can be translated into concrete and workable regulation. For organisations who wish to be leaders in the ethical development of AI, the question to this answer is important for both the development of AI and the governance around it.

Jan Tinbergen: The Thinker

Dr. Constanze Binder (ESPhil), Dr. Erwin Dekker (ESHCC), Dr. Conrad Heilmann (ESPhil), Prof.dr. Jack Vromen (ESPhil)

Jan Tinbergen has contributed to economics and policy-making in many different ways. But what kind of a thinker was he? Are there unifying philosophical commitments to the different aspects of his work? This project will investigate these questions and showcase a new perspective on Jan Tinbergen, the thinker.

Jan Tinbergen is one of the most important scientists in the rich history of the EUR. He was awarded the first Nobel Prize in economic sciences in 1969. The year 2019 is the “Year of Tinbergen” in which the 50th anniversary of this award is celebrated. Most well known for his Nobel prize winning work on econometrics, he also made crucial contributions to economic policy at the CPB, many international organisations, and development work. He was instrumental in the creation of the modern notion of the ‘economic expert’. Moreover, Tinbergen also had outspoken and active ethical views. He was driven by socialist values, and investigated many problems that have important ethical import. We will uncover his philosophical commitments, thereby improving our understanding of the depth of his impact.

Positive state obligations concerning fundamental rights and ‘changing the hearts and minds’

Prof. dr. Kristin Henrard (ESL), Dr. Yogi Hale Hendlin (ESPhil)

This grant supports a conference on 30 and 31 January 2020. The conference will cover topics of enduring relevance and growing importance concerning (the reach of) positive state obligations in relation to prejudice and discrimination; and will address these from a multidisciplinary perspective.

Positive state obligations are fundamentally geared at the effective protection of fundamental rights. Over time, these positive state obligations have increased in terms of variety and strength. At the same time, these positive state obligations cannot be absolute. The conference (and the ensuring special issue of Erasmus Law Review) explores how far state obligations go to ensure effective protection against discrimination in interpersonal relationships. How far do states have to go to counter ingrained prejudice and stereotypical thinking? Can states try to change the hearts and minds of people?

Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence: Digital Governance (DIGOV)

Prof. dr. Klaus Heine (ESL), Prof. dr. Evert Stamhuis (ESL), Farshida Zafar (ESL)

Together with researchers from Bar-Ilan University and the University of Leeds, Klaus Heine, Evert Stamhuis and Farshida Zafar have been awarded with a Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence by the European Commission. In the next three years the researchers will work on the forefront of research on the impact of digitalization on law and society.

Which rules and norms are needed to enable Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to fully support our individual interests and help us make smart choices? And which constraints are needed to prevent Big Data and Artificial Intelligence to work to the detriment of society? To what extent is incumbent law still able to deal with digitalization on an accelerated pace? And which legal insufficiencies have to be bridged by new legal rules?

The Quest for Controlled Freedom

Prof.dr. Peter Mascini (ESL), Prof.dr. Peter Hupe (ESSB), Dr. Gijs van Oenen (ESPhil)

Securing legal certainty, legal equality and fairness in implementing law and policy are important preconditions for inclusive prosperity. Yet, the fulfilment of these preconditions can never be taken for granted because the translation of rule into action, the process by which abstraction becomes actuality, involves interpretation and choice: discretion is at stake. Discretion may be granted formally and it may be assumed. By ’implementing actors’ it may be used prudently or it may be abused. The ways in which this happens concern empirical questions against the backdrop of rapid social changes.  

Public services have been digitalized and privatized, while performance standards, performance measurement and reporting obligations have become omnipresent. Due to these changes the responsibilities and expectations of public as well as private actors and the boundaries between them are shifting. These facts pose new challenges on how to balance control and freedom in the use of discretion. While both total control and full freedom seem illusory, what are accountable ways of dealing with freedom when acting towards public goals such as inclusive prosperity? The idea behind the conference subject is inspired by a new book that will come out in the summer of 2019, titled Discretion and the Quest for Controlled Freedom. 

Day-Fines Project

Dr. Elena Kantorowicz-Reznichenko (RSM), Dr. Conrad Heilmann (ESPhil)

In this very first international conference on day fines, experts in criminal law and criminology from different European countries will discuss the unique system of criminal fines which systematically depend not only on the severity of the offence but also on the wealth of the offender.

Half of the European countries are currently applying a unique model of fines, which systematically accounts for the income of the offender. Consequently, in these jurisdictions, the nominal amount of the fine depends not only on the severity of the offence but also on the income of the offender. This type of fine has great potential in terms of improved deterrence and a fairer system of pecuniary sanctions. However, not much is known about this system. This conference gathers experts in the field to explain the day fine system in different countries where they are implemented.

Facing Grand Challenges Together

Dr. Ilona Suojanen (RSM), Professor Gabriele Jacobs (RSM), Mark van der Giessen (RSM), Mieke Kox (ESL), Dr. Conrad Heilmann (ESPhil)

Global forced displacement is not a new phenomenon, but in 2015, when the island of Lesbos was confronted with over 500.000 refugees in one year; almost 6 times its own population, its visibility was increased. In the wake of a record number of refugee arrivals, many International organizations followed, creating a complex system of Greek, European and global organizations and processes. As a result, Lesbos has become a microcosm where local and global responses intersect to manage the refugee crisis and its aftermath. These challenges do not stay on Lesbos, they reverberate across Europe.

Responding to forced displacement is difficult as humanitarian and economic needs and responsibilities transcend the local and even European levels of organizing. One thing is clear however; the challenge of dealing with forced displacement is bigger than any one organization, and must therefore be faced together. This working conference is intended to bring together knowledge and experience from all relevant sectors, including business, charity and voluntary work, healthcare, law enforcement and security, media, public administration, social care, logistics and science.

Building an Erasmus Research Network on Sustainable Business & Human Rights

Prof. dr. Rob van Tulder (RSM), Prof. dr. Liesbeth Enneking (ESL), Prof. dr. Martijn Scheltema (ESL), Prof. dr. Cees van Dam (RSM)

The Erasmus Research Platform on Sustainable Business & Human Rights seeks to identify strategies – including both business and regulatory strategies – that effectively contribute to sustainable development and corporate respect for human rights.

The Platform’s focus is on the ways in which innovative management stances, which enable the transition to proactive value creation, can be linked to innovative legal arrangements to foster proactive business conduct in global value chains, beyond compliance. Examples include contractual, dispute resolution, legislative, multi-stakeholder and industry arrangements that take an integrated approach to minimise adverse impacts and generate positive impacts.

The Era of Disintegration: Taking Stock of the Dynamics of International Economic Governance in the First Two Decades of the 21st Century

Dr. Federica Violi (ESL), Dr. Constanze Binder (ESPhil)

International economic law and EU law have played an enormous role in enhancing economic integration and international cooperation. However, they seem to have lost part of their integrationist force. International and regional economic regimes seem in fact to be both sustaining and nurturing patterns of disintegration. Brexit, the Euro crisis, the US challenges to multilateralism, environmental disruptions, and resource-cursed States are only a few examples of how disintegration dynamics are unfolding rapidly at various levels.

On the 16th of November 2018, we will organize a conference at which academics and practitioners from the fields of law, economics and philosophy of economics will gather to analyze these patterns of disintegration, trying to discern the paradox by which the very instruments and mechanisms that were introduced with the aim of achieving an ever-closer integration may have actually spurred centrifugal and structural fragmenting tendencies.

Blockchain: A Matter of Trust?

Dr. Jurgen Goossens (ESL), Dr. Gijs van Oenen (ESPhil), Prof. dr. Jos de Mul (ESPhil)

Although blockchain seems to offer great opportunities to improve the functioning of our democratic society, the government should think before acting. It is far from clear whether blockchain will resolve more problems than it will create. When using new technologies, such as blockchain, the government must be aware that it is wearing two hats, one as a (horizontal) user of the system and another one as a (vertical) public actor with responsibilities.

The project will address these questions and concerns regarding the application of blockchain and smart contracts by the government and its effects on inclusive prosperity. Blockchain might generate both negative and positive effects on inclusive prosperity. 

Visuals at work in the legal system

Dr. Gabry Vanderveen (ESL), Prof. dr. Valerie Frissen (ESPhil), Prof. dr. Henk Volberda (RSM), Prof. dr. Marius van Dijke (RSM).

New technologies have led to an increase in different types of visuals in the legal system, created by various public and private actors. This working conference brings researchers, (legal) professionals, practitioners and businesses together to discuss how visuals actually work in the legal system, how they affect the people involved.

When and how can visualization of information and data lead to more inclusion by enhancing access to justice and to legal information? When and how can access to and the use of visuals in civil and criminal cases lead to less justice and how can this be prevented?

Tax incentives for corporate philanthropy to stimulate inclusive prosperity

Dr. Lonneke Roza (RSM), Dr. Renate Buijze (ESL)

Companies increasingly play a pivotal role in creating inclusive societies through incorporating ethical, sustainable and social policies in their day-to-day operations, but also through cross-sector partnerships based on CSR and corporate philanthropy. This project studies tax incentives for corporate philanthropy.

In order to address the key academic questions and enhance the collaboration within the field of corporate philanthropy, meetings are organized with top academic scholars as well as organisations active in the field and potential funders.

The use of AI in legal decision making

Erlis Themeli LLM (ESL), Dr. Stephan Philipsen (ESL), Dr. Gijs van Oenen (ESPhil), Prof. dr. Stefano Puntoni (RSM).

A growing number of applications is able to find, read, and summarise arguments contained in large volumes of information, called Artificial Intelligence (AI). The use of AI in legal decision making is a matter of concern to government officials, public in general, and the court constituents. AI promises to reduce costs of justice and to make complicated legislation more accessible, increasing the access to justice with technology serving as a vehicle to a more inclusive prosperity.

This roundtable aims to gather developers of AI applications, managers of law firms or private companies, government officials and court representatives in order to reflect on this development and improve communication and understanding of AI.

The moral aspects of robotization

Prof. dr. Jos de Mul (ESPhil), Prof. dr. Valerie Frissen (ESPhil), Prof. dr. Stefano Puntoni (RSM), Prof. dr. Evert Stamhuis (ESL).

In both the public and private sphere, more and more decisions are delegated to advanced algorithms. Although this affects management, law, and philosophy alike, as of yet no coordinated initiative exists that connects expertise and research within these disciplines. Therefore, the current project sets out to jointly develop a research agenda on the moral aspects of robotization, ranging from governance and organisational ethics to the individual self-understanding as a (moral) agent within an increasingly automated structure.

In the modern praxis of the digital age, it is held, moral concepts such as responsibility could require structural revaluation. Members from the three Faculties will collaborate on a joint research agenda, try to develop an overarching theoretical framework and explore new possibilities for further research.

Sharing economy in logistics

Dr. Wouter Verheyen (ESL), Prof. dr. Rob Zuidwijk (RSM), Dr. Niels Agatz (RSM) 

This project envisages organizing an interdisciplinary conference with round table debates on the theme of sharing economy in logistics. In this domain, where cooperation between market players is essential, a holistic solution to the grand societal challenges requires an integrated approach, combining expertise from logistics, operations management, modelling and law.

The evolutions that have taken place in the sharing logistics in the last years, could very much increase inclusive prosperity, but at the same time they might potentially lead to opposite results and allow for exclusion and even (social) dumping. Given these opportunities and threats, it is clear that sharing economy in logistics could be a catalyst for inclusive prosperity, but at the same time entails a risk of achieving the opposite results.

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