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On 24 May in a ceremony in Delft, the Minister of Education, Culture and Science awarded the SOCION consortium, an interdisciplinary research team focusing on social cohesion, the prestigious NWO Summit Grant worth 30 million euros. The consortium, which includes distinguished social scientists and humanities scholars from five Dutch universities and knowledge institutes, will use the money to further advance research in the field of social cohesion.

A prestigious recognition

The NWO Summit Grant is awarded to research consortia that have demonstrated world class quality and exceptional impact in their fields. SOCION's selection as one of the five awarded proposals from among 55 nominated partnerships underscores the high regard in which the consortium is held. The grant will enable the appointment of new cohorts of PhD students and postdocs, ensuring the continuation and expansion of this research for the next ten years.

Addressing fragmentation in society

In the project, the consortium’s research will address the pressing issue of societal fragmentation. By investigating the factors that contribute to social cohesion, the team aims to counteract the erosion of communities and the polarisation between groups. Their collaboration with civic organisations will help to ensure that the research findings can be directly applicable to real-world challenges.

SOCION: Interdisciplinary research for societal impact

The SOCION consortium, building on the successful SCOOP Zwaartekracht programme, is renowned for its interdisciplinary approach and is a collaboration of the University of Groningen, Utrecht University, VU Amsterdam, Radboud University, and KNAW-NIDI (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute). It combines insights from psychology, history, demography, philosophy and sociology to explore how connections between individuals, groups and institutions can foster new forms of social cohesion. This holistic approach offers a more well-rounded look at the well-being of citizens and the sustainability of societies.

Group of researchers from VU Amsterdam

AUC’s Dean, Prof. Martin van Hees, is Professor of Moral and Political Philosophy at VU Amsterdam, and in that function  one of the co-applicants of the SOCION project and of the earlier SCOOP Zwaartekracht programme on which it builds. Together with colleagues Justin Bernstein and Phil Robichaud , Martin  van Hees leads the VU group in the consortium, which will focus primarily on the relationship between social cohesion and individual values.