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VIU/LIVES Winter School Life Course and Vulnerabilities

VIU/LIVES Winter School Life Course and Vulnerabilities March 8 to 12, 2021

March 8-12, 2021

Applications open: October 20, 2020 – January 15, 2021 via the VIU website | Deadline extended until January 31, 2021

Please note: the program has been moved online.

As the COVID-19 pandemic is ongoing, VIU in agreement with the Scientific coordinators and faculty decided to move the activity online. The format and agenda will be consequently updated and available soon. The fees have been revised.

This is the sixth edition of the LIVES Winter School, the second organized by Venice International University and led by the two VIU member universities: the University of Lausanne and the University of Padua.

During an intensive one-week program, doctoral students and young researchers will work on various fields of Life Course research through a multidisciplinary approach (Sociology, Psychology, Social Psychology, Life-span Psychology, Social Demography and Social Policies) led by internationally renowned experts.

In particular, the Winter School will focus on training the participants in the drafting of research projects or journal articles as a fundamental aspect of the academic career they are approaching. With a “learning -by-doing” approach, participants will go through all stages of these drafting processes.


Who is it for?

The School first targets PhD students, but postdoc researchers can also apply.

Disciplines involved are Psychology, Sociology, Social Psychology, Life-span Psychology, Social Demography and Social Policy, Statistics and Socioeconomics, depending on the tutors and the workshop contents. The common topic of the workshops is vulnerability across the life course.


Thematic workshops:

1.  Life course lens on cognitive decline in later life

Social science and epidemiological research have showed that health is distributed along a social gradient, and social differences in cognitive health during later life have been broadly examined and established. The life course lens, however, enables one to examine the sources of this social gradient in health with a more comprehensive view, by exploring the role of various biological, psychological, and social mechanisms across the entire life of individuals.

This workshop uses a life course lens to examine the early origins of inequalities in cognitive status and cognitive decline during later life.

This project aims to conduct two forms of review:

  1. A scoping review to synthetize the amount of evidence on the association between life course misfortune (during childhood, adolescence, and adulthood) and cognitive health status and decline in later life.
  2. A mapping review identifying life course approaches used in the studies included in the scoping review, coupled with a visual synthesis of the degree of evidence supporting each framework. The scoping and mapping reviews will enhance mastery of the relevant literature and lay the foundation for original research on the topic.


  • Stéphane Cullati, LIVES Centre, University of Fribourg
  • Kenneth Ferraro, Purdue University, USA 
  • Stefan Sieber, LIVES Centre, University of Geneva

2.  The impact of age-related stereotypes on (cognitive) ageing: myth or reality?

Compared to research on racism and sexism, age-related stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination (i.e. ageism) have only recently attracted the interest of scientists. The available literature points to an impact of age-related stereotypes on older adults’ cognitive and physical health, well-being, and daily functioning, both in the short and the long term. This workshop will address a number of questions to better understand these issues, including: are these stereotype-based beliefs valid in the real world? Do these stereotypes really impact ageing trajectories as well as cognitive capacities and performances? What are the mechanisms underlying these effects? Can we limit the impact of age-related stereotypes on older adults’ quality of life? How can we measure this potential impact of age-related stereotypes, prejudices, and discrimination? Through the exploration of these research topics, the participants will be guided in acquiring basic practical skills that will help them to plan, navigate, and conduct a research project.


  • Christian Maggiori, LIVES Centre, HES-SO – University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland, School of Social work Fribourg
  • Erika Borella, School of Psychology, University of Padova

The online week will be preceded by an introductory session. During the week of the program, intensive daily sessions of around 4 hours each will be scheduled, in order to involve participants across different time zones (1:00-4:00 pm CET, tentatively). Student participants will receive further tasks and a VIU elearning platform will be available in order to share resources and readings.



Certificate of attendance will be issued at the end of the course.

ECTS credits equivalence: 2



  • Students of VIU, LIVES Doctoral Program and its affiliated member universities: € 150
  • Students of other universities:  € 300
  • The fees will cover tuition and course materials.
  • VIU Alumni are eligible for a reduced fee.

PhD candidates and post-docs from EU universities may be eligible for Erasmus+ mobility grant support. Candidates should consult the International Office in their own university for information about the calls for applications for funding. VIU will provide any supporting documentation requested for such applications. Contact VIU Erasmus office: erasmus [at]

Admitted candidates will be notified by February 5, 2021 and should pay the fees by February 10, 2021.

For further information:  summerschools [at]



  • Venice International University (IT)
  • University of Lausanne & University of Geneva - Swiss National Center of Competence in Research LIVES (CH)
  • Università degli Studi di Padova - Department of Philosophy, Sociology, Education and Applied Psychology (IT)
  • KU Leuven, Faculty of Social Sciences (BE)


Affiliated institutions

  • Bremen International Graduate School of Social Sciences (BIGSSS), University of Bremen & Jacobs University (D)
  • Hallie Ford Center for Healthy Children & Families, Oregon State University (USA)
  • Centre for Population, Aging and Health, Western University (CA)
  • Ageing and Living Conditions Programme (ALC), Umeå University (SE)
Event information
VIU/LIVES Winter School