May 2, 2022

The consortium ‘Growing Up Together in Society (GUTS)’, led by Prof. Eveline Crone of Erasmus University Rotterdam, will receive 22 million euros. Minister Dijkgraaf makes this funding available to scientific consortia that can compete in the world top with groundbreaking research.

The aim of this project is to discover how young people can grow up successfully and contribute to the present and future society. ‛Growing up successfully is a puzzle,’ explains Eveline Crone, Professor of Developmental Neuroscience in Society. ‛Research into brain development in young people is mostly individually focused. But a child does not grow up individually; it is part of systems of family, friends, school and societal norms. That is why it has great added value to connect knowledge about this.’

The consortium of psychologists, sociologists, child psychiatrists and neuroscientists, which also includes the University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Amsterdam UMC, Leiden University, University of Groningen, Utrecht University, Radboudumc and Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, has been working for five years. ‛People think about interdisciplinary cooperation too easily, but you really have to learn to speak each other’s language and trust each other. That is what we have invested in and that is how you get breakthroughs.’

‘Erasmus University is the best place for this’

Crone: ‛We really do this for young people. The corona crisis has taken its toll. It’s not enough to catch up, they have to grow up really successfully and that means more than scores; it’s also about welfare, contributions and involvement in society.’ A unique aspect is the addition of youth panels, young people themselves thinking about what is important for their generation. The research focuses on learning together in education, social networks such as friendships and young people who have been in contact with the law at an early age. Throughout this, there is a focus on social inequality. ‛Erasmus University is the best place for this, this is in the DNA of the university,’ says Crone. ‛I am very fortunate to be able to do this here for the next ten years.’

Research of international top level

The Gravitation programme is implemented by NWO on behalf of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. Seven consortiums were ultimately selected from 40 applications. Researchers can carry out top-level university research and multidisciplinary collaboration for ten years. Minister Robbert Dijkgraaf: ‛For top-level international research, peace and quiet are essential. With this major boost we are offering long-term prospects and adequate funding to collaborating excellent research groups. Researchers from these scientific consortia, who are among the world’s best in their field, can use Gravitation to work on groundbreaking research.’