Dean's Master Class: research theme 'Aging'

November 4, 2016

Event information

Type: Master Class

Date: November 4 (Friday) 2016

Time: 11.15 - 16.00

Location: EUR Woudestein campus Rotterdam (directions and campus map), Aberdeen (M3-03) Van de Goot Building

Enrolment: exclusively for PhD candidates of the Graduate School


Telephone: +31 (0)10 40 82607

The upcoming edition of the Dean's Master Class will focus on the research theme 'Aging'. Graduate School Dean Professor Liesbet van Zoonen has again chosen a theme which cuts across disciplines and asked four distinguished scholars, from four academic fields, to present their research on the theme. The speakers and their respective disciplines are:

  • Katinka Dijkstra (Psychology) Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Kasia Karpinska (Sociology) Erasmus University Rotterdam
  • Eugene Loos (Game Studies) University of Amsterdam
  • Anna Petra Nieboer (Socio-Medical Sciences) Erasmus University Rotterdam

The master class is a highly interactive event, consisting of a combination of presentations, discussions and assignments. During the afternoon, PhD candidates will work in groups towards presenting a draft research proposal on 'Aging'. The best proposal will be awarded 'The Dame'; the Dean’s Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence.

The Dean’s Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence was awarded to Osman Caglar Dede (Philosophy), Ada van Dijk (Studio van Dijk) and Jing Zhang (Sociology).


  • 11.15 – 11.45 walk-in lunch
  • 11.45 – 12.00 opening
  • 12.00 – 13.00 presentations
  • 13.00 – 14.00 speeddating with the speakers
    Q&A session in groups
  • 14.00 – 15.30 ideas factory
    Participants, (first individually, then in groups) work on ideas for a research proposal
  • 15.30 – 16.00 presentations research proposals
    Two members of each group presents the proposal to be reviewed by the speakers. The best proposals will be awarded the 'Dean's Award for Multidisciplinary Excellence' (DAME).
  • > 16.00 drinks

Read the retrospective of the first master class for a further impression of the afternoon’s set-up.


Dean's Master Class: research theme 'Aging'

Associate Professor Katinka Dijkstra

Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies (DPECS)

Katinka Dijkstra is an associate professor at the Departmen of Psychology, Education and Child Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her research focuses on autobiographical memory in relation to cognitive aging.

Title presentation: "The role of the body in memory processes in younger and older adults"
A new perspective in psychological research is that of Embodied Cognition, that postulates that cognitive processes have a basis in our body and our interactions with the world. This approach has been supported by empirical research in which effects of body position and body movement on memory processes have been demonstrated. This presentation focuses on examples of such research and the potential implications of dealing with age-related cognitive declines.

Required reading:
Loeffler, J., Raab, M., & Cañal-Bruland, R. (2016). A lifespan perspective on Embodied Cognition. Frontiers in Psychology, 7, 1-6.
Available online

Postdoctoral researcher Kasia Karpinska

Department of Public Administration and Sociology (DPAS)

Kasia Karpinska is a post-doctoral researcher at the Department of Public Administration and Sociology of Erasmus University Rotterdam. Kasia earned her PhD degree from Utrecht University School of Economics (USE) for her dissertation focussing on age discrimination on the labour market. In her career she also focused on active ageing and served as an expert to the European Commission on Active Ageing Index. Kasia is currently involved in the ERC-funded 'Families in Context' project and coordinates the study on family ties of Polish migrants in the Netherlands.

Title presentation: "The use of Active Ageing Index in the policy realm and beyond"
The Active ageing Index is a composite measure that intends to capture various facets of active ageing. By combing indicators related to employment, participation in society, independent living and enabling environment, the index described the untapped potential of older adults. While the Active Ageing Index is an evidence based tool that helps design policy measures to tackle active ageing (an increasingly important on political agendas at the European and national levels), its potential for researchers is not yet widely recognized. This presentation will focus on the origin of the AAI, its use for policy makers and for researchers interested in studying various dimensions of ageing.

Required reading: Active Ageing Index 2014 Analytical Report April 2015.
Available online

Professor Eugène Loos

Department of Communication Science (University of Amsterdam)

Eugène Loos is professor of "Old and New Media in an Ageing Society" at the Department of Communication Science of the University of Amsterdam and a Senior Lecturer of Communication, Policy and Management Studies at the Utrecht University School of Governance. He is a member of the national research Schools ASCoR and NIG. As a linguist, he has conducted research in the field of organisational (intercultural) organisation and the use of new media. Currently, his research focuses on the use of digital (sport) games for the physical and social wellbeing of older adults.

Title presentation: "Playing exergames: A panacea for older adults’ wellbeing?"
According to Huizinga (1950 [1938]), games are a fundamental aspect of life. He observed that, next to "homo faber" (man the maker), there is also the concept of "homo ludens" (man the player). As people get older they risk to get health problems. This presentation focuses on the potential of exergames, consisting of making movements with immediate digital performance feedback being provided to the players, for older adults' wellbeing. The following questions will be addressed:

  1. Are older adults willing to play exergames?
  2. Are older adults able to play exergames?
  3. What is the impact of playing exergames on older adults’ wellbeing?

Required reading:
Iversen, S. M. (2016). Play and Productivity The Constitution of Ageing Adults in Research on Digital Games. Games and Culture, 11(1-2), 7-27.
Available online

Professor Anna Petra Nieboer

Institute of Health Policy & Management (iBMG)

Nieboer is a professor of Socio-Medical Sciences at the Institute of Health Policy and Management or Erasmus University Rotterdam. In the past decade, her work has focused on quality improvement in long-term care; innovation in health and social care; and the self-management abilities and wellbeing of community-dwelling, frail older people.

Title presentation: "Well-being across the life span"
Well-being of older people is often compromised as our current health care system is not geared optimally to meet their complex needs. How this care should be best organised depends on the manner in which it can contribute to older people’s well-being across the lifespan. This requires early detection of symptoms and effective self-management support to maintain physical and social well-being. The challenge is to find optimal ways to deliver health care to ensure that older persons have the best quality of life possible, for as long as possible.

Required reading:
Nieboer, A.P. (2013) Sustainable care in a time of crisis. Inaugural lecture appointment chair Socio-Medical Sciences at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
Available online (Dutch and English)