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How to find us dr. N. (Nina) Hansen

dr. N. Hansen

associate professor

My research centers on the theme of the social psychology of cultural development. I study social, organizational, and cultural change that is caused by modernization in the Global South as well as in the context of migration. In this context, my research focuses on the (often unintended) consequences of aid projects that introduce modern innovations in the Global South such as microfinance, new technologies, novel education initiatives, and energy access. Furthermore, I am interested in how cultural change is influenced by migration. I study how people integrate in new cultures and how intergroup contact between newcomers and host society can be improved, especially in the context of labour market integration. I combine fundamental research with the development of theory-driven interventions and robust monitoring and evaluation designs. I am regularly consulted by different governments and organizations around the world as an expert in theory-driven psychological intervention design and social and economic impact evaluations with broad field experience around the world.

I am currently working on projects in Bangladesh, Ethiopia, China, India, Kenia, Malawi, and the Netherlands. Below you can read a selection of my recent projects:

Realistic tolerance training for employers to work with refugees

Together with Milka Yemane (founder of the Foundation Lemat) and colleagues Liesbet Heyse (organizational sociology) and Marloes Huis (social psychologist) at the RUG, I have developed, implemented, and evaluated the effectiveness of a theory-driven training for Dutch employers to prepare them to hire and work with newcomers across the Netherlands. This training was based on psychological knowledge on a realistic perspective to tolerance and action-based principles of learning. This project was funded by a grant from the Start Impulse of the Dutch Science Agenda (NWA) for Nina Hansen and Liesbet Heyse (90,000 Euros). After 1.5 years, we will start offering trainings again this autumn. This video provides an overview of the training.

Integration despite isolation

In March 2020, the Netherlands went into lockdown and the universities, schools and shops suddenly had to close. A difficult time for everyone; but how were newcomers experiencing this time? Together with a team of students, the organizations ‘Groningen Verwelkomt’ and ‘Heel Groningen helpt’ as well as three Syrian researchers, I conducted research about the situation of newcomers in the Netherlands during the lockdown. In this video and on this website, our team shares their main findings and practical recommendations for societal actors. The most important finding is that integration almost stagnated. It is therefore essential to bring newcomers and Dutch people into contact with each other, because contact is crucial for integration. This project was funded by EASP. 

Kenya Analytical Program on Forced Displacement (KAP-FD)

Together with an international team with colleagues from the World Bank, UNHCR, and UC Berkeley, I am involved in the KAP-FD program in Kenya. This program will produce socioeconomic panel data and implement as well as evaluate two interventions to (1) improve mental health and (2) livelihood activities (focus on entrepreneurship) of refugees and host society members to enhance their socioeconomic opportunities and increase resilience to shocks.

Improving food and nutrition security by enhancing women's empowerment (start December 2021)

Together with an interdisciplinary and international team, I will investigate the ways in which women's empowerment (SDG 5) can influence food security and contribute to reducing hunger (SDG 2) in Bangladesh and Ethiopia. This project will combine different methods ranging from large survey and panel data, conventional economic interventions to qualitative research and newly developed, theory-driven training modules aiming to strengthen the position of women and overcoming traditional gender norms. This project (2 mio. Euros) is one of three proposals that have been funded within the Dutch Science Agenda program funded by the Dutch Science Foundation that aims to provide insight into the interaction between the various Sustainable Development Goals to inform policy makers.

Associated postdocs and PhD students

Dr. Marloes Huis (2018-2019)

Understanding and improving intergroup contact between host society and refugee groups: The impact of cultural distance on outgroup attitudes and intergroup contact
PhD project Katja Albada

Sustainable labor market integration of first generation migrant groups: The quest for the ‘migrant-organization fit’
PhD project Anne Kuschel
In collaboration with the department of sociology (Liesbet Heyse, Rafael Wittek) and the research and training centre dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of sustainable cooperation SCOOP.

Environmental behavior and the role of norms in interdependent cultures in the Global South
PhD project Laura Farage
In collaboration with the environmental psychology at the University of Salzburg, Austria.

The impact of volunteer initiatives for informal language learning on the integration of migrant newcomers (start 10/2021)
PhD project Eline Heikamp
In collaboration with the department of sociology (Liesbet Heyse, Rafael Wittek) and the research and training centre dedicated to the interdisciplinary study of sustainable cooperation SCOOP.

Preventing adolescent depression through a self-compassion intervention: Designing and evaluating its effectiveness within and across cultures (start 09-2021)
PhD project Lexi Zheng


Integrating I and We. Cognitive routes to social identification
PhD project Dr. Ruth van Veelen (cum laude, 2008-2013)

Impact evaluations of financial and social skill trainings in developing countries
PhD project Dr. Suthinee Supanantaroek (2012-2017)

Understanding and encouraging the development of female empowerment through access to microfinance services
PhD project Dr. Marloes Huis (2014-2018)

Solving the cultural paradox of loneliness
PhD project Dr. Luzia Heu (2016-2020)

Last modified:26 September 2021 8.58 p.m.

Contact information


Working hours:
Thursday, 14.00-15.00