Operating from a Team Science approach, the Center on the Developing Adolescent serves as a nexus for the exchange of ideas for several overlapping and interrelated teams and research networks. In some of our partnerships, we have extensive overlap in mission, vision, activities, and key personnel while in other partnerships the primary mission and activities are relatively distinct, but with one or more important areas of shared goals. Our central aim across this range of collaborative partnerships is to help integrate understanding across multiple disciplines and approaches, and to promote mutually-informative communication between and among teams and across research projects. Our long-term goal is to advance understanding that leads to improving research, practice, and policy related to adolescent development.
With generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the Center on the Developing Adolescent is leading the launch of Discover. This project, based in Tanzania, includes the development and testing of Discover Learning—a highly innovative intervention for 10-14 year olds. The Discover Learning intervention: a) focuses on the pivotal developmental transition from childhood into adolescence—a window of opportunity for improving the long term educational and health trajectories for a broad range of outcomes in youth; b) uses social scaffolding to promote youth-driven discovery learning; and c) leverages digital technology to engage youth.
With generous support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, Population Services International (PSI), together with its consortium members the Society for Family Health/Nigeria (SFH/Nigeria), Triggerise, the Center on the Developing Adolescent from the University of California, Berkeley, IDEO.org, and Ogilvy & Mather Africa, will work with adolescents, young people, parents, community members, providers, and policy makers in Ethiopia, Nigeria, and Tanzania to design scalable, cost-effective models aimed at increasing voluntary, modern contraceptive use among adolescent girls aged 15-19. This four-year, $30 million investment will not only generate hundreds of thousands of new users of voluntary modern contraceptives, but will also catalyze a new way of designing high-performing adolescent sexual and reproductive health programs at scale, using a developmentally and anthropologically informed user-centered design process.
Science of Learning in Adolescence
This collaborative network funded by the National Science Foundation brings together researchers from across UC Berkeley and UC San Francisco to advance scientific understanding of developmental changes in learning processes that occur during adolescent maturation. Integrating animal and human developmental studies on learning, the network members will work together to develop new methods, tasks, and analyses that better isolate specific aspects of cognitive, social, and affective learning that change across transition from childhood into adolescence. The long-term goals are to help transform the adolescent “window of vulnerability” (when so many youth become bored and disengaged from school) into a “window of opportunity” (a natural period of curiosity, exploration, and unique learning opportunities). The core leadership team for this project is Ron Dahl, Linda Wilbrecht and Anne Collins at UC Berkeley. Additional collaborators include Alison Gopnik (UC Berkeley), Adriana Galván (UCLA), and Jennifer Pfeifer (U Oregon). This network also synergizes with the Science of Learning Network led by Adam Gazzeley and Melina Uncaphor at UCSF; both networks are supported by the National Science Foundation’s Science of Learning Collaborative Networks Program.
Framing the Developmental Science of Adolescence
The Center on the Developing Adolescent is partnering with the FrameWorks Institute to synthesize and facilitate the translation of the developmental science of adolescence. This work is being supported by technical assistance from Harvard College’s Center on the Developing Child. The Core Story of Early Childhood Development that emerged through the long-term and on-going collaboration between the Center on the Developing Child and the FrameWorks Institute demonstrates the power of a shared set of reframing tools for expanding public understanding of complex social and scientific issues. FrameWorks and the Center on the Developing Child are eager to share their experience with collaboration, reframing research, and leadership engagement to the field of adolescent development. Borrowing from lessons learned in the development of the Core Story of Early Childhood Development, the Center on the Developing Adolescent will expand their communications capacity and translate the lessons learned to facilitate the translation of the developmental science of adolescence.
I4Y UC Berkeley School of Public Health
The I4Y — Innovations for Youth — research center in the School of Public Health focuses on promoting the health of youth locally, domestically and internationally through behavioral and community-based research and interventions — with an emphasis on the proximal (peer/school/family) and structural (cultural, social, and policy) influences and how they shape the psychological and physical health of youth at the community and population level. The I4Y group is led by Colette Auerswald, Ndola Prata and Emily Ozer (UC Berkeley). The Center on the Developing Adolescent and I4Y are partnering together to create an exciting synergy of transdisciplinary research ranging from the developmental neuroscience of adolescence to front-line global adolescent health, in ways that mutually inform the work of each group.
MCHB Adolescent and Young Adult Research Network
This project, funded by the Maternal and Child Health Bureau, establishes a national Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) Health Research Network with the goal of integrating developmental science into health services research, and translating findings into practice, is led by Elizabeth Ozer and Charles Irwin (at UCSF). The UC Berkeley component of this collaboration (led by Ron Dahl and Ahna Suleiman) is to develop and maintain a transdisciplinary, multi-site research network that will accelerate the translation of neurodevelopmental research on adolescence into AYA practice, promote scientific collaboration, and develop additional research capacity in the AYA health field.