Socio-economic sciences and humanities (SSH) research is intensifying across Europe. Helping to increase awareness of the results of this research, especially in non SSH research areas, is the goal of the PLATON+ project, a new initiative partly supported by the EU with EUR 997 000 in funding.
The PLATON+ consortium will develop activities to disseminate SSH research results to four major stakeholder groups: researchers, businesses including small and medium enterprises (SMEs), policy decision-makers, and civil society organisations (CSOs).
During the course of the project, 'the partners will integrate SSH research to technological-related research by networking and engaging SSH research organisations and researchers with their counterparts from other research fields, such as sustainable development, health and food', explains Dimitris Papageorgiou of Q-PLAN N.G., who is the coordinating the project.
While researchers ‘will have the opportunity to collaborate and combine their competences under multidisciplinary activities', policymakers at European, national and regional level, and enterprises and CSOs, 'will be better informed about SSH research results and may use these results to improve their operations’, explains Mr Papageorgiou.
The 'importance of socio-economic trends in competitiveness, growth and generally in the future of SMEs is high and undisputable', believes Mr Papageorgiou. An important part of the project’s work will therefore involve building networks between SMEs and researchers on SSH issues, and identifying and exploiting common interests and collaboration potential between these two groups. The PLATON+ builds on the work of the PLATON project, the first EU-funded project aimed at enhancing the participation of SMEs and SME groupings in European socio-economic research activities.
Several dissemination activities are foreseen under the project, including workshops, events and international conferences. E-services including databases to share research ideas, as well as a series of publications including fact sheets, policy briefs and policy reviews, are also planned. Furthermore, the project will host training sessions for non-SSH researchers and business community training on SSH issues and research results.
In terms of its impact on SSH research, Mr Papageorgiou believes that, 'PLATON+ will have a catalytic and long-lasting impact on the wide dissemination of SSH research and its integration to non-SSH research themes [in the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7)].' This in turn is expected to help avert any further fragmentation of SSH research in Europe.
Mr Papageorgiou estimates that over 1 300 people will participate in the project's events: 50% from the research sector, 20% industry, 10% policy and decision-makers, 10% CSOs and 10% other. He also calculates that the project’s web portal could help up to 15 000 users, and 6 000 organisations to contact the project partners directly.
The PLATON+ consortium is made up of 12 partners from 9 EU Member States as well as Turkey.