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Veni grant for Nadine Raaphorst: 'I kept checking whether it was really true'

Nadine Raaphorst, university lecturer at the Institute of Public Administration, has been awarded a Veni-subisidy from science financier NWO. This grant of up to 250,000 euros will enable her to set up her own research in the coming years. Raaphorst's research is about consistent decision-making by judges and civil servants. 'I jumped for joy'.

Raaphorst was having lunch with her boyfriend and daughter when the NWO email came in. ‘It's a standard e-mail, which is also sent to people who don't get the scholarship. So you have to search your file number and only then do you find out whether you have the grant or not. It was nerve-racking. At first I didn't believe it had worked. I kept checking and asked my friend if I had really seen it.’ 

Combining with education

The news is right and Raaphorst is looking forward to getting started with the research. 'I really jumped for joy. Last year I was close to it, then I came to the interview round. So I also know what it feels like to get that e-mail and not get the subsidy'. Raaphorst is going to combine her research with teaching. 'I do want to keep doing that. I still have to discuss when I will start, but that will certainly be in 2021'

Equal treatment

Decision-making is becoming more and more custom work, for example in the social domain such as the Participation Act or the wmo. The Tax and Customs Administration is also taking more and more account of clients' individual circumstances. This means that the discretionary judgement of professionals plays a greater role in decision-making. Raaphorst: 'If you can rely less on rules to provide customised solutions, what does that mean for equal treatment of comparable cases? I want to investigate that. How do executive civil servants and judges view this and what do they do to manage it when they cannot easily fall back on rules?'
 

‘The decisions taken by executive civil servants and judges have such great implications for the host side, the citizens, that I therefore consider this to be an important research topic.’

Decision-making with consequences

The subject fascinates Raaphorst because equal treatment has major implications for citizens. 'The decisions taken by executive civil servants and judges have such great implications for the host side, the citizens, that I therefore consider this to be an important research topic. In particular, I want to look at how they view equal treatment, how they actually define it when they cannot rely on rules. I will then examine what these professionals are doing to manage equal treatment, and how this can be explained'.

This research is not aimed at testing hypotheses, but rather at developing a theory. 'That makes it exciting on the one hand, but I like to go into depth and from there investigate patterns in the views and behaviour of professionals. It makes me enthusiastic and I feel like getting down to work'.
 

Veni - NWO Talent Programme

The Veni is an annual award from NWO. Together with the Vidi and Vici grants, the Vidi is part of the NWO Talent Programme. Veni grants are awarded to promising researchers who have recently obtained their doctorate. NWO thus encourages curiosity-driven and innovative research. In this round 162 researchers have been awarded a Veni.

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