The Rob Giel Research center (RGOc)

The Rob Giel Research center (RGOc) is a joint venture of the mental health organizations Lentis, GGZ Drenthe, GGZ Friesland, Dimence Group, Mediant and the University Center Psychiatry of the University Medical Center Groningen. From the start in December 2000 the center is operating as part of the University Center Psychiatry of University Medical Center Groningen, where it is also situated.

The research center was named after Rob Giel, the emeritus professor` of psychiatry. Giel stimulated the psychiatric-epidemiological research in the Netherlands from 1969 till 1995. His involvement and interest are the source of inspiration for the researchers of the Rob Giel Research center.

Research programme and collaboration

Research programme

The RGOc aims to develop clinical research in three core directions; psychotic disorders, affective and anxiety disorders and geriatric psychiatry. Other key research areas are eHealth and cost-effectiveness. All the research data is innovatively collected, stored and processed within the RGOc-datawarehouse. There is a consultant available for your individual research question(s).


In the coming years, one of the aims is to improve the cohesion between purely scientific and patient-bound research, for example in the form of linkage by research themes. Also more specific research designs (that are developed by the innovation laboratory of the University Centre of Psychiatry) can lead the way to meet our objectives. Moreover, the RGOc actively stimulates collaboration between the research groups of local mental health institutions. In this way, research concerning patientcare, epidemiology and clinical trials will become more (cost) efficient. The best possible utilization of ROM-data and the PCR-NN will contribute to answering questions about this cost-effectiveness regarding a wide range of interventions used in mental health care.

Networks within the RGOc-region

The RGOc defined several networks targeting the diverse research themes. Those networks consists of (clinical) researchers and therapists from the participating mental health institutions. It started with the network psychotic disorders and from there several new networks were developed: the network affective and anxiety disorders and the network geriatric psychiatry. The research field forensic psychiatry is accommodated within one of the core networks. The RGOc networks collaborate to generate novel ideas and to set up mutual scientific studies. Priority is to promote the exchange of knowledge and the cooperation between mental health institutions in the region. All of this will lead to an improvement of mental healthcare protocols.

For longitudinal studies within one of these networks, large scale naturalistic cohorts can be used like NESDA, NESDO, MOPHAR, GROUP or PHAMOUS. The intervention studies that are developed within the networks will stimulate close collaboration between mental health institutions.

In 2015 the number of ongoing research projects amounted to over 60, half of which involve patients with schizophrenia or psychosis, whereas the other projects concern patients with depression, anxiety, personality disorders, and other diagnoses.


The Rob Giel Research center is collaborating with both national and international health organizations such as

  • The Dutch Schizophrenia Expert Center Phrenos. This centre was founded in 2002 aiming to contribute to the development and diffusion of knowledge on schizophrenia. Mental health care organizations in Groningen, Assen and the Hague are collaborating in this centre. In 2010 Phrenos merged with the Dutch Expert Center of Rehabilitation.
  • The Trimbos Institute, which is the Dutch knowledge institute for mental health care, addiction and social work. It is their aim to develop knowledge on mental health and apply it to mental health care, addiction care and social work policy and practice. Several research projects on psychiatric rehabilitation, such as a randomized controlled trial on Individual Rehabilitation, are performed by researchers from the Trimbos Institute and the Rob Giel Research centre together.
  • The GROUP study (Genitic Risk and OUtcome in Psychosis), which is part of the Geestkracht programme of ZonMw and focuses on vulnerability and resilience in first-onset psychosis. Geestkracht is a major Dutch mental health research programme in which several universities and mental health care institutes participate to study early psychosis (GROUP), the development of psychopathology in children and adolescents (TRAILS) and the long-term course of depression and anxiety disorders (NESDA). These 10-year studies are initialized and financed by the Dutch government with the aim to enhance the infrastructure for research on anxiety, depression, psychosis and developmental disorders and to stimulate collaboration between the universities and the regional mental health services.
  • EU-GEI: The European network of national schizophrenia networks studying Gene-Environment Interactions is a large European project, in which the RGOc is participating through the GROUP study.
  • CAT: In the Cognitive Adaptation Training there is collaboration with Dawn Velligan, PhD (University of Texas, Department of Psychiatry, Health Science Center). CAT aims to reduce the negative consequences of cognitive disorders on daily functioning, depending on the objective of the client. Especially impairment of executive functioning is neutralized by means of environmental aids and compensation strategies. In a pilot study of Piotr Quee, PhD was found that CAT could lead to an improvement in daily functioning, quality of life, motivation and medication-intake. A randomized multicenter study started in 2013. In 2016 started an implementation study regarding CAT. The development function was transferred from RGOc to the department Long-term Rehabilitation of Lentis. This department is also a trainingscentre and works in close collaboration with groups in the USA, Canada and Finland.
  • Phrenos: Many RGOc institutions are members of Phrenos, the knowledge center that aims to promote the personal recovery and social participation of people with psychotic or other serious and long-term disorders. Wherever possible, there is cooperation in the field of in-service training and research, such as the joint research into CAT, the validation of the iROC and the finalization of the ZONMW project into the cost-effectiveness of the Individual Rehabilitation Approach (CEA) in collaboration with Altrecht GGZ. (Dr. W. Swildens).
  • DISCoVR:Individuals with psychotic disorders are more likely to become a victim of violence. Based on prevalence rates for different types of victimization and associated risk factors, a psychomotor defensiveness training with kickboxing exercises has been developed. The effects of the intervention are being studied using questionnaires and fMRI in both a pilot, a randomized clinical trial and a follow-up study.
    The effectiveness of DiSCoVR is currently being investigated in a randomized controlled trial by comparing it with a virtual reality relaxation therapy (VRelax). In addition to the RGOc institutions UCP (UMCG) and GGZ Drenthe, GGZ Delfland and De Zeeuwse Gronden participate in this study.
  • BeatVic: Individuals with psychotic disorders are more likely to become a victim of violence. Based on prevalence rates for different types of victimization and associated risk factors, a psychomotor defensiveness training with kickboxing exercises has been developed.
    The effects of the intervention are being studied using questionnaires and fMRI in both a pilot, a randomized clinical trial and a follow-up study. The results of BEATVIC have been analyzed and the first articles have been published.
  • And many more, see our annual reports (in Dutch).

For an overview of all research projects of the Rob Giel Research center please click here.


The Rob Giel Research center is led by Dr. Frederike Jörg since April 2022. She is the successor of prof.dr. Richard Bruggeman, who is the successor of prof.dr. Durk Wiersma, who was one of the founders of the Rob Giel Research center. A multi-disciplinary group of 90 staff members, from the Department of Psychiatry as well as from the mental health organizations and consisting of senior and junior researchers, research assistants, physician-researchers and general support personnel including data specialists, are working on the research projects. Medical technology assessment specialists from the University Hospital participate in healthcare efficacy and (cost) effectiveness research and implementation programmes.

  • Dr. F. (Frederike) Jörg, programme leader
  • M. (Meike) Bak, coordinator service user involvement
  • S. (Shiral) Gangadin, coordinator psychoses
  • Dr. R.H.S. (Rob) van den Brink, PhD, senior researcher
  • Dr. J.T. (Jooske) van Busschback, PhD, senior researcher
  • Dr. J.A.J. (Lian) van der Krieke, PhD, researcher, coordinator E-health
  • Dr. E.J. (Edith) Liemburg, PhD, researcher
  • H. (Riëtte) Conijn, communications officer
  • Drs. E. (Erwin) Veermans – database manager and project leader RoQua
  • Dr. E. (Ellen) Visser, PhD, senior researcher
  • Maarten Brilman, data manager

Address: Hanzeplein 1 (Triade Building, entrance 24), Groningen, the Netherlands
Postal address: University Medical Center Groningen, Rob Giel Research center, University Center for Psychiatry (CC72), P.O. Box 30.001, 9700 RB Groningen, the Netherlands
Telephone: +31 50 361 20 79
Fax: +31 50 361 97 22
E-mail: to contact us by e-mail, please complete and submit this form.

Click here for the directions to the RGOc.