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In January 2023, the Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences will launch four new Research Priority Areas (RPAs) in data science, emotions, polarisation and youth & digitality.

Each of the four priority areas will receive €250,000 per year for a period of five years.

SoBe Data Science
The social and behavioural sciences are waking up in a different world where new ways of observing human behaviour are rapidly becoming available: mobile reviews provide information about location and activities, online learning resources assess cognitive development and social media data tracks interactions between individuals, to give just a few examples. Effectively accessing these massive amounts of data requires specific technology and methodology, which are currently lacking. The project involves developing such a methodology and combining this with specialised methodological domains such as psychometrics, structural equation modelling and network analysis.
Leader of this RPA: Denny Borsboom

Real Emotion
Over the past few decades, major advances have been made in research on emotions and how they influence daily life. However, this progress is currently being hampered by two key problems. Psychological research is often conducted in artificial laboratory environments with highly controlled stimuli. Another issue is the generalisability of the insights stemming from anthropology, communication science, pedagogical and education sciences, political science, sociology and other social sciences. Real Emotion advances the state-of-the-art by promoting interdisciplinary research to study emotions as they occur in real life.
Leader of this RPA: Disa Sauter, Milica Nikolic, Don Weenink

Polarisation can be a significant barrier to harmonious and productive societies. The aim of this priority area is to develop a comprehensive model of polarisation that advances the most urgent and complex ongoing debates in the social and behavioural sciences. This approach will yield insights that can be directly translated into effective interventions for depolarisation and prevention.
Leaders of this RPA: Bert Bakker, Christin Scholz, Marte Otten, Anke Munniksma, Eefje Steenvoorden, Gijs Schumacher, Remmert Daas, Han van der Maas, Justus Uitermark

Youth Digitality
Technology and digital media are changing young people’s lives, with an exponential increase in use and access among this group. The aim of this priority area is to understand how, why and when digital environments influence the development of youths and young adults (age 0-29), and how young people can use digital environments in an optimal and healthy manner to develop resilience and ultimately to thrive.
Leaders of this RPA: Helle Larsen, Geertjan Overbeek, Jessica Piotrowski, Eline Smit, Bieke Schreurs

Three more potential priority areas

At the moment, there are three other projects in the pipeline that may also be designated as faculty Research Priority Areas. The potential launch date for these projects is January 2024.