Hanne Bakelants


Hanne Bakelants started as a PhD researcher in Social Health Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) in 2020. Her research focuses on the development, implementation, and evaluation of the VUB as a Compassionate University. Through action research and a developmental evaluation approach, she examines the processes and underlying mechanisms of change and aims to identify the opportunities, barriers, and potential for scale-up and spread of Compassionate Communities.  


The research project 'Compassionate University' is a Living Lab of the Compassionate Communities Expertise Centre (COCO). COCO is an interdisciplinary research consortium of 8 research groups that through research and knowledge exchange aims to create a more compassionate society in which communities have the capacity and knowledge to provide care to their members in times of serious illness, death, dying and loss. Hanne is also part of the End-of-Life Care Research Group of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University. Before starting her PhD, she studied Educational Sciences at the KU Leuven (2019) and she obtained a master’s degree in Globalisation and Development Studies at the University of Maastricht (2020).  


  • Bakelants, H., Van Droogenbroeck, F., Chambaere, K., Vanderstichelen, S., De Donder, L., Deliens, L., De Gieter, S., De Moortel, D., Cohen, J., & Dury, S. (2024). A compassionate university for serious illness, death, and bereavement: Qualitative study of student and staff experiences and support needs. Death Studies, 48(5), 442-453.
  • Bakelants H, Vanderstichelen S, Chambaere K, et al. (2022) Researching Compassionate Communities: Identifying theoretical frameworks to evaluate the complex processes behind public health palliative care initiatives. Palliative Medicine.37(2), 291-301. 
  • Vanderstichelen, D., Dury, S., De Gieter, S., Van Droogenbroeck, F., De Moortel, D., Van Hove, L., Rodeyns, J., Aernouts, N., Bakelants, H., Cohen, J., Chambaere, K., Spruyt, B., Zohar, G., Deliens, L., De Donder, L. (2022). Researching compassionate communities from an interdisciplinary perspective: the case of the Compassionate Communities Centre of Expertise (COCO). The Gerontologist. 
  • Bakelants, H. (2020). Diaspora involvement in development cooperation: The case of Belgium and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). (Master’s thesis, Maastricht University). 
  • Vereslst, S., Bakelants, H., Vandevoort,L., Nicaise, I. (2020). The governance of equity funding schemes for disadvantaged schools: Lessons from national case studies. NESET report, Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. doi: 10.2766/989607.


For a full overview: Pure Databank 

Orcid: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4509-7649 


  • Compassionate Communities 
  • Compassionate University 
  • Community development 
  • Serious illness, death, dying and loss 
  • Process evaluation, Implementation Science, Action Research, Developmental Evaluation 


Email: hanne.eline.bakelants@vub.be 

Telephone: +32 474 50 90 53