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Fifth Framework Programme



Fifth Framework Programme - External Advisory Groups

External Advisory Group "Improving the socio-economic knowledge base"
Opinion on the Draft Workprogramme for the Key Action "Improving the socio-economic knowledge base"

This report is also available as PDF-file: socio1.pdf (55 Kb)

Discussed at the EAG meetings on 11.11.1998 and 1.12.1998

1. The future workprogramme should highlight a number of cross-cutting dimensions of the key action, which should serve as a "grid" for the orientation of applicants as well as a valuable input to the project evaluation procedure.

These crosscutting dimensions should not define research topics as such, but should be integrated into the research design of projects, wherever applicable.

The dimensions to be stressed in this respect include:

- Gender dimension

The gender dimension is an important factor for the analysis of many research questions regarding European society and economy, and should therefore, wherever this is the case, be an integral part of the research design of projects on the different research tasks.
In addition, it is also important to take into account other factors of variations in order to get a clearer view on European diversity.

- High quality comparable data

Research activities financed under this Key Action should, whenever possible, lead to the production of high quality data presenting a sufficient degree of comparability to contribute (a) to the progressive development of a cumulative body of knowledge and (b) to the establishment of a common research infrastructure.
To these ends, provisions should be made to ensure that the data produced be of easy access to other research teams and be easy to archive in a coherent way for the benefit of the scientific community.

- Innovative aspects

Particular attention should be paid to guarantee that new research teams feel attracted towards this Key Action and that innovative ideas will receive the necessary support.

- Implications for education and training

Throughout this key action, special attention should be given to the potential implications of the research findings on the education and training systems in Europe.

- Historical perspective

As the presence of a historical dimension is among the genuine elements of European research activities, the projects to be funded under this key action should, wherever relevant, integrate a historical perspective in their analytical work.

- European identity

The concept of "European identity" and, more generally, the factors shaping identities need much further clarification and should be addressed by research projects in the various research tasks

- Developments outside Europe

European collaborative research should not concentrate on a purely inward-looking perspective, but should, whenever relevant, also make efforts to position European developments in an intercontinental perspective and on a global scale.

2. For the first call, the research tasks should be regrouped into "clusters" in order:

  • to improve the embeddedness of the research activities in their broader societal context as well as in research context,
  • to allow applicants to deal with the broader picture around their specific research activity, and
  • to highlight the interrelations between the phenomena under investigation and to trace their potential impact on other phenomena, problems, and policy options.

Cluster 1 should regroup the following tasks:

  • Social and economic consequences of changing family structures
  • Changes in work and the effects on quality of life
  • Challenges to European welfare systems in a changing environment
  • Emerging concepts of work

Within this cluster, additional emphasis should be put on integrating economic analysis in this area, on the implications for the production system, on the need for coherent socio-economic data and on the intergenerational relationships.

Cluster 2 should regroup the following tasks:

  • The relationship of the financial sector to the economy and society as a whole
  • Internationalisation, technology and employment in different geographical environments
  • The decision making processes of technological development, deployment and use
  • The dynamics of knowledge in the economy
  • Employment and its relationship to growth

Within this cluster, particular emphasis should be put on the position of Europe in a globalising context and on the interlinkages between the different research tasks.

There is also a need to integrate and harmonise and further develop both macro- and micro-economic modelling at European level.

Cluster 3 should regroup the following tasks:

  • European integration and European identity
  • European construction and multi-level governance
  • Governance and media

    Within this task, more attention should be paid to the presently occurring structural changes in the media sector.

Within this cluster, more emphasis should be put on the issues relating to democracy and legitimacy in Europe.

The different research activities foreseen in the task "European societies in change: implications for education and training" should be kept, but regrouped under the three clusters. The distinction has to be made between, on the one hand, the specific research activities on education and research addressed here, and, on the other hand, the cross cutting dimension of the implications in all the research within this Key Action for education and training.

The task "Gender perspectives in policy making processes" should not be included in the workprogramme as a separate research task, but as highlighted in the previous chapter, the gender dimension should be regarded as a crosscutting dimension for this Key Action and therefore be an integral part of the research activities to be carried out under the various research tasks.

3. Regarding the "Impact of the action" chapter of the Draft Workprogramme, the Group wants to put emphasis on the following aspects:

  • The stimulation of innovative projects both on the conceptual and methodological level should be included.
  • Emphasis should be put on projects addressing specifically "European" research issues that can only be carried out at European level (as opposed to "national" research).
  • The research results should not only be synthesised in order to reach policy makers, but should also become accessible to the citizens. Research proposals should specify concretely how this will be achieved. This might contribute to a better public understanding of social sciences in Europe.
  • The importance of working towards comparable high quality data and support for all types of social sciences research infrastructure should again be stressed in this chapter.
  • Any analysis should highlight how research advances knowledge in one's own discipline, in neighbouring fields and for European society and its citizens at large.


External Advisory groups | Fifth Framework Programme | 17.02.2000

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