Overall objectives and specific objectives
In line with the EU Youth Strategy and official EU definitions, the project includes young people from a wide age range – 15 to 29 years old – because youths face many inclusion challenges well into their 20s, as well as during their teenage years. The project will focus on youths in general but will address the circumstances of youths who are most at risk of marginalisation in terms of poverty, migration, disability, low education, unemployment and disenfranchisement; some cases will include young people from deprived or disadvantaged areas. Thus, the project will involve a broad range of young people from local areas to avoid stigmatising particular groups by labelling them as ‘disadvantaged youths’ while stimulating social networking across groups of young people. In doing so, the project acknowledges that young people are a diverse group of citizens, and many possess important resources for local innovation and development.
YouCount will focus on social inclusion, which is understood as equal opportunities for youth participation in society, and will elucidate three main domains of social inclusion: 1) social participation (e.g., work, education and social life); 2) connectedness and social belonging; and 3) citizenship and rights. As elaborated on later, the multiple case studies – consisting of nine co-creative Y-CSS projects across Europe – will provide increased knowledge of the positive drivers for social inclusion in general and specific knowledge and innovation in relation to participation, belonging and citizenship. Youths will participate as citizen scientists in two ways: Young people from the community and students will participate in the whole research process as citizen scientists (R-YCS) in the research teams. A larger group of youths will serve as community citizen scientists (C-YCS) at a lower level of participation by contributing data from their daily experiences on an online platform, and identifying targeted solutions through participating in local dialogue forums (DF, e.g., group conversations or ‘listenings’). Each case will establish local living labs (LLs) with multiple stakeholders in the wider community, which will use the data provided by the participating young citizen scientists to cocreate policy-making and innovations in terms of new ideas, products or methods as a way to create social change. In addition, all cases in YouCount will generate gender-specific knowledge, for example, about the different barriers and opportunities experienced by young boys and girls, using this knowledge to develop gender tailored actions and policies for youth inclusion. The multiple case study will then be used as a way to gather evidence data of the outcomes of Y-CSS and the costs and benefits of CSS.
YouCount also aims to contribute to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 10, 8 and 3 – to create more inclusive societies, decent work and health- and well-being for youths, respectively. Moreover, to SDG 5, by generating gender-specific knowledge to create gender-tailored actions. Moreover, the project will contribute to support the overarching goal of the SwafS programme by contributing to the MoRRI indicators concerning science communication (SLSE 2, 3 & 4), public engagement (PE2 & PE3) and open access (OA1).
The specific objectives are detailed in the six work package descriptions (see Table 3.1.a) and include the following interrelated specific objectives and main outcomes: SO1: Support CS and the social sciences by developing a conceptual and methodological framework for youth citizen social science together with a multilevel stakeholder platform. (WP1) SO2: Provide open data concerning the experiences with implementation of hands-on citizen social science activities through a multiple case study of Y-CSS projects in nine countries across Europe to develop new knowledge of social inclusion for social innovation and policy-making. (WP2) SO3: Develop new social science knowledge of social inclusion, including identifying the major drivers for the social inclusion of youths and new/better social innovations/policy-making to cocreate positive social change and creating a theoretical model for increased social inclusion of youths on the individual and community/societal level. (WP3) SO4: Provide evidence of the costs and benefits of Y-CSS based on open data of the scientific, social, democratic, economic and individual outcomes of Y-CSS from the multiple case study and a multicriteria framework for assessments of the impact of the project (WP4, Table 2.3). SO5: Maximise the social impact of the project and contribute to youth policy and the SDG and MoRRI indicators by a) directly benefiting individual Y-CSS involved in the project through social change and b) developing pathways to inclusion through new policy recommendations and a model for innovative community actions and sustainable community engagement. (WP3, 4 & 5) SO6: Maximise the scientific impact of the project by creating synergies with other CS projects and initiatives and by the coproduction and open science dissemination of a series of practical tools (practitioner handbooks, teaching modules, evaluation tools and science recommendation guidelines) based on cutting-edge and contextually rooted empirical research. (WP5)