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Consultation on Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in the 7th Framework Programme (FP7)

As part of the preparation for FP7, the European Commission is currently undertaking a wide ranging consultation of key stakeholders of European Research policy.
The research community is invited to provide their views on what they consider to be the key research challenges in the future.

In this context, a web consultation on the future of social sciences and humanities was launched in November and December 2004. The aim of this consultation was to provide an opportunity for all researchers but especially those within the EU (and Associated Countries) to offer their views on the possible priorities for research in the Social Sciences and Humanities (Sciences humaines) in Europe with a view to the preparation of FP7.

A significant number of responses were received during that period and we would like to thank all of those who have contributed to this exercise.

Brief analysis:

In general, respondents agreed that the future research agenda in SSH should be built on previous research. However, most of the contributions also called for a broadening of the scope of the Research. In this line, we could identify two major inter-related themes which most respondents have refereed to in various ways and in different combinations; they are: Economic, social and cult ural sustainability as a cross cutting issue; and Europe in a global context. Examples of themes which have not been extensively addressed in previous FP’s, but which are frequently highlighted, are: ageing, and demographic changes; research on business sustainability; and finally research on media, communication and culture.
As far as Humanities are concerned, a number of contributions suggested for EU research to address new areas such as: anthropological studies of European culture and origins; archaeological and historical studies of technological development of societies; European languages and cultures; History of contemporary changes; history of religions, welfare and values, etc.
In relation to the question on the specific needs of infrastructures for SSH, most contributions refer to the need of further harmonisation and standardisation of datasets, centralised databases, digitalisation of paper-based information, web-based archives, etc., all this in view of promoting comparative research of high quality.

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