Prof Dr Rob Ruiter (R.A.C.)
Since 2016, I hold the chair of Health and Social Psychology in the Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience at Maastricht University. This was preceded by an endowed chair in Applied Social Psychology with a special interest in the use of methods from the cognitive neurosciences in 2012. I obtained a Ph.D. degree in Psychology in 2000, preceded by a Master's degree in Public Health in 1995 with specializations in Health Education and Health Policy and Management, all at Maastricht University.
My core research and teaching interests are within the systematic development, implementation and evaluation of theory- and evidence-based behavior change interventions, with a special interest in the application of psychological theory to understand and provide solutions for societally relevant problematic human behavior in the domains of health, environment, and safety. Since 2006, 31 Ph.D. candidates have graduated under my supervision. Currently, I am the promotor of 19 Ph.D. candidates, mostly external candidates from Sub-Saharan Africa. I am the (co-)author of more than 200 articles in international peer-reviewed journals (see publications), among which some high-impact publications (see citations), and several book chapters and national publications. I am a co-author of Intervention Mapping, a globally applied protocol for the planned design of behavior change interventions by using theoretical and empirical evidence, including the participation of stakeholders, program implementers and target population, and adopting a social-ecological approach.
The research projects that I am involved in use both laboratory-based research methods including non-invasive measures of brain activation (EEG/ERP, fMRI) and unobtrusive behavioral measures (eye movement, virtual reality observations) as well as quantitative and qualitative research methods in applied settings including surveys and in-depth interviews. I have been a student, Ph.D. candidate and scientific staff member at Maastricht University. In these roles, I have always taken a strong interest in teaching, next to my research activities, at the Bachelor but mainly at the Master and Ph.D. level, preferably in small groups and one-to-one contexts. Currently, I am a member of the faculty board in the role of vice-dean of education. In this role, I have taken a special interest in the revitalizing of the problem-based learning teaching method that is at the core of Maastricht University’s teaching programs.
In sum, I came to Maastricht to study Health Sciences never with the intention to stay, but from the start, I continuously was able to develop myself as a person, teacher, researcher and most recently in the role of manager. A journey that I look forward to continuing for a while.
Professional career history
2019 - current Professor of Health and Social Psychology at the Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University
2016 - 2019 Professor of Applied Social Psychology at the Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University
2012 – 2016 Professor of Applied Psychology (endowed chair) at the Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University.
2012 – 2017 Head of Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University.
2008 – 2016 Associate Professor Applied Psychology at the Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University.
2008 – 2015 Guest lecturer, Hasselt University, Department of Traffic Science, Hasselt, Belgium
2002 – 2008 Assistant Professor (tenure) at the Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University.
2001 – 2012 Visiting research fellow, Medical Research Council, National Health Promotion Research and Development Unit, Cape Town, South Africa.
1999 – 2002 Assistant Professor (tenure track) at the Department of Work and Social Psychology, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University.
1995 – 1999 PhD student, Maastricht University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Health Education and Health Promotion. Thesis: Scary warnings and rational precautions: A study into fear arousal and its contribution to precautionary motivation. Defence date: December 15, 2000. Promotores: prof. dr. Gerjo Kok (Maastricht University) and prof. dr. Bas Verplanken (University of Tromsø, Norway).