Animal Assisted Interventions

New developments, such as the increase in and the demand for Animal Assisted Interventions (AAI), emphasize the importance of a professorship that aims to provide a place for a One Health approach (animal welfare and human welfare) in Dutch practice-oriented research, education and the healthcare system.

The professorship’s objective is:

  • Encouraging and promoting education and practice-oriented research in the field of Animal Assisted Interventions: animal-assisted therapy and guidance; animal-assisted activity; animal-assisted education; and animal-assisted coaching and counselling.
  • Collaboration with and further development of various institutes and organizations in this field, for example with the Open Universiteit; Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, Stichting AAIZOO and the Instituut voor Antrozoölogie, with the objective of further professionalizing this field and achieving quality assurance. In the future, we intend to do the same with other universities of applied sciences, such as Windesheim and Hogeschool Zuid in the fields of Robotics and Virtual Reality.
  • Professionalizing and making more sustainable of the animal-assisted interventions field, and responding to developments in society and the marketplace, for example participation and inclusion.

The professorship’s central question is as follows: How can professionals, in a goal-oriented way, stimulate processes in the development of people using animals, based on the theoretical framework of synchrony/alignment and with consideration of both human and animal welfare? The three themes that the professorship focuses on are:


Development and design of AAI programs with a One Health approach (collaboration between AAI and Human-Animal Interaction (HAI) professorships) and the impact assessments of the various AAI programs, based on the theoretical framework of the synchrony/alignment hypothesis.


Carrying out research on the Virtual Reality approach of AAI, in particular Animal-Assisted Activity (AAA), and also giving attention to Robotics applications in AAI settings.

Setting up a curriculum

Setting up an AAI and HAI (master’s) curriculum.

Connection with education

Contributing to the ‘Therapy’ postgraduate study program in lectures, by deploying animals and by collaborating on various modules in ‘Animal Health and Management’.