The war ends, the foreign soldiers depart, and some may well be leaving babies behind.
NOPOOR final conference in Brussels, 6-7 June 2017
Researchers from 15 countries present successes and failures of existing poverty alleviation programmes and discuss the multidimensional aspects of poverty. Presentations and debates bring insights to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and to the EU’s agenda of development cooperation policy.
European Social Sciences and Humanities are still world-wide scientific references. They occupy a position that is close to that of the USA in terms of articles produced. However, a strong core-periphery structure persists between different country groups. European funding programs for research, especially for collaborative research have high impact on international scientific collaboration within Europe and beyond, especially with regard to peripheral and semi-peripheral countries. The Interco-SSH FP7 collaborative research project published its policy recommendations on how to improve international and interdisciplinary cooperation in the Social Sciences and the Humanities.
On April 26, the Commission presented the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR). The EPSR sets out a number of key principles and rights to support fair and well-functioning labour markets and welfare systems. The initiative is designed as a compass for a process of convergence towards better working and living conditions among participating Member States. It is primarily conceived for the euro area but open to all EU Member States. The 20 principles and rights enshrined in the Pillar are structured around three categories: equal opportunities and access to the labour market, fair working conditions and social protection and inclusion. They place the focus on how to deliver on the promise in the Treaties of a highly competitive social market economy, aiming at full employment and social progress.
Implementing the principles and rights of the EPSR will require various legislative and non-legislative initiatives. As a first step, the Communication presenting the EPSR was accompanied by initiatives related to work-life balance, information for workers, access to social protection and working time. A social scoreboard was also established to track trends and performances across EU countries in 12 areas and to assess progress towards a social "triple A" for the EU as a whole. This analysis will feed into the European Semester of economic policy coordination.
The European research community played a key role in the consultation process leading to the preparation of the EPSR. Directorate-General for Research and Innovation organised a one day seminar on 'Work, Welfare and Inequalities in Europe – The Research Perspective' (10 October 2016 in Brussels) to present scientific evidence in the fields of welfare policies, labour markets and employment, social investment and poverty. At the same time, the evidence base generated by projects funded under the EC's Framework Programmes informs the recent policy and implementation monitoring initiatives.
The EU funded research project MIME answers the Commission's request for analysis and practical orientations regarding the handling of individual and societal multilingualism in a time of change. The project is in particular focused on the public policy aspects of multilingualism, and provides useful conceptual tools, helping decision makers to weigh the pros and cons of various strategies for handling the multilingual challenge.
The Great Start in Life conference brought researchers, policymakers, early childhood education and care and primary school staff together to discuss how to create the conditions for the best possible education in the early years. The final report of the conference summarises the presentations and discussions from the two-day event.
DG Research and Innovation 'Open and Inclusive Societies' organised the one day seminar 'Work, Welfare and Inequalities in Europe – The Research Perspective' (October 10, 2016 Brussels) to present scientific evidence in relation to the present and future of welfare systems, labour markets and the content of work, reversing inequalities, social investment and poverty etc. The seminar brought leading researchers in the fields of social and employment policies together with EU policy makers, international experts and other relevant stakeholders.
Findings were discussed from a policy perspective and contributed to the public dialogue concerning the European Pillar of Social Rights (EPSR) launched by the European Commission in March 2016. During the seminar a Policy Review entitled "Fighting poverty and exclusion through social investment: A European research perspective" was also presented. The Review presents evidence from twenty 7th Framework Programme research projects on issues pertaining to poverty and exclusion; social investment and protection; new risks and vulnerabilities of different social groups; tax and benefit policies for promoting inclusion and overall policy learning concerning what works, where and why. This report presents the main findings and discussions.
The recession, an ash cloud, floods, a food scandal or terrorist attacks; each event is different, but is it possible that they behave in a similar way? Social scientists are identifying characteristics of crises to help us prevent them from happening and respond when they occur.
On the 5th of December, DG RTD, Unit Open and Inclusive Societies will host a conference "Europe as a Global Actor". During this conference the representatives of projects selected under the Societal Challenge 6 of Horizon 2020 in the 2015 call will present their understanding of a number of research problems they investigate - such as Europe as a global and regional actor, European contributions to global justice or responsible trade as well as cultural and science diplomacy.
MeCoDEM – Media Conflict and Democratisation – has developed the tool Mecodify to make the analysis and visualisation of big data easy. It emerged out of MeCoDEM’s work on ICTs and democratisation conflicts as a tool to allow MeCoDEM’s social science researchers to extract, analyse and visualise tweets in relation to particular conflicts in Egypt, Serbia, South Africa and Kenya.
The EU funded project bEUCitizen debates Brexit and its consequences for European Citizens.
On 18 November the EC funded projects MeCoDEM, INFOCORE and VOXpol will have a workshop in Brussels on the role of social media in conflicts with among others the Egyptian activist and blogger, Wael Abbas. The workshop will discuss questions such as how social media play a role in assisting democratic change during times of conflict in today’s digitally connected world and/or how social media are used to escalate conflicts and aid the formation of extremist networks? Have the utopian visions - often presented in the media during the so-called “Arab Spring” - of how social media can trigger political change now transformed into dystopian visions of social media used for surveillance, anti-democratic propaganda and repression?
A European research perspective : a policy review
The fight against poverty and social exclusion is at the heart of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. With more than 120 million people in the EU at risk of poverty or social exclusion, EU leaders have pledged to bring at least 20 million people out of poverty and social exclusion by 2020. In the aftermath of the crisis welfare states are called to address multi-level social risks while securing their financial sustainability.
European societies, national governments and institutions of the European Union are currently facing an important challenge. Terrorist attacks hit France, Denmark and Belgium between 2014 and 2016, after several other deadly terrorist attacks in the United Kingdom, Spain, Belgium, the Netherlands and France in previous years. This specific terrorist phenomenon is new. A newly published Policy Review takes stock of the available scientific knowledge on this new form of terrorism and suggest what more should be done to increase this knowledge.
The project NOPOOR analyses, among other issues, the impact of globalisation and international migration on poverty. Addressing questions such as: what is the influence of globalisation on the living conditions of the poor in less developed countries and how do different strategies of inte¬gration into world markets affect poverty at its different levels, the project seeks to understand the dynamic effects of migration and remittances on rural poverty and inequality, and to analyse to what extent migration supports local development.
Prof Shyama Ramani and Dr. Eduardo Urias from UNU-MERIT, partner in the EC funded project MNEmerge, spoke in a side event of the First Annual Multi-stakeholder Forum on Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, June 2016. In her opening speech, Prof. Ramani raised the need for a holistic “systems” approach in order to get even close to achieving the SDGs. Dr. Urias spoke about the role of science, technology and innovation in improving the acceptability, affordability and availability of drugs for pandemics.
Social sciences and humanities research projects funded under the European Union’s Framework Programmes for Research and Innovation cover several aspects relevant for the EU’s external actions and contribute to the evidence base and sound understanding of the external environment that the EU operates in, in particular when it comes to understanding the cultural complexity of the EU’s partners.
The FP 7 large scale 4 year research project bEUCitizen - Barriers towards EU Citizenship - has held its penultimate annual conference in Oviedo, Spain from 29 June to 1 July. Conference proceedings were conducted in the context and immediate aftermath of the BREXIT referendum in the UK and many discussions centred on the meaning of the negative referendum for EU Citizenship and the future of the EU in general, especially as the project is coming to fruition now and engages in narrative and scenario development. The conference attracted wider interest and the regional newspaper La NUEVA ESPANIA run a story in its 30 June edition.
Did the Panama papers reveal anything new about tax evasion that we did not already know? How does tax evasion contribute to inequalities in Europe, and does it impact women more? The EC funded research project FairTax provides some answers to these questions.
MAXCAP's latest policy brief reveals that EU institutions have coped well with the accession of a large number of new member states. Research also shows that EU accession conditionality and support have had a positive impact on the political systems and economies of candidate countries. By contrast, the EU needs to strengthen its political conditionality and revise its economic policies towards both new member states and non-candidate neighbouring countries.
On Friday 10 June, the European Commission presented the New Skills Agenda for Europe. The initiative is amongst the top priorities outlined in the Commission's Work Programme for 2016 and aims to pave the way for a joint action towards boosting human capital, employability and competitiveness. Open and Inclusive Societies actively contributed to the evidence base of the initiative.
The RICHES FP7 research project presented its final policy recommendations concerning cultural heritage. Researchers, heritage professional and policy officials from 20 EU-funded research projects and from national authorities or the European Commission gathered for a fruitful exchange in Brussels on 23 May. The meeting report highlights the outcomes of the discussion. Two years before the announced 2018 European Year for Cultural Heritage, heritage professionals started the reflection on how to bring back culture and the diverse but shared European heritage into the heart of the European project and citizens' understanding of Europeanisation. Steps were also taken toward the creation of a sustainable, flexible exchange platform of various projects working with European cultural heritage.
22 June 2016, Brussels
The workshop will present the preliminary findings of three EC funded social sciences and humanities projects, which investigate various aspects of transition in countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The project Arabtrans focuses on the transformations of the region in general, while the projects Power2Youth and SAHWA address the role of the youth, including youth engagement, cultures, youth exclusion and prospects for youth-led changes in the region.
Against the background of the European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, DISCIT has explored three dimensions of citizenship:
Study shows that young people migrating to Britain from across the EU and elsewhere are well integrated into the British labour market and that 60 % of all migrants have higher employment rates, work longer, and are less likely to receive unemployment benefit when compared to their British counterparts.
The Conference Report of the International Conference, Understanding and Tackling the Migration Challenge: The Role of Research, organised by DG RTD and held in Brussels on the 4-5 February 2016 summarises the main discussions and conclusions of the conference, identifies immediate and long-term research needs and provides recommendations for policy making.
Corruption is recognised as a major policy problem across the world. The recent publication of the Panama Papers has highlighted the varying success of combating corruption. Four years into the project, researchers of the ANTICORRP project are discussing the success of the last 15 years of anti-corruption policies. What do the revelations in the Panama Papers tell us about the elites in the developed world? Is Greece successfully moving towards ethical universalism? Are there more examples like Greece than we would care to admit?
This FamiliesAndSociety policy brief tackles the role of laws and policies in shaping gendered interdependencies in families; the way the “sandwich generation” (those likely to raise a child or a grandchild and care for parents at the same time) cares for older parents across countries; transfers in Europe from ageing parents to adult children and vice versa, and the extent to which the financial crisis has affected intergenerational patterns of family support across households.
The final book of the ENGOV project 'Environmental governance in Latin America' studies the nature and background of contemporary environmental governance in Latin America as well as the possibilities for more sustainability and socio-environmental justice. In eleven chapters by an international team of experts, important contemporary political changes in environmental governance are discussed, and new initiatives are analysed.
After four years of research in the EU project Nopoor, the Indian partners and NOPOOR guest researchers presented their new insights towards fighting poverty in a two days policy workshop, reflecting to the current Agenda 2030 of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
8 April 2016, Brussels
DG RTD hosted a workshop on Cultures & Citizenship, which gathered policy relevant Social Sciences and Humanities research projects. The workshop focused on different aspects of cultures and citizenship and explored the emergence, the current challenges and the perspectives of cultural and rights-based Europeanisation. Research results, findings, conclusions and recommendations from the workshop will provide scientific evidence for policy making at all levels.
The European Commission and the European Union External Action Service have published the summary report of the public consultations on the 'post-Cotonou' agreement - the partnership and relations after 2020 between the European Union and the members of the African, Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP). Read the interviews and contributions from social sciences and humanities projects funded by the European Commission that address issues of relevance for the future cooperation between the EU and the ACP.
Interview with Prof Lester Salamon, part of the FP7 funded SSH project Third Sector Impact on the powerful role of the Social Economy and the Third Sector for job creation and for social innovation.
At the end of the ambitious RurbanAfrica FP7 project several researchers involved in fieldwork were asked to tell in short interviews what they felt was their most significant ‘finding’.
Interview with Bea Cantillon, Professor of Social Policy and Director of the Herman Deleeck Centre for Social Policy at the University of Antwerp
The European Commission published today a Communication launching a consultation on a European Pillar of Social Rights. The initiative is part of President Juncker's agenda for upward convergence in employment and social affairs.
Interview with Marta Soler-Gallart, coordinator of Impact-EV
One of the EU funded project, Impact-EV's main objectives is to develop a permanent system of selection, monitoring, evaluation and comparison of the impact and outcomes from European SSH research. Analysing, communicating and improving social impact from research is one of the most pressing demands to all scientific fields.
The peace prospects in the Middle East have been very dim as security issues have for several years now blocked all peace talk. But as David Newman, partner in the EU funded research project EUBORDERSCAPES and Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences and chair of geopolitics at Ben-Gurion University, observes, the security concerns may actually even threaten peace. From the very qualitative research he led in the regions among Israeli and Palestinian* children on each side of the Separation Wall within the Hebron-KiryatArba area, it is likely that both people are growing more and more alien to each other. As he stress, “the invisibility and lack of knowledge about the other side which has also resulted from the construction of the physical barrier has created a much deeper feeling of fear and insecurity among the younger generations”.
The European Commission has established through DG Research & Innovation intense cooperation with the OECD's Science, Technology and Innovation Directorate. This cooperation has resulted in the launch of the STI Policy Survey 2016, which is a joint product by both institutions. In addition, comprehensive work on the incidence and impact of R&D tax incentives has been launched and an observatory for public sector innovation is being set up.
The OECD Blue Sky 2016 will be held in Ghent, Belgium on 19-21 September 2016. It will showcase examples of data and indicator development with the potential for international adoption, as well as examples of ground-breaking application of existing or new sources addressing questions and providing evidence on the state of science and innovation systems and the role of STI policies worldwide.
To support the current Dutch Presidency of the EU in its objective of strengthening public administration and developing evidence based integrity and anti-corruption policies, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) has commissioned researchers from the EU funded project ANTICORRP from the Hertie School of Governance to analyse the relation between integrity and trust in the EU member states.
On January 27 the College of Commissioners hosted an orientation debate on President Juncker's initiative on establishing a European Pillar of Social Rights. DG RTD Open and Inclusive Societies asked Prof. Maurizio Ferrera to elucidate the issues at stake.
How should the welfare state evolve in the 21st century? Researchers are looking at everything from healthcare to immigration to design new systems fit for a post-crisis Europe that is facing challenges such as austerity economics, an ageing society and increased migration.
Read Science Europe's latest opinion paper about the contribution of Humanities research to crossing knowledge boundaries and fostering deep change. Among European best practices, find out more about the FP7 interdisciplinary SSH project MEMOLA. The project brings together researchers of Humanities and Natural Sciences and works closely with local communities in investigating traditional uses of soil and water in Mediterranean mountains. Linking local communities stronger to their ancestral traditions can bring radical and sustainable solutions for ageing societies and fragile landscapes.
The survey sets out general economic and social priorities for the EU and provides Member States with policy guidance for 2016 with the aim of strengthening the recovery and foster convergence. Discover the Social Sciences and Humanities research projects dealing with growth from a variety of perspectives.