Participate / Doctoral Network

Empowering Change: Unveiling the Impact of the PARTICIPATE Network on Cyberbullying Prevention

Isabel Machado da Silva with the PARTICIPATE Network logo, symbolizing efforts in cyberbullying prevention

The Vision of the PARTICIPATE Network in Combatting Cyberbullying

PARTICIPATE is poised to address a significant void in international research efforts by dedicating resources to support the advancement of 10 new PhDs. These doctorate programs will be spearheaded by some of Europe’s foremost authorities in the field of anti-cyberbullying. The project serves as a convergence point for Europe’s preeminent experts in anti-cyberbullying, aiming to establish a robust research and training network. Through this initiative, the following objectives will be pursued:

  • Cultivating a cadre of world-class Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) equipped with versatile interdisciplinary and intersectoral competencies. These researchers will be empowered to collaborate with various stakeholders such as parents, youth, educators, and professionals, enhancing the efficacy of cyberbullying prevention and mitigation strategies across the European landscape.
  • Introducing a pioneering facet to cyberbullying research by delving into the extensive cohort of parents, marking a watershed moment in the study of this demographic group. By scrutinizing this demographic in depth, PARTICIPATE seeks to unravel nuanced insights crucial for devising effective interventions.
  • Capitalizing on the diverse knowledge reservoirs and perspectives fostered across different national boundaries, academic disciplines, youth organizations, and technology firms. PARTICIPATE aims to amalgamate these varied insights into a cohesive, synergistic collaboration aimed at combating cyberbullying with strategic precision throughout Europe.
  • Crafting a robust understanding of parental dynamics to facilitate the creation of a cutting-edge toolkit tailored for educators and other professionals engaged in cyberbullying prevention efforts. By bolstering expertise in parental engagement, PARTICIPATE endeavors to furnish practitioners with sophisticated resources to curb cyberbullying incidents effectively.

Through these multifaceted endeavors, PARTICIPATE not only seeks to advance the understanding of cyberbullying dynamics but also endeavors to equip stakeholders with the tools and knowledge necessary to foster safer digital environments for European youth.

Scenic coastal town outside Dublin with blue sky and sea, featuring the PARTICIPATE Network

Embarking on a Non-Academic Journey with ISPCC alongside the PARTICIPATE Network

One of the distinct features of being a MSCA Doctoral Candidate (DC) is being able to experience non-academic and academic secondments. As PhD students, these secondments allow us to broaden our perspectives, network, and most importantly, they allow an exchange of information, ideas and skills between the various partners.

Earlier this month, I started my non-academic secondment at the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC), which marks the beginning of the various secondments that all DCs will experience between now and 2026.

Starting working in a new context and new place is exciting. I have been given many training opportunities that allowed me to understand child protection in the Irish context and in all its complexities. As ISPCC hosts the Irish Childline, I have been receiving training on active listening, and becoming closely familiar with the supports available to young people in Ireland. I have also had the opportunity to meet with various professionnels working with children – from teachers to football coaches. These experiences are enabling me to foster a deeper understanding of the Irish context and to feel much more confident in starting my data collection in schools next September. This secondment has allowed me to share with ISPCC new research and understandings on (cyber)bullying and their possible implications for the organisation’s own Anti-Bullying programme, SHIELD.

ISPCC is located all over the Republic of Ireland, and I am lucky to be based in their new office in a lovely coastal town just outside Dublin city, so I have been enjoying the scenery (and ice cream). At the same time, a secondment is demanding and requires adaptation. The most challenging side of a secondment for me so far is to balance my university work with my new secondment schedule, while making sure I give myself enough time to rest. I feel very privileged to have supervisors who understand the nature of these secondments and are flexible in adjusting my work, trainings and meetings for my own and the PARTICIPATE Network’s benefits. In the words of a very dear friend of mine,  “a PhD is a marathon, not a sprint”.

Savoring a delightful treat by the seaside with the PARTICIPATE Network Ice cream cone against a backdrop of the sea, featuring the PARTICIPATE Network

Sharing Knowledge and Building Partnerships: The Role of the PARTICIPATE Network

At the end of this MSCA project, we will share with all our Associate Partners various toolkits on Digital Safety, Parent-School parthernips and cyberbullying. Our vision and goal is to ensure that our secondments strenghen relations between our universities and relevant stakeholders, allowing an exchange of information and support in our efforts to address (cyber)bullying.


Isabel Machado da Silva

Isabel Machado da Silva with the PARTICIPATE Network logo, symbolizing efforts in cyberbullying prevention