Prof. Liesbeth De Donder




Liesbeth De Donder is Professor Adult Educational Sciences at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel, where she teaches the courses Community development and participation; Care, ethics and inclusion; Agogical perspectives on social work, and Master thesis seminars.  


Her own PhD research on feelings of unsafety in later life was conducted within the Belgian Ageing Studies research group under the supervision of Dominique Verté. Currently, Liesbeth is director of the Society and Ageing Research Lab where she leads the research programme "Care and caring neighbourhoods".  


Liesbeth was coordinator of several national and European projects such as Wellbeing and Dignity of Older People (WeDO), Detection, Support and Care of Older people: Prevention and Empowerment (D-SCOPE), and the European Social Fund project on Culturally Sensitive Care Ambassadors. In Flanders, she has been pioneering research on Caring Neighbourhoods since 2014. Among other things, she evaluated the very first Active Caring Neighbourhood projects and conducted the evaluation on 35 Caring Neighbourhoods supported by the Fund Dr. Daniël De Coninck. Participatory research is central in her research projects. 


She received the VUB Excellent PhD Supervision Award in 2021 and published more than 100 papers in leading peer-reviewed journals in the fields of gerontology, care, education and social work. 


Liesbeth is member of the Board of  the 'Kenniscentrum Welzijn Wonen Zorg' and is chair of Klasbak vzw.


  • De Donder, L., Smetcoren, A.-S., Schols, J. M.G.A., van der Vorst, A., Dierckx, E., & D-SCOPE consortium (2019). Critical reflections on the blind sides of frailty in later life. Journal of Aging Studies, 49, 66-73. 
  • Berdai-Chaouni, S., Claeys, A., van den Broeke, J., & De Donder, L. (2021). Doing research on the intersection of ethnicity and old age: Key insights from decolonial frameworks. Journal of Aging Studies, 56. 
  • De Donder, L., De Witte, N., Van Regenmortel, S., Dury, S., Dierckx, E., Verté, D. (2018). Risk on elder abuse and mistreatment – Instrument: Development, psychometric properties and qualitative user-evaluation. Educational Gerontology, 44(2-3), 108-118. 
  • De Donder, L., De Witte, N., Verté, D., Dury, S., Buffel, T., Smetcoren A.S, Brosens, D., Verté, E. (2014). Developing Evidence-Based Age-Friendly Policies: A Participatory Research ProjectSage Research Methods Cases.


For a full overview: Pure Databank. 



  • Caring Neighbourhoods 
  • Quality in care and elder abuse and mistreatment 
  • Loneliness and social exclusion 
  • Community-based Participatory Action Research 



Telephone: +32 494 13 68 68