Dr. Rens van der Vegt, Postdoctoral Researcher

Ph.D Public Policy, Charles Darwin University (2019); M.Sc. Cultural Anthropology, Utrecht University (2013); B.B.A. International Tourism Management & Consultancy, NHTV University of Applied Sciences (2011).

My research focuses on risk governance, stakeholder participation, and scientific and technological decision-making in the context of systemic risks. By combining scientific expertise, structured thinking and deliberation based on the inclusion of experts, stakeholders and the general public, I investigate how complex multi-actor networks and processes dealing with collective decisions on demanding public risks to human health and the environment can be improved. During my Ph.D. I used a case study research design to examine these areas in relation to natural resource development and management in Australia.

Project Summary:

“Institutional Entrepreneurship in a Context of Rapidly Changing Practices: Genomics and its Ethical, Environmental, Economic, Legal and Social Aspects (GE3LS)” is a component of the EcoToxChip project. The objective of the EcoToxChip project is to develop, test, validate, and commercialize quantitative PCR arrays (EcoToxChip) and a data evaluation tool ( for the characterization, prioritization, and management of environmental chemicals and complex mixtures of regulatory concern. The goal of the GE3LS project is to produce social science knowledge about the phenomenon of “institutional entrepreneurship” and to leverage this knowledge in ways that make EcoToxChip project team members more effective as change agents who transform institutionalized practices in the field of ecological risk assessment of chemicals.

As a Postdoctoral Researcher on this project, Rens focused on risk governance and scientific and technological decision-making in the context of chemical risk assessment and environmental management. He particularly examined the organisational and institutional challenges underlying the adoption of toxicogenomics tools that could improve future toxicity testing.


Project Publications:

Van der Vegt, R.G., Maguire, S., Crump, D., Hecker, M., Basu, N. and Hickey, G.M. (2021). Chemical risk governance: Exploring pathways for the sound management of chemicals. Ambio: Accepted.