14 June 2024

Foro final YouCount en San Sebastián

  • The European project, in which Orkestra and the Department of Social Work of the University of Deusto have participated, marks a turning point after 3 years of research work.
  • 9 case studies have been developed in different countries to improve the social inclusion of young people in Europe, one of them in Gipuzkoa.
  • The results of the project include a handbook with guidelines for carrying out citizen science in the field of social sciences and a policy brief that compiles the experiences of young citizen scientists. 

The European project YouCount, in which Orkestra and the Social Work Department of the University of Deusto have participated, marks a turning point after 3 years of research dedicated to improving the social inclusion of young people in Europe. During this time, the project has allowed Orkestra to deepen its participatory approach to research and complement the work being carried out in the field of Action Research for Territorial Development (IADT).

YouCount has used citizen social science to delve into the factors that contribute to young people's participation in society and their sense of belonging. This methodological approach involves citizens in the research process to jointly generate knowledge, thus bringing science and society closer together.

In the framework of the project, 9 case studies have been carried out with different collectives in the following countries: Austria, Denmark, Spain, Hungary, Italy, Lithuania, Norway, United Kingdom and Sweden.

The case study in which Orkestra and the University of Deusto have worked has focused on the situation of young people who arrived as unaccompanied young migrants in Gipuzkoa. When coming of age they find themselves without the protection of the system and face great difficulties in accessing the labour market and participating actively in society.

For almost two years, 30 young people have taken part in the research as "young citizen scientists" to provide their perspective and contribute to the formulation of better public policies. The Gipuzkoa case study also involved the collaboration of the Loiola Etxea Association for Social Reintegration, Agintzari Zabalduz Kooperatiba Elkartea and the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa.

Tools to put citizen social science into practice

Among the most important results of YouCount, there are two key documents which gather the main learnings of the project:

  1. Handbook and Toolkit for Youth Citizen Social Science: this handbook provides detailed guidelines for conducting citizen science in the field of social science, especially with young people. It integrates social science methodologies and theories into collaborative research efforts. This document and its toolkit can be useful for practitioners, academics, policy makers, youth organisations and anyone interested in more inclusive and participatory social research and innovation.
  2. Youth Citizen Social Science as a Pathway for Youth Social Inclusion: This policy brief collects the experiences and opinions of young citizen scientists aged 13-29 who have participated in the project. It offers recommendations for policy-makers who want to integrate the youth perspective into public policies.

Recognition and future of the project

In May 2023 YouCount was recognised with an honorary mention in the European Citizen Science Awards, standing out among 336 projects for its social and political impact. The jury particularly valued the inclusion of young people as co-researchers in all phases of the project, reinforcing the democratisation of scientific research.

Orkestra has coordinated the work package on "Communication, Dissemination and Exploitation" throughout the project and actively participated in the YouCount candidacy, so this honorary mention is an important recognition of the work carried out by the research team.

Although the project has come to an end for the moment, the learnings and tools developed will continue to have a significant impact, as they provide a practical framework for future citizen science initiatives in the field of social sciences, promoting a more inclusive and participatory society.

For more information about YouCount and its progress you can visit the project website or read the posts of the Orkestra researchers who have been involved in the project: