Integrating Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience in Society: Lessons Learned From a Multidisciplinary Research Project on Education and Social Safety of Youth

Annelinde R.E. Vandenbroucke, Eveline A. Crone, Jan B.F.van Erp, Berna Güroğlu, Hilleke E. Hulshoff Pol, Catherina H. de Kogel, Lydia Krabbendam, Lucres M.C. Jansen, Anne Marie Brouwer

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Integrating fundamental science in society, with the goal to translate research findings to daily practice, comes with certain challenges. Successfully integrating research projects into society requires (1) good collaboration between scientists and societal stakeholders, (2) collaboration partners with common expectations and goals, and (3) investment in clear communication. Here we describe an integrative research project conducted by a large Dutch consortium that consisted of neuroscientists, psychologists, sociologists, ethicists, teachers, health care professionals and policy makers, focusing on applying cognitive developmental neuroscience for the benefit of youth in education and social safety. We argue that to effectively integrate cognitive developmental neuroscience in society, (1) it is necessary to invest in a well-functioning, diverse and multidisciplinary team involving societal stakeholders and youth themselves from the start of the project. This aids to build a so-called productive interactive network that increases the chances to realize societal impact in the long-term. Additionally, we propose that to integrate knowledge, (2) a different than standard research approach should be taken. When focusing on integration, the ultimate goal of research is not solely to understand the world better, but also to intervene with real-life situations, such as education or (forensic) youth care. To accomplish this goal, we propose an approach in which integration is not only started after the research has been conducted, but taken into account throughout the entire project. This approach helps to create common expectations and goals between different stakeholders. Finally, we argue that (3) dedicating sufficient resources to effective communication, both within the consortium and between scientists and society, greatly benefits the integration of cognitive developmental neuroscience in society.

Original languageEnglish
Article number756640
JournalFrontiers in Integrative Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2021


  • cognitive developmental neuroscience
  • diversity
  • integrative method
  • society
  • team science

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