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About the project

Funded by the Nuffield Foundation, Growing up under COVID-19 is a transnational action research project, which aims to provide insights to the impact of the COVID-19 public health crisis on young people's lives, and to inform the development of appropriate tools and measures to safeguard children's well-being and rights during and beyond the pandemic.


Over 18 months, adult researchers from Ecorys and the University of Huddersfield are working collaboratively with young people from diverse backgrounds in seven different countries as co-researchers. Participants are using participatory action research (PAR) to document their lives and to share their thoughts, feelings and experiences about how the authorities and the public are responding to the pandemic at different scales.



The project is taking place entirely online, with the young people communicating through virtual panels of up to 10 participants through video calls and an online collaboration platform (Yammer), supported by an adult researcher. Their work involves individual action research inquiry, activities in the virtual groups, and dialogue with a wider network of young people who are affiliated to the project as part of a 'community of practice'.

The project has a membership of 70 young people aged 14-18, who will each participate in (up to) three 'cycles' of research, analysis and reporting over the course of the project. Young people were recruited through an application process and each bring unique motivations, circumstances and experiences to the project. The seven countries are:

Further information about the rationale for the ages and characteristics of participants, and the selection of countries is provided in the Research Protocol.

The outputs will include an interim and reports, and ongoing publication of action research outputs throughout the project. These feature key messages for young people, public authorities, professionals, and NGOs, as well as for the wider public.

The project is due to conclude in September 2021.

Nuffield Ref: WEL/FR-000022571
PI: Laurie Day – Research Director, Ecorys UK
Co-Applicant: Barry Percy-Smith – Professor of Childhood, Youth and Participatory Practice, The University of Huddersfield.
Project page: View page
Disclaimer This project is funded by the Nuffield Foundation, but the views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the Foundation.


The overall aim of the research is:

To understand how young people are experiencing and responding to the COVID-19 public health crisis, and to make suggestions for how to promote young people's wellbeing and rights during and after the pandemic.


In achieving this aim, the researchers will seek to work with young people as co-researchers to understand:

  1. How is COVID-19 crisis is affecting young people's everyday lives and those around them, and how they are responding to the situation?
  2. What are young people's perspectives about how the COVID-19 crisis is being managed, how it is talked about in the media, and the measures that are put in place?
  3. To what extent are young people's needs and circumstances being taken account, and what is the actual and potential contribution of young people as active citizens?
  4. What do young people think about the attitudes, values and behaviours, of others and the positive and negative consequences of the COVID-19 crisis for society?
  5. What do young people perceive as the priorities for the recovery, for rebuilding society and young people's roles in the recovery process?
  6. What messages do young people have for decision makers about managing future crises, and safeguarding young people's rights in the future?



How are we doing it? A young person's guide

Sets out the action research approach and key principles in more detail and explains how these are being applied to the project.


Research Protocol

Gives a more formal project overview, including the theoretical influences, sampling criteria, and analytical framework.


Join us

Aged between 14-18, with views to share about how the pandemic is affecting young people?

Then join the GUC-19 Research Network...

Join now

Your privacy

This project being carried out in accordance with the EU General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR).

Ecorys is a registered data controller: UKICO, No. Z5564761.

You can view the Privacy Notice for the project here.

© Ecorys and the University of Huddersfield (2020)

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