Research into sustainable cooperation for a resilient society receives 18.8 million euros

10 May 2017

Sociologists, psychologists, historians and philosophers from five Dutch universities will carry out research into sustainable cooperation for a resilient society. On Monday 8 May, the Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, Jet Bussemaker, announced that the project SCOOP (Sustainable Cooperation: Roadmaps to a Resilient Society) is one of the six projects awarded 18.8 million euros in funding from the NWO programme Gravitation. SCOOP ties in with the route ‘Resilient and meaningful societies’ from the Dutch National Research Agenda published last year.

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With this funding, researchers can carry out scientific research over the next ten years into 'cooperations' that form the key to resilient families, communities and organisations. By working together, individuals can achieve results that they would never have realised alone. Yet why do some partnerships and alliances fall apart, while others continue to function perfectly for long periods of time? Are our current forms of cooperation able to withstand drastic changes in society such as an ageing population, large-scale migration and the digital revolution?

SCOOP is meant to lead to new solutions for sustainable collaboration in the areas of healthcare, work and integration. Researchers from the University of Groningen, Utrecht University, VU Amsterdam, and Erasmus University Rotterdam will collaborate closely in this project. By pooling the expertise of sociologists, psychologists, historians and philosophers, SCOOP will use an innovative ‘mixed-method’ research design to test the effectiveness of these solutions and to develop evidence-based policy recommendations.

Societal challenges

Top researchers from various disciplines will use this cross-institutional partnership to explore the possibilities for tackling societal challenges. The programme is under the leadership of professor Rafael Wittek (sociology, University of Groningen), Naomi Ellemers (psychology, Utrecht University), Martin van Hees (philosophy, VU Amsterdam), Bas van Bavel (history, Utrecht University), Tanja van der Lippe (sociology, Utrecht University) and Russell Spears (psychology, University of Groningen).

The interdisciplinary SCOOP consortium has developed a unique approach. The team will search for solutions by combining historical research into institutional change and philosophical analyses of value conflicts, with psychological and sociological models of individual behaviour and group processes. A key objective of SCOOP is the use of scientific insights for practical applications.

The research ties in with the Dutch National Research Agenda route 'Resilient and meaningful societies' and the strategic themes 'Sustainable Society' of the University of Groningen (official secretary of the project) and 'Institutions for Open Societies' of Utrecht University. Other participants in the consortium are VU Amsterdam, Radboud University and Erasmus University Rotterdam.

NWO Gravitation

The project is part of the Gravitation programme, which is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) advises on the selection of teams of researchers. Within the consortia, researchers from different universities work together to set up excellent research programmes. The aim of Gravitation is to give a new impetus to cooperation at the highest academic level.

The excellent consortia should lead the way to a distinct profile for top university research and, as such, contribute to the Top Sectors of the Dutch economy and to the grand challenges of the EU Framework Programme.

Source: NWO


Science area

Social Sciences and Humanities




Large research facilities (2015-2018)