This COST Action aims to understand the interrelationship of disadvantages that young people across Europe face in the process of entering adulthood and how policies can mitigate this negative spill-over effect. Specifically, we are interested in sets of circumstances and factors that prevent young people from:
- finding a decent job;
- starting a family when they want;
- making their voice heard in the policy process.
The scientific challenge that the proposed Action addresses is to build awareness and mutual usability of research findings across research disciplines and societal contexts. This understanding is especially important due to the fact that life domains are interrelated and disadvantages in one domain may cause negative spillover effect in another. Based on transdisciplinary knowledge on disadvantages it is possible to propose relevant policy interventions to tackle such situations and eventually to reduce risk of social exclusion. Focus is on cross-sectoral youth policy and investment approach in social policy that represent two efforts in finding novel solutions to contemporary concerns. Yet the problem is that both are taken for granted as good solutions for youth without further in depth investigation. The Action sees its societal challenge in understanding how the approach to social investment and relevant policy interventions can be applied to young people without bringing about increase in inequality.
This Action will address two research questions:
- What are the circumstances or sets of factors in which the disadvantages of different life- domains tend to spill over and increase the likelihood of social exclusion?
- What are the factors, mechanisms and practices that facilitate reckoning with youth needs and voices in social investment policy?
Research Coordination Objectives
Five research coordination objectives will respond to the Action’s challenge.
- Develop a common trans-disciplinary understanding what the concept of cross-domain and interrelated disadvantage of youth entails
- Identify what national and cross-national knowledge already exists and what new research needs to be implemented in the field of Action
- Identify the problems in using different types of data (national, quantitative, qualitative) in comparative cross-country studies and provide methodologies to overcome them
- Fulfill the gap between youth researchers and political scientists to understand how dominant policy approaches (such as social investment) can better respond to young people’s needs
- Establish dialogue with stakeholders of youth policy (youth organizations, policy makers, and policy administrators, especially data owners) in order to test general and context-specific feasibility of research based policy recommendations.
The Action has six capacity-building objectives.
- Bridge separate disciplines and methodologies to achieve breakthroughs in holistic approach to youth inclusion
- Act as a knowledge hub to foster national research in the area of Action challenges
- Involve Early Career Investigators and researchers from Inclusiveness Target Countries in various roles in the pan-European research network
- Develop a conceptual framework for EU research fund application
- Encourage the sustainability of the network beyond the lifetime of the COST Action via joint publications and conference participation (panels, sessions, etc.)
- Cooperate with non-research partners outside the COST Action by contributing to public policy debates and legislation.
Scientific impacts are:
- Promote interdisciplinary youth research establishing a sustainable network of scientists in research on youth studies in different disciplines. Researchers participating in the Action will benefit from the mutual exchange of knowledge and research skills, specifically in research practices of other disciplines in the field.
- Promote a new generation of young scientists as ECIs and other researchers will increase their knowledge and skills through Actions’ activities. Long-term benefit of the Action will be an increased number of social scientists in different disciplines active in the field of youth transitional disadvantages.
- Improve the data situation in youth research. Geographical spread of the Action network brings attention to existing entities and infrastructures and promotes the use of data and new approaches, and allows for more rigorous comparison techniques.
- Develop innovative methodologies to be used in future research especially in the area of comparative qualitative methods and in comparative mixed methods
- Publications in highly ranked peer-reviewed journals and an edited book authored by Action members will refashion academic debate on youth exclusion, taking it from a single employment focus to a multi-domain approach, which more adequately reflects the disconnected character of the contemporary transition to adulthood.
Socioeconomic impacts are:
- The Action aims to impact positively on strategy and the practice of policy making. This will be achieved through regular and targeted outreach activities expanding Action results to policy makers and youth advocacy groups.
- The short-term impact is envisaged in the form of policy guidelines on developing social investment policy measures that address the cross-domain character of youth disadvantages.
- The long-term impact entails that holistic understanding of youth disadvantages has become a common practice among policy advocates and policy makers.
- Cross-domain thinking is introduced in all policy strategies and action plans that deal with the well-being of young people. Eventually this cross-sectoral approach will help to combat youth exclusion more efficiently.
- Policy makers will be better equipped and able to optimize the allocation of resources
- More enabling environments and effective support systems for youth
- In the end, less youth at risk of social exclusion.