René Veenstra (1969), Ph.D., is a Full Professor, Department of Sociology at the University of Groningen, and Director of the Interuniversity Center for Social Science Theory and Methodology (ICS), the Netherlands. His work is focused on the theoretical and empirical elaboration of a social network approach to bullying and victimization and pro- and antisocial behavior.
Veenstra has been Principal Investigator of a personal NWO VICI grant (2015-2021), a fundamental research grant of NWO-PROO on Social networks processes and social development of children and adolescents (2013-2019), and a grant by the Ministry of Education (Onderwijs Bewijs Actieprogramma II) to implement and evaluate the KiVa Antibullying Program in the Netherlands (2010-2015). His grant total is > 6M€ as PI (plus 3.5M€ as co-PI).
Of his PhD students, 18 successfully completed their dissertation and 15 are ongoing. His former PhD students have found academic positions and are at the forefront of their terrain, as is evident from the acceptance of their papers in high-quality journals, grants for which they successfully applied (VENI, Marie Curie), and prizes they received (ISSBD Young Scientist Award, NSV Dissertation Prize, Praemium Erasmianum). More about PhD projects.
He has a strong track record in data collection. He was data manager (2000-2005) and is now a member of the management team of the longitudinal TRAILS project, in which a cohort of preadolescents (born around 1990) has been followed into adulthood. He received three NWO Investment Medium grants for TRAILS. So far, six waves of TRAILS have been completed. Another large data collection that he led was the KiVa project, for which online questionnaire were filled in by 10.000 children in 400 classes in 100 schools.
He was Associate Editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence for the period 2010-2016. He was a visiting professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Turku, Finland (2007-2012). He is an elected member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities. He is a regular speaker at science communication events, including talks about bullying at the Children’s University.
He teaches criminology. In the past he has lectured in policy and interventions, supervised a project called criminality and security (with Intraval) as well as statistics and methodology. He worked as an educational researcher for the OECD. In 1999 he completed his Ph.D. dissertation about achievement and progress of pupils in secondary education (see the summary). In 1994 he received a Master’s in Educational Science and in Educational Theory (cum laude).
The QANU Research Review 2014 evaluated the research program of Sociology, University of Groningen as very good to excellent (4.5 on productivity and viability) and excellent (5.0 on quality and relevance). Since 2014 René Veenstra is Research Director of the Department of Sociology and Director of the ICS.
- UG Blog: ‘Upside Down World – five questions’, April 2020 (PDF)
- Slate: Anti-bullying efforts need to address the stubborn problem of popular bullies, May 2016
- Unifocus: René Veenstra nominated for the Huibregtsen Prize 2015, July 2015
- Unifocus: Looking at Problem Behavior, November 2012
- UG Opinion: Stop the proliferation of anti-bullying programmes, January 2011
- New York Times: Maybe Bullies Just Want to Be Loved, May 2010
- Live Science: Behind Bullying: Why Kids Are So Cruel, April 2010
- WebMD: What Motivates Kids Who Are Bullies?, March 2010
- Telegraph: Bullies Are Looking for Affection, March 2010
- Live Science: Bullies Pick on Unpopular Kids, March 2010
- MagisNet (in Spanish): Estrategias de un matón: acosar sin perder los afectos en clase, June 2010