Dr. Leendert de Bell was appointed professor at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht on 1 September 2019 to promote sustainable labor participation of refugees. Despite the many initiatives that focus on this specific issue, research shows time and again that labor participation of refugees is lagging behind. Better insight is needed into what works and what doesn't, and under what circumstances. And how can we link up existing initiatives in a more clever way, so that jobs can be more customized and do justice to the great diversity in background, education and work experience of refugees. Funding for this position is made possible by University of Applied Sciences Utrecht and the UAF, and is accommodated within the research group Organizing Change in the Public Domain.
Leendert de Bell holds a PhD in international development studies at Utrecht University and has extensive international experience in research and education at various institutions of higher education. He has been working for University of Applied Sciences Utrecht since 2007, where he was responsible, among others, for the Kofi Annan Business School program, which aimed at stimulating productive entrepreneurship in developing countries, and for which —over the years— dozens of full scholarships have been made available to talented, non-privileged students from Africa, Asia and Latin America.
Since 2008, Leendert has also been active as a researcher at University of Applied Sciences Utrecht, initially within the research group International Business and Innovation, and since 2014 within the research group Cooperative Entrepreneurship. As a principal investigator, he was responsible, among others, for the research project —which was funded by the National Directorate for Practice-oriented Research (SIA) — into scaling up the social impact of 20 work-integration social enterprises, aimed at labor participation of people who are at a great distance from the labor market, including many refugees.
Leendert de Bell also works part-time for the Department of Economics at Utrecht University, where he teaches in various Master's programs in the field of entrepreneurship, international business and research skills. In this capacity, Leendert is also involved in the development and implementation of various international training programs for local governments and universities in East Africa and Central America, focusing primarily on entrepreneurship and local economic development. Leendert de Bell has also been directly involved in the development and implementation of the EU-funded project ‘Utrecht Refugee Launchpad’, better known as ‘Plan Einstein’, which aimed at refugees, local residents and other stakeholders living, learning and working together.