Footprints. Young People: Expectations, Ideals, Beliefs

Mission and Vision 

The need to carry out this research was identified starting from an initial investigation into what already existed regarding research focused on young people. We realised that there was no project that studied young people from an international point of view (the vast majority of projects are at national level) and with a broad perspective to try to understand, with the openness and hope from a Christian anthropological vision, the young people, their desires, values, expectations, etc.

This multi-annual project called Footprints. Young people: Expectations, Ideals, Beliefs (8 years) and multi-phase research project is based on continuous listening to young people in order to try to better understand their values, expectations and hopes.

Without aiming to be exhaustive, some of the areas of research of this "continuous listening" to young people are outlined: their priority values, the reasons for their decisions, their expectations for the future, their ideals for society, the hopes they place in the family and in friendship, the examples they admire, their vision of work, their concerns for solidarity, their religious experience, their perceptions of the Church, etc.

The project involves surveys are submitted to young people. The questionnaires are prepared by the research team with the help of all the partners involved in the project, while implementation is carried out by a qualified and internationally renowned polling company.



The aim of the research

The objectives of the research are descriptive, evaluative and have an educational and/or training purpose. The results may be of interest to those who directly or indirectly deal with the character formation of young people in its various dimensions: affective, relational, human and/or spiritual.

The research is aimed at a general audience, it is opened to anyone, no matter their religion or beliefs.

Also, there are other objectives like:


In relation to other pontifical universities, this is the first continuous research project on youth, apart from being a competitive advantage it also provides the opportunity of establishing relations with some Vatican offices working on the same issues.



Between May, 20th and 23rd 2024, the research group Footprints. Young people: Expectations, Ideals, Beliefs took part at a Congress organized by the European Academy of Religion at Palermo.

The group was there in order to present the first results of the survey on youth, religion and values that was done in November 2023.

From the team were presents: prof. rev. José María Díaz Dorronsoro, prof. Gema Bellido (both of them from the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross), Charo Sádaba (University of Navarra, Spain) and Karen Sanders (St Mary's University, UK). 

On 29 February 2024, the results of an international survey on youth, values and religion were presented, promoted by the Footprints Research Group. Young People: Expectations, Ideals, Beliefs of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross in Rome, together with seven other universities around the world, with the support of the Spanish agency GAD3.

In order to measure the state of religiosity and faith among young people, the survey took place in November and December 2023 in eight countries: Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Spain and the United Kingdom. The sample consisted of 4,889 young people between the ages of 18 and 29. Among the most relevant findings is the increase for spirituality among young people worldwide.

Interest in spirituality among young people is growing worldwide: this is one of the findings of a survey conducted by the Research Group Footprints Research Group. Young People: Expectations, Ideals, Beliefs of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross, in collaboration with the Spanish polling institute GAD3, which was presented on February 29, 2024, at 10:45 am at the University (Aula Álvaro del Portillo).

The analysis took place during November and December 2023 and was conducted in 8 countries: Argentina, Brazil, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, the Philippines, Spain, and the United Kingdom. The sample consists of 4,889 young people aged between 18 and 29 years old.

On January 31, 2024, the deadline for participating in the second Call for Projects, launched last September to welcome interdisciplinary and international research proposals, expired. Fourteen project proposals involving 53 professors from Santa Croce and a significant number of researchers from other universities were received.

Each proposal will be scientifically evaluated by a group of experts, both internal and external to the University, coordinated by the Scientific Committee composed of professors Giuseppe Tanzella-Nitti and Héctor Franceschi from Santa Croce and Professor Ángel J. Gómez Montoro from the University of Navarra. Subsequently, the projects will be validated and approved by the Rector's Council, taking into account the available financial resources.


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