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 the 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). He is a member of the steering committee of GUTS (Growing Up Together in Society), funded by the Ministry of Science with 22 million euros. This 10-year program (2023-2032) has the ambition to examine optimal opportunities for young people, both for themselves and for the current and future society. His grant total is > 6M€ as PI (plus 30M€ as co-PI).

Ph.D. Supervision

Of his Ph.D. students, 26 successfully completed their dissertations and 11 are ongoing. His former Ph.D. students and postdocs 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 (ERC Consolidator, ERC Starting, VENI, Marie Curie, Rubicon), and prizes they received (ISSBD Young Scientist Award, NSV Dissertation Prize, Praemium Erasmianum, EARA Young Scholar Award, Alberti Center Early Career Award). More about Ph.D. projects.

Data collection

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, seven waves of TRAILS have been completed. Another large data collection that he led was the KiVa project, for which online questionnaires were filled in by 10.000 children in 400 classes in 100 schools.


He is an elected member of the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities and an elected fellow of the International Society for the Study of Behavioral Development. He was a visiting professor at the Department of Psychology at the University of Turku, Finland (2007-2012). He was Associate Editor of the Journal of Research on Adolescence for the period 2010-2016.


He teaches criminology and primary social order. In the past, he has lectured on policy and interventions, and supervised a project called criminality and security (with Intraval) as well as statistics and methodology. He is a regular speaker at science communication events, including talks about bullying at the Children’s University.


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 a Research Director of the Department of Sociology and Director of the ICS. 

International Media

Biography in Dutch