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Action research: Improving understanding and methodologies in early development

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Advancing knowledge of human and early development

Cutting-edge research in early social development can lead to a better understanding of human development overall. An EU initiative has gathered academia and industry to explore how infants interact with their environment.

Industrial Technologies

Developmental research that studies the relationship between the brain and behaviour in infants demands an integrated approach that employs several methods and tools. What is more, the companies that develop such methods and tools and the researchers who use them do not work in partnership. The lack of cooperation severely limits breakthroughs in the field. To overcome this issue, the EU-funded 'Action research: Improving understanding and methodologies in early development' (ACT) project is bringing together key industry partners and research institutions to establish a leading European network that trains doctoral students. By setting up an interdisciplinary training programme, the network aims to deliver new technology that will advance the state of the art in human development. All PhD students began their research activities during the first project phase. They are using a developmental approach to explore the interaction between cognition and complex actions such as manual exploration and walking in infants. ACT has already succeeded in establishing links between scientific and industrial stakeholders in the vanguard of European research on social development, developmental psychology, cognitive science, developmental neuropsychology and computational science. The objective is to create new tools for developmental research and to narrow the gap between small and medium-sized enterprises behind the manufacturing of research tools and those that buy these products. The project is leveraging the scientific and business communities to strengthen European research in human and early development. Its training and support actions will lead to eminent scholars and researchers responsible for greatly contributing to the body of knowledge in this field.


Early development, social development, human development, infants, developmental psychology

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