23 April 2024 

Authors: Naomi Fineberg, Julius Burkauskas, Ella Sheltawy and Renata Gaudinskaite

The Bootstrap project being conducted throughout Europe began its first Bootcamp meeting from March 14th to 16th.

The project initiators at Missenden Abbey, UK had the honour of hosting over 50 committed student young experts, instructors, and academics from all partner countries. The most notable aspect: the active participation of young people was the main focus throughout. Placing the voices of our youth at the forefront, in addition to those of educators. This initiative aims to guarantee ethical and secure involvement at every stage of our research process.

As co-production specialists, EYMH believe that you can’t really listen to or co-create with people you don’t know, so forging connections was the first goal of the Bootcamp. The Bootcamp kicked off with a workshop run by EYMH in collaboration with the University of Hertfordshire, which aimed to get every single attendee at the Bootcamp involved – talking to new people regardless of their background, language, country or age range.

Young people connected with this message, and in a collaboration, exercise set the rest of the consortium the challenge to keep speaking with people from different parts of Europe. Educational workshops then began, helping young people to learn about problematic usage of the Internet, the research cycle, and how young people can be involved, and teachers and researchers to explore mobile sensing, machine learning and Citizen Science.

The findings were very beneficial as scientists, alongside young people, discussed the motivating factors that drive them to engage in research. Now, equipped with great excitement, the project leaders are prepared to convert every piece of advice from young people into actionable steps in project specific research methods. Stay tuned as the project progresses with the outcomes towards a healthier and more interconnected future!