The YOUth cohort started as part of the Consortium on Individual Development (CID), which set off in May 2013. While most children develop and find their way into society without many problems, not all children manage to do so. We know that this difference is related to a combination of the child’s disposition and the environment in which they are raised. CID aims to understand and predict how the interplay of child characteristics and environmental factors result in individual differences in the development of social competence and behavioral control of children, and to understand the role of brain development herein.
CID brings together top researchers from several disciplines, each with unique and relevant expertise involved in developmental research, across seven Universities and University Medical Centers within the Netherlands. CID has received a grant from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO). The grant is part of the Gravitation programme, funded by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The grant allows CID to follow large samples of children in their development over the course of a decade, integrating approaches from many different disciplines. CID joins Dynamics of Youth (DoY) as one of Utrecht University’s four strategic themes.
CID consists of four Work Packages (WP’s). Because the focus of the project is on development from birth to adolescence, the core of all work packages consists of large-scale longitudinal cohort studies. Two new children cohorts will be implemented: the longitudinal cohort YOUth (based in Utrecht, WP1 and part of DoY), and an intervention cohort L-CID (based in Leiden, WP2). In addition, four existing cohorts will be involved as WP3: TRAILS (Groningen), Generation-R (Rotterdam), RADAR (Utrecht), and NTR (Amsterdam). The final work package, WP4, provides a supportive basis using animal and mathematical models of development (Utrecht).
As mentioned above, the YOUth cohort is part of CID WP1 and part of the UU strategic theme Dynamics of Youth. WP1 focuses on brain development in relation to behaviour, specifically on social competence and behavioral control. WP1 addresses questions regarding their interrelationships and how associations might develop as a function of age, sex genetic influences and environmental exposures.
YOUth follows children from the womb until the age of 18. Participants can enter at two moments: (1) When the parent is 20 weeks pregnant with the baby, and (2) when the child is aged 8, 9 or 10 years old. Subsequently, the participants will be followed over an extended period of time. The two enrolment moments were submitted to the IRB of the University Medical Center Utrecht as two separate protocols, but were handled simultaneously. In March and April 2015 the two framework protocols were approved (14-616/NL51465.041.14 and 14-617/NL51521.041.14). At the end of May 2015, YOUth started to include pregnant women.
The YOUth study is conducted at the Child Expertise Center (in Dutch: KinderKennisCentrum). The centre is located at the Utrecht Science Park and serves as a research facility and infrastructural central point for all Dynamics of Youth research. On 16 October, 2014, the opening of the Child Expertise Center took place in the presence of the mayor of Utrecht, the president of the executive board of Utrecht University, local and national press and external partners. On 31 August, 2015, Jet Bussemaker (minister of Education, Culture and Science) and Jos Engelen (chairman of the governing board of NWO) visited the Child Expertise Center Utrecht as part of their visit to the four Gravitation programmes coordinated by Utrecht University.