8 May 2017

Cooperation is the key to a resilient society

€18.8 million grant for research into sustainable cooperation

The research programme SCOOP is set to receive €18.8 million in funding under the prestigious NWO Gravitation programme. This was announced by Minister Bussemaker this afternoon. SCOOP – Sustainable Cooperation: Roadmaps to a Resilient Society – is a comprehensive interdisciplinary research programme in which sociologists, psychologists, historians and philosophers join forces in the search for new solutions to sustainable cooperation in the fields of health care, work environment and integration. The consortium is composed of researchers from Utrecht University, the University of Groningen (coordinator), Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

Cooperation is the key to resilient families, communities and organisations. By working together, individuals are able to achieve results which they could never achieve on their own. Yet why do some partnerships and alliances fall apart, while others continue to function perfectly for long periods of time? Are our current forms of cooperation able to withstand drastic changes in society such as an ageing population, large-scale migration and a digital revolution?

The Gravitation grant for excellence in research is the crowning achievement of our interdisciplinary collaboration in the social sciences and humanities.
Bas van Bavel
Professor Transitions of Economy and Society

Interdisciplinary research

Top researchers from various disciplines will be using this unique, cross-institutional partnership to conduct research into the mechanisms of cooperation and potential responses to the challenges in society today, such as new solutions to sustainable cooperation in the fields of health care, work environment and integration. An innovative mixed method” research design will be used to assess the effectiveness of these solutions. The programme is led by six main applicants: Rafael Wittek (Sociology, RUG), Naomi Ellemers (Psychology, UU), Martin van Hees (Philosophy, VU), Bas van Bavel (History, UU), Tanja van der Lippe (Sociology, UU) and Russell Spears (Psychology, RUG).

Unique approach: evidence-based policy recommendations

One of the SCOOP programme’s key objectives is to use scientific insights for practical applications. For example, the programme comprises projects that are designed to develop evidence-based policy recommendations and evaluate them in practice. This approach allows for improvements to the sustainability of cooperation in the fields of health care, work environment and integration.

Involvement of various universities

The research aligns perfectly with the strategic themes Institutions for Open Societies of Utrecht University and Sustainable Society of the University of Groningen, the latter institution being the coordinator of the project. The other participants are Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

NWO Gravitation

The project is part of the Gravitation programme, which is funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) advises on the selection of teams of researchers. Within the consortia, researchers from several universities work together to set up excellent scientific research programmes with the aim of giving a new impetus to cooperation at the highest academic level. The excellent consortia must lead the way to a distinct profile for top university research and, as such, contribute to the Top Sectors of the Dutch economy and to the grand challenges of the EU Framework Programme.

Contact details

Press information Universiteit Utrecht, Wietske de Lange, +31 30 253 4073, w.delange@uu.nl.