van der Meer

PhD-Researcher on Public Health history & Policy advisor on responsible research

About me

I am fascinated by the historical interaction between conceptual developments and biomedical practice. During my Bachelor in History at Utrecht University, I explored these interests as an exchange student at the Medical History and Bioethics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As this sparked my fascination for the role biomedical concepts played in immoral medical practices, I specialised in the Dutch history of eugenics, evolutionary theory, and Malthusianism during my MSc in history of science at Utrecht University. These topics motivated me to further explore the history of population health at Oxford University, and write a thesis on the role of biological concepts in interwar Dutch public health debates. Last july, the Dutch Scientific Council (NWO), decided to fund my project “Safeguarding a healthy future: Dutch child health intervention between politics and practice 1901-2020.” This research starts this fall in context of the virbant “Health and history” research group at Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Erasmus Medical Centre.

I am also interested in the historical sociology of late modern science, and in particular, of research funding, academic publishing culture, peer-review, and academic integrity. I deeply care about improving the academic system through interdisciplinary projects fostering a transparent, connected, and trustworthy research culture. Besides my research in Rotterdam, I work as a policy-advisor focused on responsible research at Tilburg University, as lecturer in Open Science at Utrecht University, and as co-founder and chair of the Centre of Trial and Error

Projects, past and present

PhD researcher : Safeguarding a Healthy Future - preventive child health intervention in between politics and practice, 1901-1920, Erasmus University Rotterdam & Erasmus Medical Centre.

Researcher : Faces of Open Science: a sociological analysis of Open Science, Utrecht University

Policy Advisor : research ethics, data management, privacy, academic integrity (ongoing), Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Sciences, Tilburg University

Lecturer (ongoing), Utrecht University.
‘Open Science and sociology of science’ (MSc) 2021
‘History and Sociology of Public Health’ (MSc) 2020
‘Scientific Revolution’ (BSc) 2019 and 2020
‘History of the Social Sciences’ (MSc) 2019

Freelance Journalist (ongoing since 2019), Vrij Nederland. Projects on science, medicine, and society.

Chair and cofounder (ongoing since 2018) : Journal of Trial and Error, International publication platform to publish failed research in a reflective and meaningful manner.

Board member Gewina (ongoing since 2019) : Belgisch Nederlands genootschap voor wetenschaps- en universiteitsgeschiedenis.

Student Editor (2019-2020) : Wonderkamer: tijdschrift voor wetenschapsgeschiedenis.

Chief Editor (2017-2019) : Historisch Tijdschrift Aanzet, Utrecht University.


For Digitaal Universiteitsblad Utrecht University (DUB), Utrecht University’s Magazine

‘Waarom een kerncurriculum helpt bij het bestrijden van de volgende pandemie’, DUB November 2020.

with M.A. Burke, ‘To all graduate students: science is broken and you need to fix it’, DUB August 2020.

Geesteswetenschappers falen aan de lopende band’, DUB January 2020.

with S.M. Gaillard, ‘Wetenschap, wees eens eerlijk over jezelf!’, DUB December 2019.

Other venues

With S. de Knecht, L. Brinkman & F. Miedema, ‘(Re)shaping the academic self: connecting education with open science’, published as white paper:

‘Het vertrouwen in erfelijk alcoholisme’, Wonderkamer: tijdschrift voor wetenschapsgeschiedenis 2.1 (May 2021).

‘Tuberculosevrees: medisch hervormers tussen cultuurpessimisme en maakbaarheid in het interbellum’, Utrecht Student Journal for Young Biomedical Scientists 2.2 (September 2021), in print: forthcomming.

For the Journal of the Trial and Error

with Sean Devine, Max Bautista Perpinyà, Valentine Delrue, Stefan Gaillard, Thomas F.K. Jorna, Martijn van der Meer, Lottricia Millett, Chelsea Pozzebon, and Jobke Visser [equal contribution], ‘Bridging the gap between what is researched and what is published’, Journal of Trial and Error 1.1 (November 2020).

‘Introducing the Journal of Trial and Error to Historians of Science’, Shells and Pebbles, February 2020.

with M. Bautista Perpinyà, S. Galliard, N. Hamman, J. Visser & D. Calveri, [equal contribution] ‘Manifesto for Trial and Error in Science’ on (2019).

Several publications in and with Historisch Tijdschrift Aanzet (HTA)

‘Historici – stop met wenen en kom uw loopgraven uit!, HTA 35.3 (June 2021).

‘De gekke mensen van vroeger: essay-review “Pest en Cholera: een bloedstollende geschiedenis van de geneeskunde”, HTA 35.1 (2020).

‘Geschiedenis, Filosofie én Gezondheidszorg? Review-essay “Basisboek Geschiedenis en Filosofie van de Gezondheidswetenschappen”’, HTA 33.2 (2019).

‘Historici, hedendaagse politiek, en beschuldigingen van 20ste eeuws racisme’, HTA34.3 (2019).

Edited special issue, ‘Themanummer Wetenschapsgeschiedenis’, HTA 33.2 (2019).

‘Medisch Materiaal: een historische interpretatie van patiëntendossiers als bijdrage aan het bio-ethisch debat over objectivering’, HTA 33.3 (2017).

with M. Van der Pluijm, ‘Een pleidooi voor geschiedwetenschap als ambacht’, HTA 32.2 (2016).

For Vrij Nederland

with M.S. Meijer.  ‘Aan ziekte wordt verdiend, aan preventie niet: waarom voorkomen niet altijd beter lijkt dan genezen’, Vrij Nederland 80.10, 2020.

with M.S. Meijer. ‘Flat Earth: Moedig vanuit de Marge’, Vrij Nederland 80.1., 2020.


> ‘From proximal cause to epidemiological unit: conceptualising the eatiology of tuberculosis during the Dutch interwar years’, Early career workshop: What was Epidemiology? The History of an Undisciplined Field (University of Edinburgh, 17.06.2021).

> ‘Doing Good Science in a Compromising Context’, invited speaker: Seminar of Apollo Society for Translational Medicine (U.M.C. Utrecht, 25.06.2021).

> ‘Wetenschap als geïnstitutionaliseerd vertrouwen’, Invited speaker: VeerEvents (UTwente, 18.02.2021).

> ‘We should rethink big-discovery-science’, Material Pioneers symposium III (T.U. Delft, 18.01.2021).

> ‘Success, at last’, International launch of the Journal of Trial and Error (Utrecht, 30.11.2020).

> ‘A Sonderweg of Dutch Public Health? A conceptual history of heredity during the interwar years’, Annual Graduate History Conference (Oxford University, 10.06.2020).

> ‘Malthus on Man: In Animals no Moral Restraint: Social and Environmental Reform around 1900’,  HPS Graduate colloquium (Utrecht University, 23.04.2019).

> ‘History versus Philosophy of Science: How Applied History Requires Bridging Descriptive and Normative Knowledge’, HPS. Peer Seminar (Utrecht University, 26.11.2019).

> with M. Bautista Perpinyà, ‘Back to Bacon and Boyle: what about publishing trial and error?’, keynote address, LMB Graduate Symposium (University of Cambridge, 12.07.2019).

> with S. D. M. Gaillard, ‘Introducing a Journal of Trial and Error’, Gewina Woudschoten Conference for History of Science, Pecha Kucha format (Woudschoten, 22.06.2019).

> ‘What about a Journal of Trial and Error?’, Descartes Colloquium, (Utrecht University, 19.06.2019).

> ‘Academic integrity in the context of systemic change’, Pitch @ Summer Seminar on Research Integrity (VU Amsterdam, 26.08.2021).

This is me in a college residence - preparing my first academic talk at Cambridge. It went well.