Personal profile

Research interests

Dr. Lieke Oldenhof is Associate Professor in anthropology of the changing welfare state at the Erasmus School of Health Policy and Management. She is member of the daily board of the healthcare governance department. 


Her research focuses on how citizens, professionals and public managers reconfigure the welfare state at the local level: in cities, neighbourhoods and communities. Drawing from anthropology, pragmatic sociology, public administration and urban health, she generates new transdisciplinary insights about how the transformation of the welfare state can become more inclusive and reduce rising health inequalities.


To ensure societal impact, her research projects and education are co-productions with partners like citizen initiatives, local welfare organizations and city goverments. To more structurally embed collaboration, she co-founded the CARE Lab Rotterdam (Connect, Action, Research, Education). The goal of the CARE Lab is to jointly do action research together with citizens, professionals and policymakers in order to contribute to personalized and integrated support for citizens with multiple interlocking problems (health, debts, precarious work and housing). She is also member of the Young Erasmus Academy and in this capacity involved in the development of Recognition & Rewards Policies at EUR and school level. 


Lieke received several prizes and grants. She finished her PhD cum laude: an ethnographic study about how public managers deal with conflicting values in the changing welfare state. For this research, she won the best PhD thesis award of the Karolinska Medical Management Centre and European Health Management Association. Her article ‘On Justification Work’ in Public Administration Review was awarded with the best Published Article Award by the Academy of Management. In 2018, she obtained a Veni grant by the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) to investigate public encounters between citizens and professionals in the changing local welfare state. In 2019, she received the Frans Rutten Research Award for Research Talent at ESHPM. In 2023, she co-obtained a Horizon grant CityMove: city-based interventions to stimulate active movement for health. She is WP lead of action research in city living labs (Europe, Latin America, Africa). 


Research themes:

  • Wicked problems in society, such as unequal citizen participation, rising health inequalities, unhealthy living environments, digital surveillance and discrimination. 
  • Transformation of welfare states at the local level: 
    • Citizen participation
    • Healthy placemaking
    • Prevention
    • Digitalization
    • Personalization
    • Boundary-crossing governance
  • Value and system complexity
  • Trans-disciplinary research


Research methods:

  • Multi-sited ethnography (from micro practies to macro policy)
  • Participatory action research 
  • Shadowing of key stakeholders
  • Narrative conversation analysis 



Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions


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Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

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