Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 4

Search results for: Joris Zufferey

4 Exposure to Natural Outdoor Environment and Positive Health Impacts: A Synthesis of Empirical Research

Authors: Joris Zufferey, Roderick John Lawrence


This paper provides an overview of the state of the art about the positive health impacts of exposure to natural outdoor environments. It presents the results of a “review of reviews” in terms of empirical evidence and identifies some key questions. Finally, the authors stress the need to develop more interdisciplinary and systemic contributions. This synthesis of empirical research has been done as part of the EU- FP7 PHENOTYPE research project.

Keywords: Exposure, environment, phenotype, salutogenic effects

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3 SMART: Solution Methods with Ants Running by Types

Authors: Nicolas Zufferey


Ant algorithms are well-known metaheuristics which have been widely used since two decades. In most of the literature, an ant is a constructive heuristic able to build a solution from scratch. However, other types of ant algorithms have recently emerged: the discussion is thus not limited by the common framework of the constructive ant algorithms. Generally, at each generation of an ant algorithm, each ant builds a solution step by step by adding an element to it. Each choice is based on the greedy force (also called the visibility, the short term profit or the heuristic information) and the trail system (central memory which collects historical information of the search process). Usually, all the ants of the population have the same characteristics and behaviors. In contrast in this paper, a new type of ant metaheuristic is proposed, namely SMART (for Solution Methods with Ants Running by Types). It relies on the use of different population of ants, where each population has its own personality.

Keywords: ant algorithms, evolutionary procedures, metaheuristics, optimization, population-based methods

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2 The Role and Effects of Communication on Occupational Safety: A Review

Authors: Pieter A. Cornelissen, Joris J. Van Hoof


The interest in improving occupational safety started almost simultaneously with the beginning of the Industrial Revolution. Yet, it was not until the late 1970’s before the role of communication was considered in scientific research regarding occupational safety. In recent years the importance of communication as a means to improve occupational safety has increased. Not only as communication might have a direct effect on safety performance and safety outcomes, but also as it can be viewed as a major component of other important safety-related elements (e.g., training, safety meetings, leadership). And while safety communication is an increasingly important topic in research, its operationalization is often vague and differs among studies. This is not only problematic when comparing results, but also in applying these results to practice and the work floor. By means of an in-depth analysis—building on an existing dataset—this review aims to overcome these problems. The initial database search yielded 25.527 articles, which was reduced to a research corpus of 176 articles. Focusing on the 37 articles of this corpus that addressed communication (related to safety outcomes and safety performance), the current study will provide a comprehensive overview of the role and effects of safety communication and outlines the conditions under which communication contributes to a safer work environment. The study shows that in literature a distinction is commonly made between safety communication (i.e., the exchange or dissemination of safety-related information) and feedback (i.e. a reactive form of communication). And although there is a consensus among researchers that both communication and feedback positively affect safety performance, there is a debate about the directness of this relationship. Whereas some researchers assume a direct relationship between safety communication and safety performance, others state that this relationship is mediated by safety climate. One of the key findings is that despite the strongly present view that safety communication is a formal and top-down safety management tool, researchers stress the importance of open communication that encourages and allows employees to express their worries, experiences, views, and share information. This raises questions with regard to other directions (e.g., bottom-up, horizontal) and forms of communication (e.g., informal). The current review proposes a framework to overcome the often vague and different operationalizations of safety communication. The proposed framework can be used to characterize safety communication in terms of stakeholders, direction, and characteristics of communication (e.g., medium usage).

Keywords: communication, feedback, occupational safety, review

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1 Schooling Competent Citizens: A Normative Analysis of Citizenship Education Policy in Europe

Authors: M. Joris, O. Agirdag


For over two decades, calls for citizenship education (CE) have been rising to the top of educational policy agendas in Europe. The main motive for the current treatment of CE as a key topic is a sense of crisis: social and political threats that go beyond the reach of nations and require action at the international and European level. On the one hand, this context has triggered abundant attention to the promotion of citizenship through education. On the other hand, the ubiquity of citizenship and education in policy language is paired with a self-evident manner of using the concepts: the more we call for citizenship in and through education, the less the concepts seem to be made explicit or be defined. Research and reflection on the normativity of the concepts of citizenship and CE in Europe are scarce. Departing from the idea that policies are always normative, this study, therefore, investigates the normativity of the current concepts of citizenship and education, in ’key’ European CE policy texts. The study consists of a content analysis of these texts, based on a normative framework developed around the different dimensions of citizenship as status, identity, virtues and agency. The framework also describes the purposes of education and its learning processes, content and practices, based on the assumption that good education always includes, next to qualification and socialisation, a purpose of emancipation: of helping young people become autonomous and independent subjects. The analysis shows how contemporary European citizenship is conceptualised around the dimension of competences. This focus on competences is also visible in the normative framing of education and its relationship to citizenship in the texts: CE should help young people learn how to become good citizens by acquiring a toolkit of competences, consisting of knowledge, skills, values and attitudes that can be predetermined, measured and evaluated. This ideal of citizenship-as-competence entails a focus on the educational purposes of socialisation and qualification. Current policy texts thus seem to leave out the educational purpose of emancipating young people, allowing them to take on citizenship as something to which they can determine their own relation and position. It is, however, this purpose of CE that seems increasingly important in our current context. Young people are stepping out of school and onto the streets by the thousands in Belgium and throughout Europe, protesting for more and better environmental policies. They are making use of existing modes of citizenship, exactly to indicate to policymakers how these are falling short and are claiming their right and entitlement to a future that established practices of politics are putting at risk. The importance of citizenship education might then lie, now more than ever, not in the fact that it would prepare young people for competent citizenship, but in offering them a possibility, an emancipatory experience of being able to do something new. It seems that this is what we might want to expect from the school if we want it to educate our truly future citizens.

Keywords: citizenship education, normativity, policy, purposes of education

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