The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development is a laboratory within the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. The Institute has the mandate and goal to be a center of excellence for the conduct and dissemination of top-tier scholarship and for the education and professional development of graduate and undergraduate students interested in enhancing the lives of diverse children, families, and communities.

The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development envisions a world wherein the strengths possessed by all young people are used to promote their positive development, life chances, and civic engagement, and, as well, to advance the institutions of civil society. Predicated on the generation and application of developmental research, the promotion of positive development among diverse youth will occur through integrated civic actions of practitioners, policy makers, and young people themselves.


  • We value and celebrate the diversity of individuals, families, communities, and cultures
  • We value social justice
  • We value democracy and the institutions of civil society
  • We value the integration of applied developmental science and the education and professional training of the next generation of scholars, practitioners, and policy makers working to further the positive development of all youth.


  • All young people have strengths
  • All communities possess resources to enhance the development of youth
  • All youth have the right to the resources necessary to support their positive development
  • The potential to develop in more positive ways may be actualized when there is an alignment across life of the strengths of youth and of their families, schools, and communities
  • Youth civic engagement and thriving youth develop in mutually influential ways. By strengthening this relationship we enhance the lives of youth and further the institutions of civil society

The Institute for Applied Research in Youth Development helps build the knowledge base vital for researchers, policy makers, and practitioners to foster positive development, improved life chances, and contributions of young people. This commitment is rooted in an evidence-based approach to teaching, research, and application that emphasizes the strengths of youth and their families, schools, and communities.