Dr Pablo Gracia secures ERC Consolidator Grant

Posted on: 10 May 2023

DIGINEQ study to explore how adolescent digital use is linked to social inequalities in well-being outcomes

Dr Pablo Gracia from the School of Social Sciences and Philosophy has secured a prestigious European Research Council (ERC) Consolidator Grant. His work will explore links between digital use and social inequalities in adolescents’ well-being.

The highly competitive ERC Consolidator Grants are awarded to academics to build research teams to conduct pioneering research across all disciplines. They form part of the EU’s Horizon Europe programme. Dr Gracia joins recent ERC Consolidators awardees Drs Marius de Leeuw and Sarah Doyle who secured ERC Consolidator Grants earlier this year.

Pablo Gracia, Associate Professor of Sociology

The ERC has granted Dr Gracia €2 million over a five-year period for his project DIGINEQ – Digital Time Use, Adolescent Well-Being and Social Inequalities. Dr Gracia and his team will tackle a fundamental question in our unequal and digitalised world – how does adolescent digital use link to the reproduction of social inequalities?

Pablo Gracia, Associate Professor of Sociology, said:

“I am incredibly excited that my DIGINEQ project has been awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant. This grant will allow my team to develop an innovative scientific framework to understand a major challenge of our times: how digital and social inequalities are interrelated and shape unequal trajectories in adolescents’ well-being.

“This grant will allow me to apply unconventional approaches and methodologies in my field and to hire the most talented PhDs and postdoctoral researchers to consolidate a vibrant team of researchers working together on this exciting agenda. I am honoured to have the opportunity to contribute to understanding these important scientific and societal challenges through this ERC grant.”   

Commenting on the award, Provost Dr Linda Doyle said:

“Congratulations to Pablo on this fantastic achievement. His project is timely and ambitious. It is vitally important to understand how digital use among adolescents is associated with the reproduction of inequalities in society. This ERC grant will be massively helpful as Pablo and his team set about exploring this important challenge.”

Dr Gracia is the 11th Trinity researcher to secure an ERC award under the 2022 funding calendar bringing the total funding secured by Trinity researchers under this cycle to €16m. He joins four ERC Starting Grant awardees, two ERC Consolidator Grant awardees, one ERC Advanced Grant awardee and three ERC Proof of Concept awardees.

Since the inception of the ERC programme, over 60 ERC Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy grants have been won by Trinity researchers across all three Faculties and 18 Schools.

Prof Sinead Ryan, Dean of Research, added:

“I am delighted to congratulate Pablo Gracia on his success in the ERC Consolidator competition. This is a testament to Pablo’s excellent project which, in taking an ambitious and unconventional approach to such a complex research challenge is truly in the spirit of the ERC’s mission to fund ‘high-risk/high-gain’ research.”

More about DIGINEQ – Digital Time Use, Adolescent Well-Being and Social Inequalities

The project DIGINEQ will tackle a fundamental question in our unequal and digitalised world: how does adolescent digital use link to the reproduction of social inequalities?

Dr Gracia’s team will develop a novel time-use framework to get precise knowledge on how adolescents’ use of digital devices in daily life forms social inequalities in their present and future well-being.

The project DIGINEQ has three major scientific goals. First, it seeks to understand how changes in digital engagement shape socioeconomic gaps in well-being outcomes from childhood up to late adolescence. Second, it aims to disentangle the everyday mechanisms that can link adolescents’ digital use to social inequalities in well-being. Third, it pursues to answer if digital interventions can help to promote and equalise adolescents’ well-being and healthy digital habits across socioeconomic groups.

Dr Gracia and his team will integrate multiple disciplines and fields and apply pioneering methodologies, including smartphone sensor methods to accurately track adolescent digital engagement and well-being in real time; mixed-method digital interventions with parents and adolescents to foster and equalise adolescent healthy digital habits and well-being; and large-scale longitudinal surveys with highly precise 24-hour time-diary data to measure unequal trajectories in digital use and well-being from childhood to late adolescence.


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