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Psychologists Giuliana Spadaro & Els van der Ven receive NWO Open Competition XS

6 July 2023
61 promising research projects launched with Open Competition SSH XS funding

The allocations of round 4 of the Open Competition SSH-XS pilot program (Social Sciences and Humanities) are a fact. The 61 researchers will start with a promising idea or an innovative and risky initiative. So there is plenty of room for experimentation and innovation. What is striking about this round is that many projects are about youth-related research.

AI techniques in meta-analyses
Giuliana Spadaro is starting a project to use modern AI techniques to create "living meta-analyses" that are automatically built and updated from the underlying data and can be consulted on demand. Meta-analysis is the gold standard for research synthesis in testing scientific questions. There is a trend to publish the necessary statistical data from relevant studies for transparency and reproducibility. Spadaro: "Nevertheless, it takes a lot of effort to obtain this data and perform a meta-analysis, which usually results in a static PDF output. Moreover, the results can quickly become outdated, because they take several years."

Psychological support for undocumented migrants
Undocumented migrants face many problems that negatively affect their mental health, such as social exclusion, poor living conditions and uncertainty about the future. There is little research on this hard-to-reach population, and conventional health interventions are often not appropriate. Els van der Ven will use an innovative study design to evaluate the effect of a transdiagnostic group intervention specifically developed for this population. Van der Ven: "The outcome measures are: personal recovery, experienced stress and treatment outcome evaluated by the participant himself. Feasibility and acceptance of the intervention will also be investigated."

SSH research field
The projects cover the entire breadth of the SSH research field. For example, risk factors and contexts that make young people more susceptible to misinformation are investigated. Another project focuses on the impact of political lies on representative democracy. A large-scale study will also be launched in which medieval views on guide dogs will be collected and analysed. The influence of accelerated biological maturation of young people is also being investigated. This provides insights to improve prevention and intervention programs.