Icon info
Kirsten Vanderplanken, PhD
VERPLANKEN Kirsten Foto opt

Kirsten Vanderplanken, PhD

Function Senior researcher 'Next Generation Work'


  • Impact of climate change and adaptation on work (including employment, employability, quality of work, wellbeing and productivity)
  • Sustainable and green HRM
  • Competences of the future, including green competences
  • Relations and networks in and between organisations
  • Governance of networks, organisations and policy
  • Organizational learning, personal development and knowledge exchange


    • VIONA project Actuele VIONA-projecten | Vlaanderen.be
    • ESF & Cobot (ESF Transtex, ESF Scope Your Textile Skills)
    • ESF & Taborgroep (ESF CSI, ESF 566 Adaptatievermogen)
    • Stad Antwerpen (Jobs in de grote verbinding)

    Kirsten Vanderplanken obtained her master's in Sociology (UAntwerpen) in 2013 with her thesis on knowledge exchange in social networks in urban agriculture. She won a PhD-scholarship from the Flemish Institute for Research on Agriculture, Fisheries and Food and successfully obtained her PhD in 2017 at the University of Antwerp. Her thesis sought to gain a deeper understanding of how interorganizational networks function and shape integration, both through network structure (relational patterns) and network culture (feelings of belonging, commitment and identification). For this purpose, she developed a qualitative method for social network analysis.

    From the start of her career, sustainability and climate change challenges have been a common thread in her research. Through her work, she aims to strengthen awareness and commitment for improving sustainability and tackling climate change, and for mitigating negative impacts by fostering preparedness. To this extent, she studies the impact of climate change at work with the intention of designing appropriate interventions, for instance which skills do employees require to adapt to a changing climate or how can companies avoid negative climate change impacts on the workability of jobs. Additionally, she studies how networks within and between organizations can contribute to sustainability goals, and how employees and companies can prepare themselves for the future through learning and personal development.

    Currently, Kirsten is involved in several publicly funded research projects. She is supervisor of the VIONA project “A human capital roadmap for the Flemish Climate Adaptation Plan” in which she studies the impact of Flanders’ adaptation policy on employment, employability and quality of work. In this project, specific attention is paid to ensuring this transition is just and inclusive, and no one is left behind. Furthermore, Kirsten is involved in projects on competences of the future in light of the digital and green transformations, on intrapreneurship in the health and social sector, and on the social networks of freelancers.