Health & Well-being

How to let technology generate longer, healthier lives

Digital technology can help promote healthier lifestyles, create healthier environments, optimize detection, diagnosis and treatment of disease and well-being of patients, and advance the quality and efficiency of care, both at home and in institutions. Digital technology should be designed and delivered according to the needs of end users, aimed towards limiting inequalities in access to care. It should help manage the costs of care for populations of all ages. These and related societal challenges are addressed in programme line Health & Well-Being.

23 November 2017

Digital Society Research Agenda

6 November 2018

Kick-off community of Digital Society researchers triggers inspiring debates

9 October 2018

Digital Society Conference 27 November

8 October 2018

The Misinformation Crisis in a Digital Society

Academics that are working on finding solutions to societal challenges related to Health & Well Being:

Aarnout Brombacher (TU Eindhoven)


Aarnout Brombacher is Full Professor of Design Theory and Information Flow Analysis. Brombacher has an interest in field-data analysis of complex systems in interaction with users and user communities, data analytics and the resulting customer perceived design quality models. His early career at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) focused on quality and reliability management, both in the Department of Industrial Design and the Department of Mechanical Engineering. He has extensive experience in industrial quality and reliability improvement projects and developing tools and analysis methods for this field. Later, his interests shifted to sports, activity and human health, using the increasingly available amounts of individual activity data to help create opportunities for more people to become active. He is currently member of the National TopTeam (advisory body of the Dutch government) on Sports and Vitality representing the 14 Dutch universities in this field.

André Dekker (Maastricht University)


I am a full professor of Clinical Data Science at Maastricht University and lead the GROW-Maastricht University research division of MAASTRO Knowledge Engineering. My research focuses on three main themes: building global data sharing infrastructures;
machine learning cancer outcome prediction models from this data; applying outcome prediction models to improve lives of cancer patients. Our scientific breakthrough has been the development of a data sharing and distributed learning infrastructure that does not require data to leave the hospital. This has reduced many of the ethical and other barriers to share health data. We have shown this approach works in more than 20 cancer centres worldwide.

Andrea Evers (Leiden University)


Andrea Evers is professor of Health Psychology and chair of the Health-Medical-and-Neuropsychology-Unit at Leiden University. After her PhD (cum laude), Andrea Evers obtained several personal grants for excellent researchers (NWO-Veni 2004, NWO-Vidi 2009, ERC Consolidator Grant 2013, ERC Proof of Concept 2015, NWO-Vici 2017) for her innovative, interdisciplinary and translational research on psychoneurobiological mechanisms and treatments for health and disease. Her research is characterized by a strong interdisciplinary focus, particularly due to connecting Social Sciences with Biomedical and Life Sciences, in addition to collaborations with Neuroscience and Humanities. In addition to her broad clinical and teaching experience, she uniquely combines fundamental and applied science in her translational research, by focusing both on basic research on psychoneurobiology (e.g. stress mechanisms) and translational research on screening and innovative interventions for somatic conditions (e.g. e-health tools). She published more than 200 international and national articles in her research topics.

Within the VSNU program Digital Society, she is one of the national chairs of the program Health & Well-being and connects her activities to several other initiatives. For example, as part of the Dutch National Science Agenda (NWA), she is one of the chairs (“boegbeeld”) of the route NeurolabNL. Moreover, she is also one of the chairs of the eHealth program as part of Medical Delta program within the LDE (Leiden, Delft, Erasmus Universities) collaboration. She is also co-chair of the profile area Health, Prevention and the Human Life Cycle, at Leiden University and Leiden University Medical Centre. Her research is also closely connected to clinical practice as part of her work as a Clinical Psychologist within the Leiden University Treatment and Expert Centre (LUBEC) of the Faculty of Social Science.

She has a very broad experience as researcher and therapist within the area of self-management for a variety of chronic somatic conditions and developed, evaluated and implemented a large variety of disease-generic and specific screening and treatment protocols that can be individually applied through the internet (ehealth). The main aim of her eHealth and self-management research programme is to optimize health care for a wide variety of patient groups by developing, evaluating, and implementing online screening instruments and self-management interventions that can be tailored to individual needs. The research programme encompasses a broad variety of projects developing and testing the effectiveness of digital screening instruments to select subjects at risk and offer them tailored interventions (e.g. online self-management interventions for patients at risk for adjustments problems to a chronic condition) using various applications (e.g. apps, games, e-coaching, virtual reality).

Edith Feskens (Wageningen University)


Professor in Nutrition and Health over the Lifecourse.

Hermie Hermens (University of Twente)


Prof. Dr. Ir. Hermie J. Hermens did his master in Biomedical Engineering at the University of Twente. His PhD was on surface EMG modelling, processing and clinical applications. He became Professor in Neuromuscular Control at the University of Twente. He was the initiator and coordinator of the SENIAM project, which had a substantial impact as it resulted in a broadly accepted worldwide standard on surface EMG electrodes properties and their placement on the muscles.

Hermie was co-founder of Roessingh Research and Development (RRD), originating from the Roessingh Rehabilitation Centre, which has grown now in the largest institute in the area of Rehabilitation Technology and Telemedicine in the Netherlands. He was also one of the initiators of the Center for Care Technology Research (CCTR), where he is now director Technology, being one of the 8 Centres of Research Excellence (CoRE’s) of the Innovative Medical Devices Initiative (IMDI).

He gradually switched his research area from Rehabilitation Technology towards combining Biomedical Engineering with ICT to create innovative remote monitoring and coaching services for people with chronic conditions. In 2008, he became professor Telemedicine and head of the Telemedicine research group, at UTwente, in 2010 he became director Telemedicine at RRD and visiting professor of the Caledonian University in Glasgow. Hermie is (co)-author of over 300 peer reviewed scientific journal papers, and many more congress publications, reflected in a high H-index (59) and over 16000 citations of his work.

He coordinated three European projects and participated in over 25 other international projects in the area of Rehabilitation Technology and Telemedicine. The present focus of his research involves smart automatic coaching systems using on-body sensing and personalised feedback, and intelligent context aware systems/services that support independent living of people with chronic conditions.

Presently, Hermie is coordinating the H2020 project Council of Coaches, focusing on disruptive new way of coaching using multiple artificial coaches and the recently funded Data2person project EDIC (exceptional and deep intelligent coach). He is the coordinator of the UT wide multidisciplinary research program on “Personalised eHealth technology”. Within the VSNU program Digital Society, he is one of the national chairs of the program Health and Well-Being.

Natasha Maurits (University of Groningen)


Natasha Maurits is Professor of Clinical Neuroengineering at the University of Groningen. Her interests include Clinical neuroengineering, esp. neurodiagnostics, Multimodal neuroimaging (EEG-EMG-fMRI), computational biofluid dynamics, (r)TMS, biomedical signal analysis.

Heleen Riper (VU Amsterdam)


Heleen Riper is Professor of eMental-Health and works at the VU University Amsterdam, GGZ inGeest (Research Department of a large mental health service organization in Amsterdam, the Netherlands) and at the Leuphana University (eMental-Health Research Centre), Lüneburg, Germany. Over the past 15 years her research focus has been on the development of eMental-Health interventions for common mental disorders and substance use disorders, the assessment of their clinical and cost-effectiveness and their implementation in routine practice. In addition, I have studied the requirements and impact of eMental-Health on both national and international health policy-levels. The scope of her current research activities includes the innovative use of mobile health, social media and blended care for the prevention and treatment of common mental disorders. New methodological challenges include the use and evaluation of mobile ecological momentary assessments and interventions, serious gaming for mental health and intelligent reasoning systems for modeling the virtual patient.

Margriet Sitskoorn (Tilburg University)


Margriet Sitskoorn is a full professor of Clinical Neuropsychology (Department of Cognitive Neuropsychology) at Tilburg University in the Netherlands and is registered as a Clinical Neuropsychologist, Specialist BIG-registration (49050992625). She is the Health & Wellbeing programme leader from Tilburg University’s Impact programme. Within the VSNU Digital Society programme Health & Wellbeing, she represents Tilburg University with a specific focus on cognition, personalised care and creating data from both big- and experience data within the field of Health and Wellbeing.

Margriet Sitskoorn worked as a clinical neuropsychologist and cognitive scientist at several institutes in the Netherlands and stayed at Henry Ford Hospital Detroit, USA. Sitskoorn has received and continues to be awarded multiple grants from different organisations (e.g. ZonMw, KWF, Fonds Nuts Ohra, Czfonds). She was, amongst others a member of the Dutch Health Council’s Special Committee electromagnetic fields, a board member of STT foresight images of the brain, and is a member of the Supervisory board of the Dutch TopSportCommunity of the Netherlands. She also functions as a consulting editor for the peer-reviewed scientific journal Neuropsychology.

Sitskoorn has published around 150 international and national articles, books and book chapters to date and her books are translated into several languages. Her main scientific interest is in experience-based neuroplasticity. This research focuses on the potential to regulate and capitalise on neuroplasticity in the human brain using cognitive, environmental and behavioural stimulation. The goal is to improve cognitive and emotional functioning not only in patients with neurological disorders but also in healthy people. An example of her work is the Predict and Recover project, a large scale, multi-study research programme that focuses on the cause, prediction and treatment of cognitive dysfunctions in patients with brain tumours. This project is multicenter conducted over many disciplines, takes a plethora of variables into account and is funded by several organisations.

Sitskoorn is also interested in translating insights gained from scientific brain research into language accessible to the public at large and in integrating scientific knowledge into the field of education, policy making and business. She is the author of several bestsellers, participates in several television programmes, and she writes for several popular magazines in addition to her peer-reviewed scientific articles. She is also a frequently invited key-note speaker.

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