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Dr. Tjerk Jan Schuitmaker is assistant professor at the Athena Institute of the VU Amsterdam. His research focusses on sustainable health and care. After his Master in Neuroscience he obtained his PhD in Political Science at the AISSR of the University of Amsterdam, as member of the Knowledge Network for System Innovations and Transitions, focussed on sustainability transitions. In his thesis he unravelled systemic barriers for innovations in health care.  

An underlying goal in his projects is to improve the relationship between patient and professionals central in the quest for high quality care. This requires empowerment of both professionals and patients. He has, for instance, worked with regional partnerships of health care professionals in obstetrics on improving the quality and continuity of (pre)natal care, and with patients in implementing sustainable patient engagement practices in oncological care.

As workstream leader within the PARADIGM consortium he worked with patients and pharmaceutical companies on sustainable and meaningful patient engagement by addressing needs of all stakeholders and co-creating tools for monitoring and evaluation. Within 'Het Bewustzijnspoject' he supported the implementation of High Value Cost Conscious Care (doelmatige zorg) projects. With SUPREME NUDGE he works on supporting a healthy life style through supermarkets in order to battle non-communicable diseases like diabetes.

As lecturer, Tjerk Jan teaches a wide range of (honours) courses on the interaction between science, technology and society. He supervised over 200 internships and theses of master students. He is coordinator of the Major Science in Society.

He is coordinator of the Major Science in Society.

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 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals

Academic qualification

PhD, Identifying and unravelling persistent problems in the Dutch health care system, Universiteit van Amsterdam

1 Aug 200628 Feb 2011

Award Date: 23 Jan 2013

Master, Biomedical Sciences, Neurobiology, Universiteit van Amsterdam

1 Sep 19971 Aug 2003

Award Date: 1 Aug 2003


  • RA0421 Public health. Hygiene. Preventive Medicine


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