HIVA – KU Leuven

The research project 'A Lonely Planet' is situated within the research group 'Social and Economic Policy & Social Integration' of HIVA - KU Leuven. This research group carries out innovative research on the themes of poverty and social integration, migration and integration, and the welfare state.

In recent years, this research group has also built up a lot of expertise on loneliness, empowerment and general welfare policy in Flanders. For instance, several research projects were carried out, including the be.Source chair 'Empowerment of Vulnerable Elderly', a project on local elderly participation in the framework of the 'Steunpunt Welzijn' (Welfare Support Centre), 'Volksgezondheid en gezin' (Public Health and Family), and a ZonMw project on the consequences of the restrictive measures by Covid-19 outbreak on loneliness and social needs of residents of residential care centres.

Centre of Expertise Care & Well-being Thomas More

With our applied research, we are committed to a caring society. In our various research projects, we always aim to strengthen the well-being of people with care and support needs and their caregivers.

We work on different themes and different fronts: from loneliness, informal care, new models of care to caregiving neighbourhoods.


The Society and Ageing Research Lab at the 'Vrije Universiteit Brussel' (VUB) conducts research on "ageing well in the right place" and responds to emerging, critical challenges in research, policy and practice around older people and ageing. Current research can be framed within social gerontology with a focus on three research themes: 'social relations and social participation', 'care and caring neighbourhoods', and 'housing and residential environment'. The three research themes are characterised by four common perspectives: importance of the neighbourhood, a life course approach, focus on exclusion, deprivation and inequality, and participatory research frameworks.

Research team members

Prof. dr. Tine Van Regenmortel
Dr. Leen Heylen
Prof. dr. Liesbeth De Donder
Dr. Jasper De Witte
Wouter Schepers
Dorien Gryp
Freya Häussermann

Kristof Heylen
Dr. Sofie Van Regenmortel
Hannelore Stegen
Dr. Lise Switsers

Members of the advisory committee

Vereniging van Vlaamse Steden en Gemeenten (VVSG)

Vlaamse Vereniging voor Ruimtelijke planning (VRP)


Zorgbedrijf Antwerpen

Regionaal Instituut voor Maatschappelijk Opbouwwerk (RIMO) Limburg


Zorgzame straten

Vlaamse Ouderenraad

Vlaams Instituut Voor de Eerste Lijn (VIVEL)

Vlaams Departement van welzijn, Volksgezondheid en Gezin