Associate Professor René Bakker of Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University (RSM) has been appointed as member of the Young Erasmus Academy, a network of young talented researchers. With his research on the economic inclusion of people living with an impairment, he shows that business, governments and society need to unlock more talent.

The Young Erasmus Academy (YEA) is a network of young scientists that was founded at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) in 2013. It aims to promote interdisciplinary collaboration, and advises Erasmus University Rotterdam’s Executive Board on policy matters and how the University can strengthen its profile in the public domain. YEA members represent a broad spectrum of scientific and scholarly disciplines and work at Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Inclusive business and entrepreneurship

Dr René Bakker’s research, teaching and impact work focus on inclusion of people with disabilities and inclusive business and entrepreneurship. He says that while people with disabilities represent the world’s biggest minority, many are still sitting at the side lines because they are being excluded from large parts of the economy worldwide. “Business is failing to unlock the economic potential of millions of people while society desperately needs everyone who can to participate in the economy and help tackle huge global challenges from climate change, the transition to sustainable energy to eliminating poverty,” he says.

With his research, Dr Bakker attempts to generate awareness of these issues, uncover new pathways for inclusion, and find interventions that can help overcome obstacles. He says: “My YEA membership will strengthen my network of fellow excellent researchers and develop interdisciplinary partnerships, to be more present in the public domain, and to help form policy particularly regarding the inclusion of people living with an impairment.”

Dr Bakker plans to actively contribute to the YEA by advising the EUR on its disability inclusion strategy for staff and students. He also hopes to develop a TED Talk discussing the economic inclusion of people living with an impairment. And, the associate professor plans to develop a course targeted at differently-abled entrepreneurs that addresses their particular needs, opportunities and obstacles and helps them succeed. Dr Bakker recently obtained an NWO Vidi grant to develop an integrative platform around inclusive entrepreneurship, particularly targeted at promoting the inclusion of the differently-abled.

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.

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

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