Social Innovation

NWO funding for six Impact Program projects to improve youth resilience

Six projects, coordinated by the Tilburg University Impact Program and aimed to improve youth resilience, have been granted incentive funding (Startimpuls) in the first round of applications for the Dutch National Research Agenda (NWA). The projects come under the ‘Towards Resilient Societies’ Route and are part of the ‘JOIN’ program – ‘youngsters in a resilient society’. The program is carried out by scientific and societal partners.

Our society is facing profound changes and shocks. What is the best possible way to deal with these?  For youngsters, the future generation, this is a crucial question. The JOIN theme program – ‘youngsters in a resilient society’ – develops and tests new instruments that strengthen the participation of (vulnerable) youngsters in society, thereby making society more resilient.

The Tilburg University Impact Program addresses questions arising in society, including those formulated by the National Research Agenda, by joining forces for the improvement of resilience, care, and well-being of individuals and society, for responsible use of data, and for smart solutions in the digital era. To this end, we are deploying expertise from the social, economic, legal, and cultural sciences.
The six NWA projects on youth resilience that the Impact Program contributes to are the following.

Youngsters and the Constitutional State
(Een rechtsstaat van jongeren)
How can the position and participation of youngsters between the ages of 12 and 23 be strengthened, and with that the legitimacy of politics and governance? In this project, we investigate, together with youngsters and societal partners, to what extent youngsters experience the constitutional state as being inclusive for young people, what their expectations and perceptions are of the constitutional state and the legal authorities, and how the inclusivity of the constitutional state can be improved for youngsters.
Project Partners:

  • Tilburg School of Governance, Tilburg University (Prof. Stavros Zouridis) 
  • INTERVICT, International Victimology Institute Tilburg, Tilburg University (dr. Kim Lens)
  • University College Roosevelt, Utrecht University
  • Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS, Prof. Arjen van Witteloostuijn)
  • The Court of Zeeland & West Brabant
  • Public Prosecution Service (Breda)
  • Zeeland & West Brabant Police
  • The Cities of Tilburg, Breda, and Middelburg

All Youngsters in the Picture
(Alle jongeren in beeld)
There is a large group of youngsters that is virtually invisible to government agencies. These youngsters are unemployed, not in training, and not claiming unemployment benefit. Statistics Netherlands (CBS) estimates that the number of youngsters that are under the radar is 134,000 (according to figures from the year 2013). Besides this, municipalities do not have a clear picture of projects or instruments with which these youngsters can be reached and helped. This project involves drawing up an inventory of best practices in the Netherlands and abroad. In addition, ideas to get youngsters involved in society are developed and tested in field labs. The emphasis is on developing game-changing interventions attuned to the way youngsters experience the digital world they are living in.
Project Partners:

  • ReflecT, Tilburg University (Prof. Ton Wilthagen, dr. Irmgard Borghouts)
  • Jheronimus Academy of Data Science (JADS)
  • Jongerenpunt Midden Brabant / Midpoint Brabant – Youth unemployment-free zone
  • The City of Tilburg
  • The City of Eindhoven
  • Buzinezzclub (Eindhoven) 

Youth resilience: Self-insight and engagement
(Veerkracht van jongeren: zelfinzicht en betrokkenheid)
This project investigates how youngsters can be offered support in shaping their position in a society characterized by growing divides along lines of ethnicity and levels of training, causing social distances between groups to emerge. In the project, a resilience self-test is developed together with game specialists, youth workers, and youngsters to make youngsters aware of their individual resilience and public engagement and to strengthen these.
Project Partners include:

  • Tranzo/Youth Academic Collaborative Center (Tilburg University, dr. Jolanda Mathijssen)
  • research and consultancy organization PON
  • social work organization ContourdeTwern/R-Newt
  • Telos (Brabant center for sustainable development)
  • Province of North-Brabant

DELIBERATOR: Youngsters and new forms of democracy
(DELIBERATOR: Jongeren en nieuwe vormen van democratie)
Involving youngsters structurally in long-term political issues in the form of dialogue enhances the resilience of society, because it strengthens the position of youngsters and articulates the sustainability aspects involved in political decisions. To make this possible, the political agenda is linked to the youngsters’ communication landscape using new techniques such as connecting social media channels through Blockchain.
Project Partners include:

  • Wageningen Environmental Research, WUR 
  • Tilburg School of Governance, Tilburg University (Prof. Frank Hendriks)
  • Rathenau Institute
  • Political youth organizations
  • De Stembus, Positief Links, ProDemos

Disabled youngsters, labor force participation, and inclusive organizations
(Jonggehandicapten, arbeidsparticipatie en inclusieve organisaties)
To increase labor force participation of youngsters with disabilities, employers need to be willing and able to make their Human Resources Management policy more inclusive. This project contributes to the co-creation of forms of cooperation between public and private organizations that can promote an inclusive employment practice.
Project Partners:

  • Utrecht University School of Governance (dr. Rik van Berkel and others)
  • Department of Human Resource Studies, Tilburg University (dr. Charissa Freese) 
  • ReflecT: Research Institute for Flexicurity, Labor Market Dynamics and Social Cohesion, Tilburg University (dr. Irmgard Borghouts) 
  • Employers’ and implementation organizations in Utrecht and North-Brabant

EDLs: Co-creating trust-based communities
(EDL’s: Het co-creëren van gemeenschappen gebaseerd op vertrouwen)
Students from senior secondary vocational education (MBO), universities of applied sciences, and research universities together develop Experiential Design Landscapes (EDLs): interactive co-creation and data-gathering field labs at school. Here students can explore, give shape to, and reflect on their (sub)culture. The EDL method, data, and the co-creation process constitute input for research into underlying socio-psychological mechanisms of cohesion, diversity, inclusion, and resilience among youngsters. In addition, new technological aids and environments are developed that enable youngsters to enhance their cohesion, inclusion, and resilience.
Project Partners:

  • Department of Industrial Design, Eindhoven University of Technology (Prof. Caroline Hummels)
  • Department of the Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology
  • Tilburg School of Social and Behavioral Sciences (Tilburg University, dr. Odilia Laceulle; soon to leave Tilburg University for Utrecht University)
  • Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences, Utrecht University
  • FutureMediaLab, the Fontys Media, Interaction and Narration Lectorate
  • Industrial Product Design, Summa College, Eindhoven
  • South-East Brabant Municipal Health Service (GGD), Eindhoven
  • Province of North Brabant

Note to the editors
For more information, please contact press officer Corine Schouten of Tilburg University, tel. 013 – 466 993, e-mail  See also (available in Dutch only)