End-of-Life Care Research Group

Presentation of unit 

The End-of-Life Care Research Group is a multidisciplinary research team with a good mix of clinical staff and social scientists. The End-of-Life Care Research Group aims to conduct high-quality scientific research in palliative care and end-of-life care in Belgium, Europe and beyond. Researchers with various scientific backgrounds work in a common structure to facilitate interdisciplinary collaborative research.

The team was established in the mid-nineties as a collaboration between researchers of the Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB) and Ghent University and the first PhD student graduated in 2005. In 2010, the research team became one of the first alliance research groups between Ghent University and the VUB in Brussels. Ever since, the research team has grown substantially (dd January 2023 > 65 staff people). 

The team at Ghent University is managed by prof dr Luc Deliens (Director), sociologist, prof dr Freddy Mortier (Co-Director), ethicist. Recently, the leadership was strengthened with prof dr Kenneth Chambaere, the interdisciplinary Chair of Public Health, Sociology & Ethics of the End of Life. 


Research is organized along three research programs, each with research coordination, postdoc researchers and junior researchers or PhD students:

  • Public Health & Palliative Care: place of death, preventable hospitalizations, euthanasia and other end-of-life decisions, compassionate communities, etc. (prof Joachim Cohen, PhD, & prof Kenneth Chambaere, PhD)
  • Palliative Care for People with Cancer: early palliative care, PC needs of oncology patients, integration in oncology, advance care planning (ACP) for children with cancer, etc. (dr Kim Beernaert, PhD, & dr Sigrid Dierickx, PhD)
  • Ageing and Palliative Care: palliative care in nursing homes, ACP for people with dementia, care pathway at the end of life in geriatrics, etc. (prof Lieve Van den Block, PhD, & prof Tinne Smets, PhD)

Main activities

  • supervising research of PhD and MA students
  • participating in and leading on many national and international research projects
  • achieving maximum professional and societal dissemination of research findings (through e.g. scientific publication, conferences, readers, policy reports, education for professional organizations)
  • improving palliative care practice through implementation of health care innovations, changes in national policies and institutional policies, education and training

Overview publications

List of most important projects

The team coordinated in the last 10 years four major national interuniversity consortium grants of over 2 à 3 M euro each (IWT/FWO SBO projects):

  • FLIECE (VUB-UG-KUL), 2011-2015, FLanders Improving End-of-life Care and Evaluation
  • INTEGRATE (VUB-UG-KUL), 2015-2019, Integration of palliative care into home, nursing home and hospital care and into the community
  • CAPACITY (VUB-UG-KUL), 2019-2023, Flanders project to develop capacity in palliative care across society.

The team coordinated or participated in the last 10 years in the following EU funded projects:

  • EURO IMPACT (coordination), EU FP7, 2010-2015, European Intersectorial and Multi-disciplinary Palliative Care Research Training;
  • PACE (coordination), EU FP7, 2014-2019, Comparing the effectiveness of palliative care for elderly people in long term care facilities in Europe;
  • ACTION (participation), EU FP7, 2013-2018, Advance Care Planning; an Innovative Palliative Care Intervention to Improve Quality of Life in Cancer Patients- a Multi-Centre Cluster RCT;
  • INDUCT (participation), Horizon2020, 2016-2020, Interdisciplinary Network for Dementia Utilising Current Technology;
  • DIAdIC (coordination), Horizon2020, 2019-2023, Evaluation of Dyadic Psychosocial and Educational Interventions for People with Advanced Cancer and their Informal Caregivers: An International Randomized Controlled Trial.
  • EU NAVIGATE (participation), EU Horizon Europe, 2022-2027, Navigation intervention for older people with cancer and their families
  • EU MyPath (participation), EU Horizon Europe, 2022-2027, Developing and implementing innovative Patient-Centred Care Pathways for cancer patients

View all our projects here

Alliance research group

The alliance research group is led by director prof. dr. Luc Deliens and co-director prof. dr. Freddy Mortier.

Please find below the list with core senior researchers from the department of Public Health and Primary Care, Ghent University.

  • prof Luc Deliens, PhD, director, professor of palliative care research
  • prof dr Kim Beernaert, PhD, experimental psychology, coordinator Cancer and Palliative Care (FWO postdoc fellowship)
  • prof Kenneth Chambaere, PhD, sociology, tenure track assistant professor, co-coordinator Public health & Palliative Care
  • dr Sigrid Dierickx, PhD, sociology, postdoc researcher (EU, FWO-SBO)
  • dr Naomi Dhollander, PhD, clinical psychology, postdoc researcher (FWO-SBO)
  • dr Steven Vanderstichelen, PhD, sociology, postdoc researcher (KOTK)
  • dr. Joni Gilissen, PhD, Social Work and Social Policy, postdoc researcher (EU/FWO)
  • dr. Laure Dombrecht, PhD, Psychology, postdoc researcher (FWO)
  • dr. Anne-Lore Scherrens, PhD, Health Education and Health Promotion (EU)

Full team overview

Most important international partnerships

  • European Association for Palliative Care (EAPC) Research Network
  • EAPC Reference Group on Public Health and Palliative Care
  • EAPC Reference Group on Aging and Palliative Care

External website


Contact data

Prof. Dr. Luc Deliens

Geertje van Duijnhoven, management assistent

UZ Gent campus, 6K3

+32 (0)9 332 07 76 (Gent)

+32 (0)2 477 4 57 (Brussel)