Tom DecorteTom Decorte

Prof. dr. Tom Decorte Prof. Dr. Tom Decorte (°26/08/1969) obtained a Master's degree in Criminology (Catholic University of Leuven, 1992) and the Qualified Teacher's Degree for Secondary Education (Catholic University of Leuven, 1993). He also studied theatre sciences and obtained the Special Certificate in Social and Cultural Anthropology (Catholic University of Leuven, 1994).
From 1992 to 1998 Tom Decorte was member of the research group Police and Judicial Organization (director: Prof. Dr. Em. Lode Van Outrive), at the Department of Penal Law, Penal Procedure and Criminology at the Catholic University of Leuven. At first he was teaching assistant, and from 1994 to 1995 he was a fulltime research fellow, working on two studies on private policing and fundamental civil rights.
From 1996 to 1998 he worked on an ethnographic study among cocaine users in Antwerp, that would become the basis for his doctoral dissertation in criminology, titled 'Informal control mechanisms among cocaine and crack users in the metropolitan area of Antwerp (Belgium)' (Catholic University of Leuven, 1999). Supervisors were Prof. Dr. Em. Lode van Outrive en Prof. Dr. Joris Casselman. Tom Decorte attended specialized training courses for drug researchers in Zürich (European Addiction Training Institute, 1996) and Aarhus (Nordic Council for Alcohol and Drug Research, 1998).
Since October, 1st 2000 Tom Decorte is appointed professor in the field of criminology, at the Department of Criminology, Penal Law and Social Law of the Faculty of Law, University of Ghent. In September 2002 he founded the Institute for Social Drug Research (ISD), a research group that wants to play a prominent part in the social scientific collection and transfer of knowledge regarding different aspects of the use of drugs, drug trafficking and drug policies from a social scientific perspective and a social commitment. Apart from active participation in European and international networks, professor Decorte often gives lectures on different aspects of the drug phenomenon at national and international conferences, guest lectures at Belgian universities, and presentations in schools and other organizations.
He is currently teaching courses in ‘Qualitative Criminological Methods’ (2nd bachelor), ‘Drug phenomena’ (3rd bachelor, partim), ‘Selected issues: drug policy' (Master, partim), 'Selected Issues: Critical Criminology and the Criminal Justice System I and II' (3rd bachelor and Master) and four courses in the Qualified Teacher's Degree for Secondary Education: ‘Teaching Methodology I’, ‘Teaching Methodology II’, ‘Teaching Methodology: practically-oriented seminars’ and the ‘Work placement’.

Here you can find an overview of his publications in the academic bibliography of UGent. The full-text of the publications is available from 2010 on.


+32 (0)9 264 69 62

Mafalda Pardal

Mafalda Pardal

Mafalda Pardal (°30/09/1987) is a FWO postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute for Social Drug Research (ISD), where she is currently studying whether and how the introduction of a legal cannabis market in Uruguay has affected the illicit market in that region. She obtained a PhD in Criminology at Ghent University in 2018. In recent years, her research has been centered on the study of the phenomenon of Cannabis Social Clubs in Belgium as well as in other European countries. She has been a visiting researcher at the Catholic University of Uruguay (2018). In 2020-21, she co-coordinated a Belspo-funded research project about the non-medical use of prescription drugs among young adults in Belgium (YOUTH-PUMED).

She obtained a PhD in Criminology at Ghent University in 2018, and holds a M.Sc. in Criminology (cum laude) from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), as well as a B.A. in Law from the University of Coimbra (Portugal).

Dr. Mafalda Pardal has taught courses in ‘Qualitative Research Methods for Criminology’ (2nd bachelor) and ‘Selected issues: drug policy’ (Master). She has given guest lectures on drug-related issues in Belgium and abroad.

Currently she is active as a senior analyst at RAND Europe.

Here you can find an overview of her publications in the academic bibliography of UGent. The full-text of the publications is available from 2010 on.


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Frédérique BawinFrédérique Bawin

Frédérique Bawin (°27/11/1992) obtained the degree of Master in Criminological Sciences (UGent) in 2015 with the highest distinction. For her Master's thesis, she conducted exploratory research on environmental justice in Belgium.

From 2015 to 2020, she was active as a doctoral student at the ISD. She prepared a dissertation on the topic of medicinal cannabis. This doctoral research focused on self-reported medicinal cannabis use in Flanders, with a particular focus on user profiles and patterns of use for health reasons. Frédérique successfully defended her PhD thesis on 13 January 2020.

Since 2020, she has been working as a postdoctoral researcher at the ISD. From 2020 to 2021, she worked as a lead researcher on the research project Youth perceptions in recreational or non-medical use of psychoactive medication (YOUTH-PUMED). Since September 2021, she is conducting research on the market and profit analysis of indoor illicit cannabis cultivation and trafficking (MARCANT).

Frédérique is currently appointed as part-time Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Law and Criminology for the fields Qualitative criminological methods and techniques and Selected Issues: Drug Policy.

Here you can find an overview of her publications in the academic bibliography of UGent. The full-text of the publications is available from 2010 on.


+32 (0)9 264 84 51

Charlotte De KockCDK 2019.JPG

Charlotte De Kock (PhD) has been doing research on migration-related research themes for over ten years. Her expertise is in the domain of substance use treatment for these populations and universal drug prevention. She initiated and conducted various (policy-oriented) research projects in this domain (PADUMI 2015-2016, SOCPREV 2017-2018, MATREMI 2019).

Her doctoral dissertation focused on equitable substance use treatment for migrants and ethic minorities, a research area in which she published extensively (see bibliography).

Over the past years, she attracted sustainable funding for the study of this domain via the Flemish Research Foundation (FWO, RECMIB), the Special Research Fund of Ghent University (BOF, ACCESS) (2018-2022) and the Federal Science Policy (MATREMI), in collaboration with Prof. Dr. Decorte, Prof. Dr. Vanderplasschen and Prof. Dr. Van der Laenen. The RECMIB project is carried out by Aline Pouille.

Charlotte is co-chair of the Diversity Committee of the Faculty of Law & Criminology and board member of the European Xchange Prevention Platform (EMCDDA). She collaborates with the European Drug Agency on migration related topics. She conducts external peer reviews for journals such as Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, Tijdschrift voor Cultuur & Crime and serves on the editorial board of Drugs, Habits & Social Policy and Substance Abuse: Research and Treatment.




 Herman WolfHerman Wolf

Herman Wolf (°02/06/1961) obtained a Bachelor’s degree in Dutch, English and History (Pius X, 1985) and a Master’s degree in Criminology (Vrije Universiteit Brussel, 2004). In his dissertation he explored the added value of public and private partnerships for employment projects aimed at people who experience difficulties in finding a job. Furthermore, Wolf is a fiction and non-fiction writer.

Wolf has an extensive experience in the field. Initially, he worked as an executive for the Sleutel vzw and co-developed accessible actions aimed at drug users in Antwerp. In this same period, he functioned as one of the architects of organized outreach work in Flanders and Brussels and as co-founder/coordinator of Vlastrov vzw (Vlaams straakhoekwerk Overleg). For JeS vzw, he afterwards coordinated the startup and activities for the city youth center De Branderij in Borgerhout. Furthermore, he founded Instant A, a public-private employment mediation organization specified for vulnerable groups , of which he acted as director for ten years. In the following period, he held an intermediary position as managing director within adult education.

Currently, Herman Wolf is a teaching-assistant within the Department of Criminology, Criminal Law and Social Law. For several years now, he is also a teacher at the Karel de Grote-hogeschool within the study field of social work.

Relevant criminological creations:

  • SMACK! (theater play, Fakkeltheater Antwerpen (1993), Théâtre de Poche Brussel (1994));
  • Drugs en Gebruik – duidelijke antwoorden op uw vragen (co-author, Icarus/Standaard uitgeverij, 1994, 1995, 1998);
  • Straathoekwerk: een algemene inleiding (Standaard uitgeverij, 1997);
  • Gettoblaster! (co-author, Manteau, 1999);
  • Het spanningsveld bij de aanpak van de criminaliteit in steden: over vertrouwensagenten en straathoekwerkers met een wapenstok (Panopticon, 1999)
  • GHB! (Theater play, Raamtheater Antwerpen, 2005)
  • Mijn land!Mijn land! De Chocoprince van Tsuide (theater play, ’t Arsenaal Mechelen, 2013)


+32 (0)9 264 84 63

Marthe Ongenaert Marthe Ongenaert

Marthe Ongenaert (°07/09/1996) obtained in 2018 a Master’s degree in Criminology (Ghent University) with great distinction. For her master dissertation, she performed a study which explored the informal and illegal employment of asylum seekers in Flanders.

Since 2018, Marthe is active as a teaching assistant at the Department of Criminology, Penal Law and Social Law. She is involved in the courses qualitative research methods and techniques, drug phenomena, drug policy and critical criminology.

She prepares her PhD that focuses on harmful corporate practices within the ermerging legal cannabis industry.


+32 (0)9 264 84 63

Steven DebbautSteven Debbaut

Steven Debbaut obtained a bachelor's degree in social work (Karel de Grote University College, 1996) and a master's degree in Criminological Sciences (University of Ghent, 1999). For his dissertation, he conducted research into religious experiences in the Belgian prison system.

He started his career as a drug counsellor (De Sleutel) and as a supervisor of young people who committed 'offences described as crimes' (Elegast). Thereafter, he focused on Social - Economic Policy: first as director of 'Steunpunt Tewerkstelling' to guide newcomers and low-skilled people to work, and then as director of RESOC Mechelen to stimulate socio - economic development of the region along with social partners and political authorities. As of 2010, he was active at the Karel de Grote University College, he taught, among other things, about social justice and influencing policy in the bachelor program of Social Work and he also drew up a refugee policy for the University College. As of 2014, he combined the activities at the University College with the coordination of 'A School Called Tribe': a music education ('jazz meets hiphop') activity in Ghent and Antwerp which he founded himself.

Activities within ISD

Since February 2019 he is a PhD student at the ISD. He is working on a PhD on the (non-) legitimacy of the state to criminalize drugs and the self-legitimacy of police officers in following up on drug offenses.


Ruben Kramer (°28/08/1989) obtained a Master’s degree in Criminology (Ghent University, 2017) with great distinction. During his master dissertation, he studied the notion of culture among professionals within the Belgium child protection, concerning cases of children with a migrant background in a disturbing parenting situation.

Since December 2017, he operates as scientific assistant at the Institute for Social Drug Research (ISD). Under the supervision of Prof. dr. Tom Decorte, Ruben works on the project ‘Assessment of alternative models of regulation of alcohol marketing in Belgium’ and he is involved in a ‘Comparative analysis of cannabis regulation models in Europe’ and a research project concerning 'Cannabis self regulation in a harm reduction perspective'.

Since September 1st 2019, Ruben is working at the VUB but remains associated with the ISD as a voluntary research fellow.


+32 (0)9 264 84 50

Julie Tieberghien

Julie Tieberghien (°19/12/1984) was a member of the ISD from 2007 until 2017. Since October 1st 2017, she is a voluntary postdoctoral research fellow. Julie is currently working at the VIVES University College.

Julie Tieberghien Julie has a Master's Degree in Criminology (Ghent University, 2006). In her dissertation she explored the manifestation of the phenomenon 'organ trade' on the internet.

Activities within ISD

Between Februari 2007 and August 31th 2007, she worked on a study concerning the development of a community-based drug monitoring system in the city Antwerp. From October, 1st 2007 until November, 30th 2008 she worked on a feasibility study about a recurring survey on drug use in the general population (HARPA). From January 1st until December 31st, she was a half-time teaching assistant at the Department of Penal law and Criminology. During that period, she also worked on a youth monitor in the city of Antwerp (AMYAD). Since January 1st 2009 she was a full-time teaching assistant at the Department of Criminology, Penal Law and Social Law. On August 31th 2015 she successfully defended her Ph.D. entiteld: ‘The intersection between science and policy: the case of the development of Belgian drug policy between 1996 and 2003’. Between October, 1st 2016 and September, 30th 2017, she was a co-lecturer of the course 'Qualitative Criminological Methods’ (2nd bachelor) and a postdoctoral fellow on the project '(Il)legal drugs and social media: framing and agenda-setting through Twitter'

Here you can find an overview of her publications in the academic bibliography of UGent. The full-text of the publications is available from 2010 on.