The Mulier Institute

Current PhD projects


Survival chances sport clubs

Although sport clubs are currently still the dominant and most important organizational form in which Dutch amateur sport is practiced, Dutch sport clubs are increasingly facing pressures. Since 2003 the amount of Dutch sport clubs has dropped over ten percent and in 2019 the Mulier Institute diagnosed a fifth of the Dutch sport clubs as vulnerable for the future, suggesting a further decrease of the amount of Dutch sport clubs is to be expected. Because sport clubs are highly valued organizations and sport clubs in almost all of Europe can count on governmental support, this raises the question of which sport clubs are able to survive and why.

In order to understand why some sport clubs are able to survive while others are terminated, Resie Hoeijmakers started in 2020 a PhD-research in collaboration with the University Utrecht. The aim of this research is to identify factors that influence the probability for survival of sport clubs in the Netherlands. In order to understand the survival of certain sport clubs, the termination of others and the selection mechanisms at work, a model is designed based on the theories of population ecology, old institutional theory, new institutional theory and the resource-based view. In order to test this model, this study will deploy a number of different research methods, both qualitative and quantitative, at population, organizational and individual level.

For more information, please contact Resie Hoeijmakers.


Evaluating an integrated community-based approach for childhood obesity prevention

In this research project an integrated community-based approach promoting a healthy lifestyle and healthy weight in children and youth (JOGG) will be evaluated. This JOGG-approach has been implemented in 145 municipalities in the Netherlands over the last 10 years. Research questions contain how the approach has been implemented in different municipalities and more specifically how local networks of stakeholders developed and worked on a healthy living environment together. Other research questions are directed at if and how the JOGG-approach affected children’s health behaviours and overweight. A systems science perspective and a mixed method approach will be used to answer these questions.

For more information, please contact Irma Huiberts.


Completed PhD trajectories between 2020 and 2024


Physical activity care for people with type 2 diabetes. A critical narrative study.

Physical activity is considered a ‘corner stone’ in type 2 diabetes care. However, physical activity counselling is not always easy. To gain a profound understanding of these difficulties and offer openings for change, Mirjam Stuij conducted several qualitative, narrative studies. These studies are mostly based on a close analysis of in-depth interviews and (participant) observations. They provided in-depth insights into:

  1. the policy and care context relevant to the organisation of physical activity care,
  2. experiences of people with type 2 diabetes and healthcare professionals with physical activity (care),
  3. openings for a further improvement of care by extended talking and walking practices.

Most of this work was conducted as part of the research project Sport in Times of Illness (2013-2018). This project was supported by NWO, the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research, as part of their research programme Sport: Participation. The full dissertation can be found here.

For more information, please contact Mirjam Stuij.


The role of the organized sports setting in physical activity promotion among inactive people

To determine whether and how National Sports Federations (NSFs) and sports clubs can successfully contribute to increasing physical activity levels among inactive people, doctoral student Linda Ooms followed fourteen Dutch sporting programs for multiple years. These sporting programs were aimed at increasing sport participation in inactive population groups. The programs were developed by ten NSFs as part of the National Action Plan for Sport and Exercise (NAPSE) and implemented by sports clubs in the Netherlands. The research in this thesis focused on the effectiveness of two programs (Start to Run and Start2Bike) within the NAPSE and characteristics of insufficiently active participants who benefited the most from these programs in terms of increasing health-enhancing physical activity. Furthermore, factors influencing the implementation and long-term sustainability of all NAPSE programs were examined. The doctoral thesis can be found here.

For more information, please contact Linda Ooms.

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