An International Postdoctoral Fellowship Programme for the Comparative Study of Productive Youth Development

Our mission

The mission of our Collaborative Post-Doctoral Fellowship Programme is to stimulate innovative, interdisciplinary, and comparative research of productive youth development. The major objective of the programme is to promote the next generation of researchers and facilitate a better understanding and discourse with different stake holders about how to equip young people for mastering the challenges of growing up in a changing social context.

Where we work

Our participating institutions include the UCL Institute of Education, University College London, the Universities of California, Michigan State, Stockholm, Helsinki, Jena, and Tubingen.

Pathways map


What we do

PATHWAYS investigates the antecedents, processes, and long-term outcomes of youth transitions, as well as the factors and processes promoting human competences, especially among young people deemed to be at-risk. Our training and mentoring enhance understanding of diverse approaches to the study of productive youth development and to engages in constructive debates with colleagues from different disciplines. We foster international and interdisciplinary research and exchange of ideas, in order to gain up-to-date skills for addressing research and policy questions that require combined approaches and a synergy of ideas.

Our approach

We have adopted a 'Virtual Institute Approach', not limiting activities to one physical location, but pooling the expertise of several partner institutions that are connected by shared research interests, projects and existing collaborations. The administrative core is based at the Institute of Education but many of PATHWAYS' activities occur at the participating sites. There are regular joint workshops and conferences, bringing together scholars from around the globe, facilitating international networking and exchange.

Our research and publications

Since 2008 we have recruited and trained 15 Fellows who have published 64 papers in learned papers (15 are in press), eleven book chapters, as well as nineteen working papers and reports. A unique feature of the PATHWAYS programme is the international collaboration between Fellows and PIs, as reflected in 14 collaborative papers involving cross-country teams of Fellows and faculty members, and joint grant application. In addition have edited two special sections in Developmental Psychology, one in the European Psychologist and one in the International Journal of Developmental Science, showcasing the work of the PATHWAYS Fellows. The Fellows have given presentations at national and international conferences and have organised nine dedicated PATHWAYS symposia. The research conducted by the Fellows has been well received and endorsed by key policy makers, including the UK Prime Minister’s Strategy Unit, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research, and the Finnish Ministry of Education. Our research has also attracted media attention in Germany, Finland, the UK and the USA.

We feel immensely proud about the achievements of our PATHWAY Fellows, who are now in positions throughout North America and Europe as well as Australia, promoting international and collaborative scholarship.

Our programme is funded by the Jacobs Foundation and runs from October 2008 - September 2016