(A) Who gives life? Understanding, explaining and predicting donor behavior (ERC-DONORS)

Why do individuals repeatedly help strangers even when this incurs personal costs? Current evidence on prosocial behavior is contradictory, scattered across disciplines, restricted to one-country studies, does not take into account contextual influences, and fails to capture its dynamic nature. An integrated model is needed to increase understanding of prosociality as a societal core value.

The aim of this project is thus to break with monodisciplinary approaches and grasp the dynamic and contextual nature of prosocial behavior. In order to achieve this a life course model is proposed, which links individual determinants, social network characteristics and societal context. The model will be tested in the case of blood donation, as an example of real world prosociality where a stranger is helped at a donor’s personal costs.

The DONORS project is led by Eva-Maria Merz and funded by the European Research Council. Lab members working on this project include PostDoc Ting Li, and PhD candidates Joris Schroeder and Caroline Graf.

DONORS comprises three interlinked work packages:

(1) Dynamic interplay among individual and network determinants of donor behavior over the life course. Learn more!

(2) Genetic determinants of donor behavior. Learn more!

(3) Cross-societal variation in prosociality. Learn more!


(B) Plasma Only Please (POP): Evidence-based evaluation for improving recruitment and retention of plasma-only donors

In September 2020, Sanquin opened its first plasma-only donation center called the Powerbank. In POP, we will perform an evidence-based evaluation of the Powerbank for improving recruitment and retention of plasma-only donors.

This project is funded by Sanquin Blood Supply (PPOC 20-08), carried out by Dr. Marloes Spekman (postdoc) and Dr. Eva-Maria Merz (PI). Learn more!


(C) Social media and blood donor behavior: new ways of effective communication

The main aim of the project is to deploy social media data to derive information about donor experiences and behavior and establish a successful social media strategy for blood centers. Three objectives serve to guide the research aim:

1) Mapping who (actors) communicates what, when and how about blood donation on social media platforms;

2) Linking this information to actual donor behavior;

3) Developing a strategy to influence donor behavior through communication via social media.

This project is funded by Sanquin Blood Supply (PPOC 18-13), carried out by Dr. Steven Ramondt (postdoc) and Dr. Eva-Maria Merz (PI). Learn more!