September 20, 2023

‘We are going to chart individuals as a part of their complete social network over time. That kind of research is very rare so far,’ explains Berna Güroğlu.

In her Leiden University interview, Güroğlu talks about the focus of her research and explains how she will apply highly innovative methods to study social networks for the GUTS project. Read the full article on the Leiden University website.


About Berna Güroğlu

Berna Güroğlu is professor of the Neuroscience of Social Relations at Leiden University and steering committee of the GUTS program. Güroğlu’s research examines social and cognitive development from a neuroscience perspective, with a special focus on adolescence. She combines measures of social networks with experimental tasks and fMRI methods to examine the neural basis of social behavior and relationships, with a particular on positive (e.g., friendships) and negative (e.g., social exclusion and peer victimization) peer relationships. Güroğlu is the chair of the Dutch Society for Developmental Psychology (VNOP) that unites developmental psychologists from the Netherlands and Belgium.

September 13, 2023

The brain is a fascinating organ that keeps developing over time, influenced by experiences and genes. Eveline Crone and Hilleke Hulshoff Pol both study the brain and its role in development.

In their mirrored interview for magazine New Scientist, Crone and Hulshoff Poll explain what they ideally want to achieve with their research and their most important findings so far. They also share personal matters: Hulshoff Pol’s passion for sculpting and Crone’s work-life balance. 

‘I study how young people can grow up in the best possible way; how their social worlds, such as parents, school, and friends, interact. My staff and I pay attention to a person’s environment and personal characteristics. We are particularly interested in how it is possible that people are sometimes focused on the well-being of others and at other times on their own well-being. How do you balance between these interests? We take into account all kinds of influences from the environment, such as the neighbourhood in which the child grows up, the role of the family, and that of friends. Together, these social worlds influence who the child is’, states Eveline Crone.

In return, Hilleke Hulshoff Pol explains: ‘The biggest breakthrough of our research is that we have proved that genes affect brain growth or shrinkage. We also have evidence that these changes affect how we function, how we develop, how we age, and possibly the development of psychiatric disorders.’

The full article will be published in New Scientist, as part of the magazine’s special issue about the Consortium on Individual Development. The article will appear in September 2023. Read a preview of the interview here.


Eveline Crone is head of the L-CID study. Hilleke Hulshoff Pol is professor at Utrecht University and UMC Utrecht.

Images: New Scientist

August 7, 2023

In her NRC interview, Lucres Nauta-Jansen explains the complexities of addressing adolescent delinquency and the crucial role of understanding each young person’s unique circumstances, including their biological vulnerabilities. ‘Aggressive boys and anxious girls are biologically similar’, states Nauta-Jansen.

Read the full interview on the NRC website.


About Lucres Nauta-Jansen

Lucres Nauta-Jansen is Professor of Translational Forensic Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Amsterdam UMC-VUmc and part of the steering committee of the GUTS program. Lucres’ research focuses on the development of antisocial and delinquent behavior in children and adolescents. Her projects involve studies on antisocial and delinquent adolescents in juvenile justice institutions, closed youth care and other groups of children and adolescents that are (at risk of) getting into contact with the police.

August 3, 2023

Developmental neuroscientist Dr Michelle Achterberg and developmental psychologist Dr Lysanne te Brinke from the Erasmus School of Social and Behavioural Sciences have both been awarded a €280,000 Veni grant from NWO. The Veni is a person-specific scientific grant from NWO for promising scientists.


Dealing with social rejection and the well-being of youth

Dr. Michelle Achterberg (Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies)

‘’Social rejection is one of the most challenging experiences for children and can have long-lasting negative impact on their well-being. Scientists currently do not understand why some children are more affected by social rejection than others. With the data collected in this Veni-project, I will be able to investigate the social development of children for 10 ongoing years (7 to 17 years old). Using brain imaging techniques in combination with daily questions through smartphones, I aim to discover which children are most affected by social rejection, to ultimately determine how we can best facilitate social development of these children.’

Young people as agents of change

Dr. Lysanne te Brinke (Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies) 

”Adolescents who are growing up in the current decade need to deal with several societal challenges, such as increases in social inequalities and climate change. During the developmental period of adolescence, individuals experience a strong need to contribute to these societal challenges. However, little is known about how best to shape this need to contribute. In this project, I examine how adolescents can become agents of change by looking at differences between contributions to close others and contributions to the broader society”

About the Veni grant

Veni, together with the Vidi and Vici grants, is part of the Talent Programme. The NWO Talent Programme gives researchers the freedom to conduct their own research based on creativity and passion. NWO selects researchers based on the scientific quality and innovative nature of the research proposal, the scientific and/or societal impact of the proposed project and the quality of the researcher.

The programme encourages innovation and curiosity. Free research contributes to and prepares us for tomorrow’s society. This is why NWO focuses on a diversity of scientists, domains and backgrounds.

June 13, 2023

Thijs Bol has been appointed professor of Sociology at the University of Amsterdam’s Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences. In particular, he will focus on Social Stratification and Inequality: ‘Sociological theories are my toolbox to better understand inequality’.

Bol has been researching inequality since 2013. He also teaches several courses in the Sociology Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes. The ‘Social Stratification and Inequality’ chair offers him the opportunity to continue his research on inequality, while also contributing to social discourse. ‘For example, when I talk about my research at a birthday, almost everyone thinks it makes sense that people with a university education earn more than those with a senior secondary vocational education diploma. But why is that really the case? why do we think such inequality is the norm?’


Bol’s research has already shown that much inequality arises from processes over which individuals have little control, such as the family they are born into. ‘A lot of inequality is explained as being merit-based: people who have more of something can do more or have worked harder. But my research shows that a significant portion of inequality has nothing to do with that. I think this realisation – that your influence on where you end up is limited – is very important for a more inclusive society,’ said the brand-new professor.

New forms of data

With his chair, Bol will focus mainly on inequality in education, the labour market and science. He wants to gain a better understanding of when inequalities start and how they change over time. Why do children in education not have equal opportunities, and how does this develop? Why will a scientist who has received a grant also receive more funding in the future?

To answer such questions, he will also try to tap new data sources. ‘In my research on inequality, I primarily use large-scale quantitative data. Data from Statistics Netherlands’ (CBS) population registers are extremely valuable here. They are very detailed, which can offer a lot of insight into when inequalities arise and how they change over time.’


About Thijs Bol

Thijs Bol has been an associate professor of Sociology at the UvA since 2017. In 2020, he received a Starting Grant from the European Research Council, with which he and his team have been investigating how labour market inequality changes over the course of careers. Bol is vice president of The Young Academy, a part of the Royal Academy of Sciences, of which he has been a member since 2020.


UvA. (2023, 13 juni). Thijs Bol benoemd tot hoogleraar Sociologie. Geraadpleegd op 7 september 2023, van

October 10, 2022

Loes Keijsers has been appointed full professor Clinical Child and Family Studies at Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR), Department of Psychology, Education, and Child Studies, with effect from 1 November 2020.

Happy and functioning adults are important for a resilient society. The foundation is laid in childhood, among other things in upbringing. But not every child reacts in the same way to his or her social environment. In the coming years, Loes Keijsers will pay attention to the developing child and its environment in her research and education.

For example, she will investigate how each individual child reacts to his or her parents, or to the use of social media. For this she uses new methods, such as measuring emotions and experiences in daily life with smartphones. This is also called Experience Sampling. She translates these scientific insights into practical applications such as eHealth apps, which she does together with young people and other end users. Together with Erasmus MC, she recently launched the GrowIt! app, which supports young people in dealing with negative emotions in daily life during the Corona crisis.

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.’