Dr René Bakker from the department of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship at Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of nine researchers from Erasmus University Rotterdam and Erasmus MC to receive a Vidi grant worth € 800,000 from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). An associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship – with research experience in Europe, the USA and Australia – Dr Bakker will use the grant to develop his own innovative line of research and to set up a research group over the next five years. 

Vidi grants are for experienced researchers who have conducted several years of research after gaining their PhD. The NWO announced on 1 July 2022 that it had given 101 awards that encourage curiosity-driven and innovative research.  

Tons of talent 

Dr Bakker’s research, The odd one out: What we may learn from entrepreneurs with a physical or cognitive impairment, explores the inclusion of individuals with a physical or cognitive disability, which is an important societal concern.  

“We do too little for the inclusion of people with disabilities” he said. “And I want to change that. 

“We often think of disabilities only in terms of their negative consequences. But people with disabilities have tons of talent and potential too. We often seem to forget about that, which is a pity. The grand challenges we currently face together require that we put all talent to use. We can’t have people sit on the side-lines.” 

One area where he sees huge potential is in entrepreneurship. 

“People tend to think of an entrepreneur and see Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos. And those examples are certainly what many aspire to, but the reality is that most entrepreneurs do not look like Zuckerberg or Bezos at all. And that stereotype goes to the detriment of many of the other groups out there that could be great entrepreneurs but feel they may never amount to one. 

Lack of role models 

“I’m going to use smart interventions to try to see if we can mitigate the negative effects of stereotypes in entrepreneurship, and in particular the stereotype that clings to entrepreneur with a disability. People with an impairment could be great entrepreneurs, but many either don’t try or don’t succeed. They lack role models. And yet we know that one of the key success factors for entrepreneurs is persistence. Maybe having had to overcome a disabling disease or impairment breeds the very resilience you need to succeed as an entrepreneur when the going gets tough.” 

Dr Bakker’s research will run a series of experiments – including some in the field – to examine if smart interventions may serve to attenuate the negative stigma that surrounds people with disabilities, and thereby inform the practice and policy of making the Dutch entrepreneurial ecosystem more inclusive to people with disabilities. 

Vidi grants for Erasmus University researchers  

Other Erasmus University researchers benefitting from Vidi grants are: 

  • Dr Janna Cousijn of Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences with Cannabis: the highs and lows for brain health. 

  • Dr Stefan Barakat of the Clinical Genetics department of Erasmus MC with Outside of genes in epilepsy. 

  • Dr Romy Gaillard of the department of Paediatrics at Erasmus MC, Sophia Children’s Hospital with Impact of obesity on the start of life.  

  • Dr Cristina Gontan of the department of Developmental Biology at Erasmus MC for Gender differences in susceptibility to cognitive conditions due to the X-chromosome. 

  • Dr Rebekka Schneider of Erasmus MC for Kidney and blood. 

  • Dr Miao-Ping Chien of the department of Molecular Genetics at Erasmus MC for Sequence the abnormality. 

  • Dr Nitika Taneja, department of Molecular Genetics at Erasmus MC for Targeting chromatin environment around DNA replication fork to destabilize tumor cell proliferation. 

  • Dr Aaron Wong, department of Neuroscience, Erasmus MC Rotterdam for Hearing more than sound. 

Read more about the Vidi grants for researchers at Erasmus University and Erasmus MC here.  

More information

Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) is one of Europe’s top-ranked business schools. RSM provides ground-breaking research and education furthering excellence in all aspects of management and is based in the international port city of Rotterdam – a vital nexus of business, logistics and trade. RSM’s primary focus is on developing business leaders with international careers who can become a force for positive change by carrying their innovative mindset into a sustainable future. Our first-class range of bachelor, master, MBA, PhD and executive programmes encourage them to become critical, creative, caring and collaborative thinkers and doers. www.rsm.nl  

For more information about RSM or this release, please contact Erika Harriford-McLaren, communications manager for RSM, on +31 10 408 2877 or by email at harriford@rsm.nl

Alumni , Bachelor / Bedrijfskunde , Bachelor / IBA , Companies , Faculty & Research , Homepage , In the spotlight , International , Newsroom , Master , MBA , Strategic management and entrepreneurship , China , MiM - Master in Management