Biography – Joske Bunders

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Joske Bunders graduated in Chemistry and Physics at the University of Amsterdam and wrote her PhD thesis on participatory approaches to the development of science-based innovations in agriculture at the VU University Amsterdam in 1994. She has been director of the Athen
a Institute for research on innovation and communication in Health and Life Sciences (Faculty of Earth and Life Sciences, VU Amsterdam) since 1981. She was appointed Professor of Biology and Society at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam in 2000. Her specific field of interest is the linking of knowledge and expertise of end users (e.g. small-scale farmers or patients) with developments in modern science and national and international policy.

Dr. Bunders is coordinator of Science & Society studies for the faculty of Health and Life Sciences. She sits on several government commissions and advisory boards, including; the “Gender Advisory Board of the United Nations Commission on Science and Technology for Development” (UNCSTD); the Steering Committee on “Technology Assessment” for the Ministry of Agriculture, Nature Conservation and Fisheries; and the Council for Research in Planning, Environment and Nature (Raad voor Ruimtelijk, Milieu en Natuuronderzoek).


Ph.D, University of Amsterdam 

Current Research:

Dr. Bunders has published widely in the area of biotechnology and the role of users in shaping the innovation process. She has also conducted research on the development of methodology to stimulate and facilitate interactive and transdisciplinary processes of problem solving. This involves various stakeholders engaging in a deliberative mutual search and learning process.

Examples of current projects include: “Inter- and transdisciplinary research on ecological genomics: a multi-stakeholder approach “, “A societal research agenda on medical biotechnology”, “Consumer involvement in research for and with people with an intellectual handicap”,  “The role of NGOs as change agent in the transition towards sustainable medical technology innovations”, “Interactive supply chain management: an effective way to manage genomics in society?” and “Tailor-made biotechnologies for the poor”.

Selected Publications:


Bunders, J.F.G. (1990), Biotechnology for small-scale farmers in developing countries: analysis and assessment. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit, pp. 17-50

Challenges for Transdisciplinary Research

Bunders, J.F.G., Boerse, J.E.W., Keil, F., Pohl, C., Scholz, R.W., Zweekhorst, M.B.M. (2010), How can transdisciplinary research contribute to knowledge democracy? In’t Veld, R.J. (Ed).

Seferiadis, A.A., Cummings, S., Zweekhorst, M.B.M. and Bunders, J.F.G. (2015), Producing social capital as a development strategy: implications at the micro-level. Progress in Development Studies. 15(2):172-185.

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