Universiteit Leiden

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Young people's burning brain questions bundled in new research agenda

During ExpeditionNEXT in Middelburg, NeurolabNL youth, together with researchers from Leiden University and Erasmus University, handed over a unique research agenda to NWO Chairman Marcel Levi. In it, young people share what they would most like to learn about themselves and the brain.

'What effect does screen time have on the brain? Are our brains ever fully developed? And what will our brains look like in a hundred years?' These are questions that young people would like to have answered. The research agenda in which they are collected is a treasure trove of inspiration for scientists.

Eveline Crone received Marcel Levi, chairman of the NWO, at the booth of her lab where researchers and young people came together to hand over the research agenda. Levi responds enthusiastically: 'I think it's great that you made the agenda together with young people, because that means that the target group for the research was able to give input very early in the process. At NWO, we are happy to see if we can do more with what is proposed in the agenda.'


The research agenda can be downloaded as inspiration for all youth researchers in the Netherlands.

Collaboration for and with young people

The agenda came about through a collaboration between eight Dutch universities and various social partners, such as vocational schools, the Dutch Youth Institute, anti-bullying program KiVa, and several primary and secondary schools. Together, they are working through NeurolabNL to improve the living environment of young people, for and with young people.

What young people find important

Kiki Zanolie, giftedness researcher at Leiden University: 'It was great to learn more about what young people consider important questions for their future through conversations with them.' Researcher Marieke Bos, a brain researcher specializing in anxiety and depression, was also present at the handover: 'It is very important that we have a conversation with young people about mental health. In our research on brain development in young people, we found that 16% of young people experience depressive feelings and that their brain development is accelerated. I am very happy to see that young people want to see these topics in scientific research.'

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