Young people growing up in today’s society are faced with many challenges. Because of digitalization and globalization social worlds are more connected than ever. There are many societal challenges, such as geopolitical tension, polarization and climate changes, but also growing up in poverty and performance pressure. How can young people become the best version of themselves in terms of personal growth, education, friendships, social networks and being part of society?

Thanks to a 10-year Gravitation Program, 19 scientists in the Netherlands took an interdisciplinary science-society initiative to examine optimal conditions for growing up in a complex society, with experts from sociology, psychology, psychiatry, neuroscience and genetics. We aim to understand the role of brain development, social-economic environment and social networks, in developing self-regulation and societal well-being. Ultimately, we aim to understand what children need to become an engaged and contributing member of society.

The scientists of the GUTS consortium are convinced that we can achieve more by collaborating across the borders of our individual disciplines. But we are also different in our approach. Through Living Labs we seek active collaboration with societal partners and through citizen science our participants are also our researchers. This way, we build upon the creativity and strength of the young generation.

Find out more about this project on our project website: