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NWA grant for research on resilient societies

27 October 2022
The project BASICS for Resilience - Building Adaptive, Collaborative, and Inclusive Capacities for Resilient Societies, in which VU Amsterdam is the project coordinator and two of the three subprojects are led by scientists from the Faculty of Social Sciences, has received a grant. In total, this grant amounts to more than 300 thousand euros and is awarded by the Dutch Research Agenda (NWA) small projects, under the Route Towards Resilient Societies.

Three related projects examine the conditions for resilient societies - the BASICS for Resilience - by looking at the institutional barriers to, and effective enablers of, the adaptive, collaborative and inclusive capacity of individuals and institutions. Here, the focus is on Education (undocumented youth), Employment (marginalised labour groups) and Post-crisis care (elderly people).

Joris Rijbroek, director of the Institute for Societal Resilience (research institute for the Faculty of Social Sciences), has been involved in the Route Towards Resilient Societies  from the beginning. Rijbroek: “We are enormously proud that our scientists are receiving this grant. This project fits perfectly with our ambition to increase the societal impact of our research and make this impact visible.”

The first subproject is led by sociologist Tara Fiorito of VU Amsterdam and investigates the inclusion of undocumented youth in the Netherlands. These young people without residence permits grew up (and sometimes were born) in the Netherlands, are entitled to education until the age of 18, but then after the age of 18 they are no longer allowed to continue their studies, work or internships and are no longer entitled to healthcare or social services. The central research question of this project is: what are the different forms of social and institutional exclusion experienced by undocumented children and young people in the Netherlands and how can Dutch society contribute to (and benefit from) the social inclusion and participation of this group?

Fiorito: "It is incredibly valuable that this grant allows me to continue my socially engaged research on the emancipation and inclusion of undocumented youth. This is a topic that has hardly been researched in the Netherlands so far. Through qualitative, creative and participatory research methodologies and the intensive involvement of social partners, I hope this research will not only actually contribute to the inclusion and resilience of these Dutch young people, but also to increasing the inclusive capacity and resilience of our institutions and organisations."

Another subproject is led by visual anthropologist Lianne Cremers, in collaboration with organisational anthropologists Cato Janssen and Kees Boersma (all VU Amsterdam). This project focuses on the institutional resilience and adaptive capacity of nursing homes in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. It builds on ongoing research on nursing homes during the peak of the pandemic. Now, during the recovery phase, the researchers aim to describe, analyse and explain institutional resilience, collective experiences of traumatic events and organizational healing to determine what lessons can be learned from this crisis that will help organisations transform into resilient institutions.

Cremers: “We are very happy to receive this grant. Our research is directed at strengthening the capacity of nursing homes to adapt to the ‘new normal’ in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis. With this support, we can contribute to the understanding on how organizations become resilient in uncertain times and effective crisis response strategies.”

The last subproject is led by Cheng-Yong Xiao from the University of Groningen in collaboration with colleague Eugenia Rosca. This project revolves around collaboration between social enterprises and commercial organisations to develop a more inclusive society.

The Route Towards Resilient Societies is one of the routes of the Dutch Research Agenda. Commissioned by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW), NWO has been implementing the Dutch Research Agenda research programme since 2018.