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Who are the HOUSE researchers?

A multidisciplinary research team will collaborate in the HOUSE project for the next 4 years. During this time, they focus on innovative housing concepts for older people, unravelling the complex issues that emerge with their subjective wellbeing as the core concern. Researchers from different research disciplines, connected to three knowledge institutes (i.e. Hasselt University, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and PXL), have joined forces for this purpose. These include project leader Prof. Dr. Ann Petermans (Hasselt University), Prof. Dr. An-Sofie Smetcoren (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Prof. Dr. Liesbeth De Donder (Vrije Universiteit Brussel), Prof. Dr. Jan Vanrie (Hasselt University) and Steven Palmaers (Hogeschool PXL). Below you can find the expertise and roles of the research team that deals with HOUSE on a daily basis.

Close cooperation between scientific part and valorisation part

Prof. Dr. An-Sofie Smetcoren is the scientific coordinator of the project. She is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the Agogical Sciences programme, Department of Education Sciences, at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. Since 2011, her research has focused on housing and the living environment of older people, caring neighbourhoods, participation, and inclusion of older people. An-Sofie is the first point of contact for the other researchers. Her task within HOUSE is to coordinate the research between the 4 PhD students, to monitor the research results, to manage the general data, and to adjust the project plan.

The valorisation coordinator of HOUSE is Dr. Elke Ielegems. Elke is an architect and has been doing research on Universal Design within the built environment and inclusive design processes at Hasselt University, Faculty of Architecture and Arts, since 2014. Within the HOUSE project, Elke is responsible for translating the research results user-friendly tools and activities for an optimal application of the research in practice. Her former work experience as a practicing architect and director of a social housing cooperative are a good basis to link practice and theory. Elke focuses on building a strong network. She is the bridge between the HOUSE research team and the field.

Complementary research expertise

Two PhD students from each partner university have been appointed on the basis of their research focuses. Affiliated with Vrije Universiteit Brussel, Anton Swillens is an adult educational scientist (VUB); and Ariane Vanbellinghen has a bachelor`s degree in social work (Hogeschool Gent), and a master`s degree in public administration and public management (UGent). The project will benefit from their expertise on ageing in place, and quantitative and qualitative research methods. From Hasselt University, the appointees are Mirte Clerix and Sander Lambrix, both of whom have a master`s degree in architecture (UHasselt). They will use their knowledge of architecture and interior architecture, designing for wellbeing, participatory design and design research in the project.

`We want to fully involve the expertise and needs of our partners in our research`

In addition to our coordinators and PhD researchers, a team from PXL University College helps translate the research results into concrete tools. This team is led by Steven Palmaers and will work closely with the valorisation coordinator.

A large number of social partners are also involved in the HOUSE project. We want to integrate their expertise and needs from the field to the fullest in order to align research and practice. Click here to meet the whole HOUSE research team and our support group.

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Our HOUSE partners