Dutch Data Prize for YOUth study

The YOUth cohort study by Utrecht University and the UMCU has been awarded the Dutch Data Prize at this year’s FAIR Data Day. The judges’ report praised the YOUth dataset: “This dataset is of great value to many research fields.” YOUth project manager Coosje Veldkamp and data manager Ron Scholten were overjoyed: “We’ve been gathering our data and making them FAIR for over nine years. This has been a team performance. Working together with many different people from across the university, we have managed to make highly sensitive data on children securely accessible to other researchers. This prize is a great recognition of our joint work.”

Winnaars Dutch Data Prize

Chantal Kemner, Professor of Developmental Biological Psychology and principal researcher for Utrecht University’s YOUth study into children’s development, realised from the outset of the study that the data to be gathered would need to be FAIR (i.e. findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable). Veldkamp: “Thanks to Chantal’s ambitions in the area of open science, we have now developed a data infrastructure through which complex and sensitive data can be securely stored and shared.”


Veldkamp emphasises that the prize is a recognition of the joint effort of the entire team that worked on the data. The team members represent a wide range of disciplines. “Our research into children’s development is conducted in the YOUth programme’s Child Expertise Centre (KinderKennisCentrum, KKC), where people from different disciplines, such as measurement assistants, data managers and technicians, collaborate. There is a management team, and we also closely collaborate with people from the University Library and ITS.” Veldkamp believes that the entire project can serve as an example of good practice for data collection and provision. “If we can do it for this type of data, then nearly everyone should be able to make their data FAIR.”

We have demonstrated that Utrecht University is able to produce these types of FAIR datasets.


The Dutch Data Prize comes with a cheque to be spent on making data more FAIR. Veldkamp already has plans for how to put this money to good use. “We have data we currently can’t share with third parties yet, such as video footage we recorded of parent-child interactions, but which we would like to share with researchers to whom it would be useful. The prize money should enable us to further anonymise these data.”

Day after

The morning after the award ceremony, a large part of the YOUth team gathered at the KKC office to relish their victory. Some nice pastries were served to everyone who worked on the creation of the dataset. The trophy and the prize cheque are now displayed on the KKC’s desk. Veldkamp: “Everyone is very proud. And rightly so, as our dataset has been crowned the most valuable FAIR dataset in the field of social and behavioural sciences! We have demonstrated that Utrecht University is able to produce these types of FAIR datasets.”