René Bekkers, Ph.D.

Prof. Dr. René H.F.P. Bekkers is the Director of the Center for Philanthropic Studies at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, the Netherlands. He studied sociology and philosophy in Nijmegen and obtained a PhD in Utrecht in 2004, for which he received the 2005 Gabriel Rudney Award for best dissertation from the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA). Since 2013 he is Professor Social Aspects of Prosocial Behavior by special appointment of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) – Van der Gaag Stichting.


Dr. Bekkers research on prosocial behavior takes a multidisciplinary perspective on philanthropy, volunteering, blood donation and helping behavior. Since 2000, he is on the design team of the Giving in the Netherlands Panel Survey. Bekkers is an internationally renowned expert in the sociology and psychology of altruism and survey design and published in international scientific journals in a variety of social science disciplines. His current research focuses on determinants and consequences of health related philanthropy, charitable giving and volunteering.



Twitter:                        @renebekkers


Researcher ID:  



Current position 

‘Extraordinary Professor’ (Bijzonder Hoogleraar) and Director, Center for Philanthropic Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam

Previous positions    

Associate Professor (2010-2012), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam;

Assistant Professor (2003-2010) and Ph.D. candidate (1997-2003), Sociology, Utrecht University


‘Giving and Volunteering in the Netherlands: Psychological and Sociological Perspectives’ (2004; supervisors: Prof. Dr. H.B.G. Ganzeboom, Prof. Dr. N.D. de Graaf)

2005 Gabriel Rudney Award for best dissertation of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA)


Sociology (1997) and Philosophy (1998), University of Nijmegen.

Research productivity

60 international scientific publications (excluding book reviews); 65 scientific publications in Dutch.


Google Scholar: 3,526 H-Index 27; I-10 index 54 (based on 147 publications with citation data).

ISI Web of Science: 473 H-Index 12 (based on 22 publications with citation data).