Childhood obesity is a complex social and health problem that can only be tackled if multiple perspectives, actors and institutions are united in their efforts to find a structural solution. In this event, Amsterdam Young Academy presents multiple perspectives on what research can teach us about the sources, nature and solutions to obesity in children.
Using the case of childhood obesity, we show how current wicked problems require research to step outside its disciplinary boundaries. A number of researchers spanning genetics, sociology and life sciences will present their take on childhood obesity, followed by a panel discussion focusing on the value of interdisciplinary approaches in solving complex challenges like childhood obesity.
The discussion takes place around the guide that Amsterdam Young Academy will launch at this event, which identifies challenges that prevent current researchers from overcoming isolated silos that are hindering them to truly engage in the grand challenges of today. The panel will reflect on what can be done to transform the current research landscape into one more equipped to effectively understand and target the problems of our time.
About the speakers
Caroline Nevejan is a researcher and designer who has been involved with the emerging network society and digital culture since the 1980s. She is a professor by special appointment and holds the chair Designing Urban Experience with the Amsterdam School for Social Science Research at the University of Amsterdam. She is also the Chief Science Officer of the city of Amsterdam, and orchestrates research between the city of Amsterdam and the different scientific, academic and artistic universities in the city. With a small team she makes sure that civil servants and researchers can find each other via openresearch.amsterdam and invent new and different ways of working together. Interdisciplinarity lies at the heart of Caroline’s endeavours across her varied roles.
Elsje van Bergen is an Associate Professor in Biological Psychology and at the Netherlands Twin Register at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. She was trained in human movement sciences (VU Amsterdam and University of Aberdeen), obtained her PhD in educational sciences (UvA), did her postdoc in psychology (Oxford) and now works in behavioural genetics. She studies the causes and consequences of individual differences in learning. She integrates theories and methods from psychology, education and genetics to study how genetic and environmental influences on learning (dis)abilities work together in complex ways.
Coosje Dijkstra is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Health sciences, section Youth and Lifestyle at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam and the Amsterdam Public Health Research Institute. She is trained as a nutritionist and epidemiologist. Dijkstra is working on different research projects aiming to decrease socioeconomic inequalities in (childhood) obesity where she applies a systems lens by studying micro-, meso- and macro-systems. Her projects are always interdisciplinary, where not only different researchers and methods are used, but also children and key stakeholders act as co-creators and actively participate in the development, implementation, evaluation and dissemination of the projects.
Jelle van Baardewijk is a philosopher and social scientist at the Research Centre Business Innovation of VU Amsterdam. His research focuses on the intersection of business and policy ethics, for instance in education for ‘citizenship’. He is also a professor of business ethics (‘lector’) at the university of applied-sciences Rotterdam, conducting research in ethics of business, consumption, innovation, and policy making of business education. He has philosophical conversations with entrepreneurs, intellectuals and researchers on the YouTube-channel “De Nieuwe Wereld”.
Linda Douw (moderator) is an Associate Professor at the Department of Anatomy and Neurosciences of the Amsterdam UMC. She leads the Multiscale Network Neuroscience research section, which aims to use network theory, a branch of mathematics and physics, to better understand the brain. She is particularly interested in cognitive dysfunction in diseases such as primary brain tumors, multiple sclerosis and neurodegeneration. Her team consists of physicists, medical doctors, neuroscientists and neuropsychologists, and she is fascinated by interdisciplinary collaboration (and how to optimize it).
You can apply here to watch the event or watch it through the livestream.