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VENI grant for research on personalizing humanitarian aid

The University of Twente gained a new area of research today, as dr. Eefje Hendriks has been awarded a VENI grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). She will work at the Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation. 

Enabling SAFER RECONSTRUCTION for vulnerable communities 

Disasters are a growing problem. Yearly, 185 million lives are affected by natural hazards, primarily in low-income countries in poorly constructed houses. To fight disaster risks, resistant housing is crucial. Too often, essential construction techniques are not used by the most vulnerable, despite assistance from humanitarian organisations and governments. Choices made during reconstruction are still insufficiently understood. The new study of Eefje Hendriks will explore these choices to create effective targeted assistance and to enhance resilience of houses reconstructed after disasters.

Dr. Eefje Hendriks

I am eager to study this highly relevant topic and make a difference in the lives of those most vulnerable to disasters. First, we have to better understand how people make decisions before we decide how to give support. It is my goal to find out what and when assistance works best. A target group approach can lead to effective personalized aid.

Dr. Eefje Hendriks

Next steps

After the summer, Hendriks will begin her VENI journey by connecting with experts from leading academic and humanitarian networks to identify indicators that are important for reconstruction decisions. After that, she will develop an interdisciplinary behavioral model. Students are welcome to join this exploration. “I look forward to meeting my new team members at the ITC Faculty and their international partners. I met some at the opening of the Centre for Disaster Resilience at ITC in October 2021. I have enjoyed already working with Maarten van Aalst, Karin Pfeffer, Caroline Gevaert, Victor Jetten, and Dinand Alkema. I thank them for their constructive feedback on the proposal that helped to point out the value of my research.”


Eefje Hendriks earned her PhD (2020) in effective communication to reduce housing vulnerability in post-disaster reconstruction. Nepal, the Philippines and Senegal are among the countries where she conducted field research on remote communities affected by disasters. Hendriks received the Sustainable Teacher Award of the Netherlands (2020). Eefje Hendriks has been working for Avans University of Applied Sciences for many years as a senior lecturer, director of a disaster, climate change and migration related study program, coordinator and project leader. She is a daily board member of Technology for Global Development at the Eindhoven University of Technology, where she bridges the gap between science and practice. As a senior lecturer in disaster risk reduction, she is involved in several undergraduate and graduate programs. She is also a visiting lecturer at the University of Sydney and the International University of Catalunya.

R. Kwakman MSc (Robin)
Communication Advisor (Faculty ITC)