Promise Project

Promoting Youth Involvement and Social Engagement (PROMISE) is a major EU funded research project which aims to explore young people’s role in shaping society; past, present and future.

The project brings together twelve collaborating centres in Estonia, Finland, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, the Russian Federation, Croatia and the UK.

This project is funded under the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Grant Agreement no. 693221. It will run for three years from May 2016 to April 2019.

Project Aims

Young people are often at the forefront of social, cultural and political change, often driven by their energy and creativity, but also by their frustration at the challenges they face. PROMISE aims to investigate young people’s responses to these challenges, and seeks ways to transform this into positive social achievement. Through an understanding of the experiences, values and attitudes of European youth PROMISE will get to the heart of barriers and opportunities for social engagement.

PROMISE focuses specifically on young people ‘in conflict’ with authority, and usually, therefore, in conflict with social norms. We contend that these ‘conflicted youth’ are seen to be the most problematic in terms of positive social engagement, often triggering negative and punitive responses from authority, in turn furthering marginalisation and stigmatisation. The negative effects of stigma and marginalisation reduce opportunities for young people to engage positively in social action, and as a result, much of the creativity, innovation and energy within these groups is directed away from positive social change. PROMISE believes that conflicted youth present significant opportunities for change and should therefore be the prime focus of policy makers and practitioners.


Using mixed qualitative and ethnographic methods, PROMISE will explain in detail alternative ways for young people to innovate and participate in society. Besides, PROMISE will engage young people throughout all the stages of the research, with a variety of participatory tools such as photo elicitation, peer research and an intensive use of social networks, providing a space for them to set the agenda, document their situations and articulate their needs. The project also gathers quantitative data to explore differences in youth attitudes and behaviour across Europe.