Research in the field of the human social sciences plays a fundamental role in understanding and managing the many ways in which society is currently changing. The social sciences, by their nature, enable us to include the way in which the societies are organised and governed and how they evolve and change. They also provide us the opportunity of identifying the factors which contribute to the social, economic, political and cultural change. Social research can supply solutions, for example, to the questions concerning the changing living conditions, current economic trends and migratory flows, changes in work, and in the roles of men and women, population trends, the need to have new forms of governance, etc. It therefore plays a fundamental role in the formulation and implementation of policies at all levels, including the European level.
Socio-economic research in the context of European RTD policy
The history of European research policy starts in 1984 with the adoption of the first RTD framework programme, but it was only in 1994, ten years later, that a socio-economic research programme - TSER - was created under the Fourth Framework Programme (FP4). This activity was continued in FP5 with the key action "Improving the socio-economic knowledge base". These two actions allowed the financing of 345 projects and the networking of at least 2 500 teams of European research workers, which corresponds to a financial effort of more than 260 million euros on the part of the Union.
Support for Research
Community action will concentrate on three major fields
The advent of a knowledge-based society requires improved means of communicating and using knowledge and opportunities for lifelong learning. These developments will be within a socio-economic and demographic context which itself is being called into question.
Citizenship and governance must evolve with a view to increasing globalisation, European integration and Union enlargement and the emergence of new forms of cultural identity and social dialogue. Specifically, the Union will support:
€ 225 million