Why some children thrive, and others don’t
Most children develop well and find their way into society without many problems, but 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 he or she is raised. We want to understand the role of brain development herein, how children’s chances for thriving are determined by their (grand) parents, and how we can better guide children’s development.
The Consortium on Individual Development (CID) involves researchers from Utrecht University (applying university), University Medical Center Utrecht, University of Amsterdam, Leiden University, University Medical Center Groningen, Rotterdam Erasmus Medical Center, and VU University Amsterdam.
CID unites the best that the Netherlands has to offer in developmental research, encompassing seven different institutes and a wide range of behavioural and social disciplines, including behavioural genetics, developmental (neuro)biology, psychiatry, neurocognitive science, developmental psychology, pedagogical sciences, communication science, and mathematics.
The consortium aims to understand and predict how the interplay of child characteristics and environmental factors results in individual differences in the development of social competence and behavioural control of the child. The specific aims are:
- To understand brain development as a mechanism underlying the associations between child characteristics and environmental effects;
- To understand how changes in development are dependent on individual differences in susceptibility to environmental influences;
- To understand transmission of behaviour across generations, and the role of parenting and genetic factors herein;
- To predict long-term interactive effects between individual and environmental factors on developmental outcomes through animal and mathematical models.
In 2012, six researchers (main applicant, Chantal Kemner, with five co-applicants: Dorret Boomsma, Patti Valkenburg, Marian Joëls, Marinus van IJzendoorn, Sarah Durston) joined forces to apply for Gravitation Programme funding. CID was one of six teams granted research funding to collaborate over a period of ten years.
With the Gravitation Programme, the Dutch Government aims to encourage research by consortia of top researchers in the Netherlands. The funding is intended for highly ambitious research programs that have the potential to bring about international breakthroughs. Furthermore, the consortia make a substantial contribution to the training of talented researchers.