How can we as a society deal with science and technology in a responsible manner? How do we organize societal dialogue hereon? And how can we increase trust among stakeholders and the general public?
These questions have guided my education and professional life. By now I have quite some experience with examining ethical, legal and societal implications of emerging technologies, as well as designing and moderating (stakeholder) dialogue sessions hereon.
– Current position
Currently I work as a postdoctoral researcher and teacher at the Athena Instituut of the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. I participate in the EU-funded project RETHINK, which deals with innovation in science communication. Furthermore, I teach and coordinate courses relating to science and society, for instance at the Master Forensic Sciences of the UvA.
In addition, I am an external PhD student within the Technology, Innovation and Society group at Eindhoven University of Technology. My PhD research deals with ‘early engagement’ with emerging technologies and reflects on how the Rathenau Instituut (see below) put this concept into practice with regard to synthetic biology. I am being supervised by prof. dr. Geert Verbong and dr. Rinie van Est, my former research coordinator at the Rathenau Instituut.
– Earlier positions
Prior, I worked as a biotechnology policy advisor at the (former) ministry of Infrastructure and Environment. Here my work was related to the modernization of the Dutch biotechnology policy. More specifically I was concerned with stakeholder and public participation herein.
Furthermore, I worked at the Technology Assessment division of the Rathenau Instituut for six years. Here I was concerned with ‘early engagement’ with emerging technologies, such as synthetic biology and stimulating debate hereon – which is also the topic of my PhD thesis. During my time here, I also got experience with several media (TV, Radio and newspapers), and collaborated with artists. For instance, check out the clip of visual artist Floris Kaayk’s ‘Modular Body’ below:,
– My education
I hold Master degrees in Constitutional Law (LLM), as well as in Science and Technology Studies (MA), both from Maastricht University. I was also lucky enough to be selected for the ‘Rijkstraineeship’: the programme of the Dutch government for aspiring policy advisors.
– Some publications
Some of the publications I am particularly proud of are:
Betten A.W.*, V. Rerimassie*, D. Stemerding, J.E.W. Broerse & J.F.H. Kupper (2018) ‘Constructing future scenarios as a tool to foster responsible research and innovation among synthetic biologists’. In: Life Sciences, Society and Policy (14:12)
Van Est R., J. Timmer, L. Kool, N. Nijsingh, V. Rerimassie & D. Stemerding (2016) Rules for the digital human park. Two paradigmatic cases of breeding and taming human beings: Human germline editing and persuasive technology. Background Paper for the 11th Global Summit of National Ethics/Bioethics Committees
I have been playing the guitar for as long as I can remember. Not surprisingly, since almost everyone in my family is making music. If I am not at work, chances are that I’m playing a gig, rehearsing or writing new stuff.
For the last years, my own musical life converges in the band Power to the Pipo. Our motto is: hard grooves and explosive improvisation. We played almost 100 concerts at festivals and clubs all over the Netherlands. We were also lucky enough to be joined on stage by some of my musical heroes, such as Candy and Hans Dulfer, Anton Goudsmit and Eric Vloeimans! Check out some clips here below:
For more music, info and my concert schedule check out: www.powertothepipo.com and Spotify.
– Some of my inspirations
My musical taste is very broad, varying from Allan Holdsworth to D’Angelo and from the Dillinger Escape Plan to my Dutch hero Eefje de Visser. I guess this wide range is also reflected in my own style of playing and composing – not to say that my talent even comes close to these geniuses ^^.
Many thanks to my teachers: my father (and my mom for supporting me in everything), Marcel Coenen and my (former) bandmates, as well as my former guitar students. You have enriched my life.
Next to my work and music, I love to practice Kendo: the art of Japanese fencing. I am not that good at it, but nothing clears my mind as much as kendo does. Moreover, it reminds me to work hard if I want to improve.
Currently, I am second dan (Nidan) and I am the proud chair of Kendo Kai Suzuki in The Hague, our awesome club. More information on www.kendokaisuzuki.com and check out our promo video below:
Last, I am an avid diver. I am PADI rescue diver certificated and logged over 100 dives. Together with my girlfriend – by now my personal divemaster – we explored depths all over the globe. The feeling of being weightless while being surrounded by pristine nature is indescribable. The best way to observe a fish is indeed to become a fish.
At the same time, it is occasionally also a confronting way to witness mankind’s impact on nature. Without a doubt, our most remarkable experience has been with Aquaventure, our home away from home in the south of the Maldives. Below a clip from our first experience.