Blue Sky research

Curiosity driven science:

Scientific breakthroughs often follow from frontier, blue sky, investigator-driven science. We therefore value curiosity-driven research, and strongly believe in academic freedom. Scientific breakthroughs can lead to solutions for the immediate and long-term future.

Team science:

We need multiple insights, talents, backgrounds, and visions for scientific progress. We value working together with individuals from different academic backgrounds and use all the available knowledge in a team. We value everybody’s contributions making the whole team greater than the sum of its parts. The team works together in harmony to develop sustainable long-term collaborations.

Collaboration over competition:

We believe in collaboration in a safe environment for the best possible insights and results. Competition can be important for selecting the best ideas. But collaboration is more important for the best possible use of these ideas, for the sustainability of research projects, and for the long-term wellbeing of our lab members.


We enjoy working together with societal partners on high stake societal problems. We believe knowledge building should not only be done in universities, but in collaboration with multiple stakeholders. The core team ‘YoungXperts’ developed a platform for youth participation, because young people are the experts on their own lives. The core team ‘Healthy Start’ develops connections with scientists and societal partners for convergence of novel developmental science approaches.

Embracing complexity:

We decompose “wicked problems” and search for solutions for complicated questions. Social Sciences is a discipline that is complex by nature. We believe these complex problems should be approached using multiple perspectives, including lab MRI and behavioral studies, broad distribution surveys, and small-scale qualitative focus groups. Each method has advantages and disadvantages, but combining these methods brings us closer to understanding the dynamics of youth development.