Martijn van der Meer

Chair and co-founder

I investigate the historical interaction between conceptual developments and biomedical practice. During my Bachelor in History at Utrecht University, I discovered these interests as an exchange student at the Medical History and Bioethics Department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 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. I revised its chapter on the history of Dutch eugenics as an essay titled ‘Sown without care: Dutch eugenicists and their call for optimising developmental conditions, 1919-1939’. For this manuscript I received the Roy Porter Essay prize from the Society for Social History of Medicine in 2022. The piece is currently under review for publication in Social History of Medicine.

In July 2020, the Dutch Scientific Council (NWO) awarded me funding for my project “Safeguarding a healthy future: Dutch child health intervention between politics and practice 1901-2020.” Through the lense of mother milk, vaccines, and forms, I investigate the historical interaction between conceptual boundaries between normal children and those “at risk”, preventive routines, and collective action with respect to population health in the Netherlands. I use this history to understand how social activity increases in scale by shedding some light on the interactive relationship between conceptual change and collective practice. I do this research at the Erasmus University Rotterdam and the Erasmus MC under the fantastic supervision of Ralf Futselaar, Timo Bolt, and Noortje Jacobs. I receive training in Science and Technology Studies at WTMC - the Netherlands Graduate School of Science, Technology, and Modern Culture.

I am also interested in the historical sociology of late modern science, particularly of research funding, academic publishing culture, peer review, academic career structures, and academic integrity. I deeply care about improving the academic system through interdisciplinary projects fostering a robust, diverse, reflexive, and democratic research culture. Besides my research, I work as a policy maker focused on responsible research at Tilburg University and as a policy advisor on academic integrity and knowledge safety at Erasmus MC. I also act as chair of the Centre of Trial and Error, which I co-founded.

Posts by Martijn van der Meer