About the YouCount project

YouCount is a project funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme. Through YouCount we aim to address one of Europe’s most pressing challenges: How to increase social inclusion for young people?

How do people experience social inclusion? From previous studies we know that social inclusion is experienced when three main criteria are met: participation, belonging, and citizenship.

Social Inclusion Infographic showing Icons

But do young people understand social inclusion that way? They may agree that participating in social life in a meaningful way or feeling connected to others is important, but there may be other dimensions of social inclusion that are relevant for them. Young people also know better than anyone else, what their daily lived experiences of inclusion and exclusion are.

That is why our research team includes young citizen scientists participating as young co-researchers in the project. Throughout the project, they will contribute with their own knowledge on social inclusion and co-create, together with policymakers, community leaders, and other relevant actors in their own communities and regions, new knowledge and innovations that contribute to increasing social inclusion in practice.

Young co-researchers will participate in the project through hands-on citizen science:


YouCount Infographic


Hands-on citizen science involves researchers and young co-researchers creating local living labs, doing interviews, developing dialogue forums, organising local and national workshops and using and app specifically created to gather and share daily lived experiences of inclusion and exclusion. It also involves co-evaluating our impact and how co-created citizen social science worked across the cases as well as within each case.

We call this type of research Youth Citizen Science.

Citizen Social Science is defined as involving equal collaboration between citizen groups (co-researchers) that are sharing a social concern and academic researchers. Youth Citizen Social Science involves equal collaboration between young citizen scientists and academic researchers. However, involving young citizen scientists in research processes on an equal basis with academic researchers poses a whole new set of challenges that need to be looked into carefully. YouCount will provide evidence of actual results of doing Youth Citizen Science to address a complex societal problem. 

The overarching objective of YouCount is to generate new knowledge and innovations to increase the social inclusion of youth at risk of exclusion across Europe through co-creative youth citizen social science. Overall, YouCount targets two strands of inquiry: 1) knowledge about social inclusion and how to create social change through the involvement of young citizen scientists and 2) contributing to the scientific knowledge base for Y-CSS for increased scaling. This is reflected in the specific objectives below. 

As described in the introduction and call, CS might have many potential beneficial outcomes, yet at the same time, there is a lack of evidence of the actual benefits of CS in practice. More evidence is needed to support CS as a policy priority and use of CS in traditional (social) science. YouCount will thus put CS to a critical test by implementing co-creative Y- CSS projects in nine countries focusing on identifying positive drivers to increase social inclusion of youth with disadvantages and conduct systematic evaluations of the actual outcomes of Y- CSS through a mixed-methods design including pre-and post-measurements and processual data. The evaluation will also include an analysis of the mechanisms influencing social inclusion and the outcomes of CSS, and consider how the beneficial outcomes can be strengthened through maximising impact and recommendations for future R&I. The empirical research in the case studies will feed into the broader evaluation assessments of the costs and benefits of CSS, as described in 2.1. Expected Impact, Table 2.3. An overview is presented in Figure 1.3. The framework for Y-CSS and research design will be advanced throughout the whole research process, as part of the co-creative design (see WP1).

Welcome to the YouCount toolkit!

Here, you will find various tools that researchers in the YouCount project have developed and used with young citizen social scientists. The tools are organized according to the House of Youth Citizen Social Science - a framework for thinking, planning, and doing citizen social science research projects with a co-creative approach.

Click on the hearts to download the tools. 

The groundfloor
How can you ensure that theHow can you ensure that thesocial and relational aspects of teamwork are in place? In thissection, you will find tools fortraining and building theground floor.

The first floor
How can you do participatory data collection with youth? In this section, you will find tools for the three approaches ‘the survey mindset,’ ‘the listening mode,’ and ‘the observational gaze’.

The second floor
How do we reach for social innovations and policy change with youth? In this section you will find tools for working collaboratively to make sense of findings and to develop ideas together.



Citizen Social Science brings together social science researchers and citizens focusing on social issues, social phenomena, and the social dimensions of the world while applying and integrating social science methodologies and theories in their collaborative research efforts. These characteristics influence, for example, the focus and management of the project, the role of the researchers and the citizens, the participatory work, and ethical concerns. There are many handbooks and guidelines for conducting citizen science, but mostly within natural sciences. Yet, there are few handbooks detailing hands-on citizen social science with young people, and focusing on co-creative qualitative or mixed-methods approaches. This handbook, and its toolkit, build on the experiences from the H2020 YouCount project (2021-2023) and represent a unique contribution to the field of citizen social science. It is, overall, an exercise on social science communication that can be useful to a wide array of publics: practitioners, academics, policymakers, youth organisations and anyone interested in citizen social science as a way of creating a future shaped by more inclusive, participatory research and social innovation.

You can take a look through the YouCount Handbook here: 

ImageSeperator 1390px 02 GirlWithCamera

Sign up for the YouCount Newsletter!

We publish quarterly updates on our work in a Newsletter that you can receive directly in your inbox. With every Newsletter, you learn more about YouCount and the people behind the project. We travel to the different cases and introduce you to young citizen scientists and other project members in each issue. Our Newsletter informs you about upcoming events and updates you on events you might have missed. Don’t miss out!


Social Media

twitter facebook instagram linkedin

european unionYouCount is funded by the European Commission under Horizon 2020, GA No.101005931