Projects synopses, policy reviews, policy briefs and other publications about research in SSH

Policy Reviews

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Past, present and future of democracy

The EU’s framework programmes for research and innovation have devoted significant investments towards the study of democracy. This review presents findings from framework programme projects and in general takes stock of European research on the subject matter. It provides a mapping of results, evidence and recommendations, and assesses the needs and pertinent foci for future European research. It aims to build on areas of research where there is already a good deal of knowledge. At the same time, it focuses on those areas where there are gaps in our knowledge about the workings of and present threats to democracy.

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Solidarity in Europe - Alive and Active

Research shows that there is clear citizen support for solidarity actions and policies in Europe. Yet, this is variable, nuanced, conditional, fragile and tied to identity. There is strong evidence of attitudes supporting help for people in need, reduction of wealth disparities and willingness to support other countries in financial difficulty. Levels of welfare and territorial solidarity are highest in national contexts, but are considerably higher in the EU when compared to global contexts.

Solidarity with refugees is less marked as in the other policy areas, with considerable geographical variation, whereby Eastern European states showing the lowest approval rates. European solidarity actions exist, but they are strongly dependent on volunteers and civil society organisations and often manifest themselves at a local level without necessarily finding a strong European articulation. Furthermore, limitations to European Solidarity result from a lack of a political space and constituency. For EU-level actions to tap the potency of solidarity, they must address its durability, mobilisation and the need for an appropriate legal framework. Support for civil society organisations is key in this regard. But, there also needs to be an appropriate legal space allowing for social interventions that directly improve citizens’ lives. Capturing the potential of solidarity provides a hugely important opportunity for the EU’s own relevance, renewal and resilience.

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Innovation in cultural heritage research

The extraordinary context of this policy paper is the launch of the first European Year of Cultural Heritage in 2018. This is a notable attempt to assess the potentials and challenges of a shared European cultural heritage. Research on these complex challenges is to provide evidence and advice towards better education, cultural, social and other policies at European, national and regional levels. This policy review gives the state-of-the-art of current EUfunded research on cultural heritage.

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Social Innovation as a Trigger for Transformations

This Policy Paper examines the role of Social Innovation in Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research, especially in those research projects funded under FP6 and 7, as well as Horizon 2020.

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Fighting poverty and exclusion through social investment

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. This Review presents evidence from Framework Programme research projects with a view to address the challenges of poverty and social exclusion. It puts forward policy recommendations that put the emphasis on social investment and protection and pave the way for upward convergence in employment and social issues.

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Addressing Terrorism: European Research in social sciences and the humanities in support to policies for inclusion and security

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.

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Migration - Facing Realities and Maximising Opportunities

Migration has become a crucial issue for Europe, one that is likely to dominate policy and political agendas for many years to come. Migration is also increasingly presented, both in public and expert discourse, as a challenge requiring coordinated European responses, involving both Member States and the European institutions.

FP7 research projects studied different aspects of the migration phenomenon such as integration and diversity, trans-nationalism, temporary/circular migration, migration and development, migration flows, data and statistical modelling, to mention just a few of the areas covered. The European comparative perspective brought in by most of this research is an important added value of working with multi-country research teams in the study of migration.

Research on migration and mobility will continue to be an important component of Horizon 2020, the Research and Innovation Framework Programme for 2014-2020.

However, at a time of unprecedented mobilisation of public resources to tackle the migration challenge, a stock-taking exercise of past and ongoing European socioeconomic research was felt to be necessary to bring this rich body of knowledge to the attention of policy-makers, academia and the general public.

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An ever closer union among the peoples of Europe? - Rising inequalities in the EU and their social, economic and political impacts

The European Treaty is based on an ‘ever closer union among the peoples of Europe’. Scientific research in social sciences and the humanities funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme shows that socioeconomic inequalities have generally increased in the EU over the last 20 years. A dual trend in inequalities has been observed during periods of economic growth as well as since the onset of the financial and economic crisis in 2008.

First, inequalities reinforce the exclusion of already fragile citizens, trapping them into lives of exclusion from an early age. This issue triggers many questions as to what models of economic policy the EU should adopt and how these models should be combined with stronger social policies in favour of inclusion and solidarity. Second, rising inequalities threaten the quality of our democracies in Europe. Democracies thrive on equal treatment, proper regard to merit and opportunities for the excluded and the poor to live better lives.

To ensure these rights, the EU needs to develop and implement targeted public policies in areas such as education and employment. This publication is aimed at supporting the agenda for jobs, fairness and democratic change put forward by Jean-Claude Juncker and the newly appointed European Commission.

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Bridge over troubled waters? - The link between European historical heritage and the future of European integration

What Europeans are we? What makes us Europeans? Sure, history played a crucial role in European integration. The integration process initially evolved around a strong cultural, history-centred element that was based on real and cultural memories, historical interpretations of Europe’s past and, most saliently, the two World Wars and the Cold War. In some way, what makes us Europeans is our heritage of war surmounted by peace. This has been symbolically recognised by the award of the Nobel Peace Prize to the European Union in 2012.

However, being European is also being able to live in diversity and engage into demanding intercultural exchanges and sustainable compromises that respect diversity, belonging to various communities or places but also enhance dialogue and understanding. The European cultural heritage is a nexus for our capacity to be and become Europeans.

The European Commission’s DG Research and Innovation, in cooperation with the FLASH-IT FP7 dissemination project and APRE, organised in October 2014 a successful workshop on history, cultural heritage and identities. The workshop formulated policy recommendations on how to make Europe a desire for being together rather than a burden to share and stated strongly that the participatory potential of historical heritage research, although still underestimated, should play an integrationist role in Europe and contribute to Europeanisation.

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25 years after the fall of the Iron Curtain: The state of integration of East and West in the European Union

Europe changed tremendously in 25 years. One glimpse on political maps from 1989 and from today is enough to confirm this. When looking on these maps the reader is almost disoriented by the rapid changes of borders of countries and the European Union.

Few people expected the fall and demolition of the Iron Curtain, the liberation, the reunification, the separation and the disappearance of European countries or the Soviet Union at such a speed. Even fewer people foresaw the peaceful integration of 11 former socialist countries into the European Union until 2013.

During the last 25 years, Central and Eastern European countries have undergone unprecedented changes. In turn, the enlargement of the EU to these new countries also affected profoundly the EU itself.

This Review aims to describe, document and explain the fundamental systemic change that took place in Central and Eastern Europe since 1989 and its impacts on European integration. The authors construct a concise, objective and yet critical account of the major geo-historical, political, economic, social and cultural changes in the last 25 years in Central and Eastern Europe and their relationships with European integration. In doing so they use the results produced by several research projects funded by the EU under its 7th research framework programme as well as other scientific evidence and analysis produced on Central and Eastern European countries since the fall of the Iron Curtain.

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Financial crisis: causes, policy responses, future challenges - Outcomes of EU-funded research

Reviewing the outcomes of EU-funded research in social sciences funded under the seventh framework programme, this publication addresses the causes of the financial crisis, the policy responses taken, and future challenges left to resolve.

The first chapter opens with a discussion on the functions of financial markets, the causes of the financial crisis in 2007/2008 and its contagion to other regions of the world, as well as the role of financialisation and the economics of risk-shifting which may have undermined productivity enhancing innovation at the expense of social inequity.

Following the discussion on the changes in financial markets and the pros and cons of complex financial innovations, the topic shifts in the second chapter to analyse the role of forecasting models to predict the Great Recession of 2008 and 2009. Excessive risk-taking and the crisis in the banking sector are the focus of the third chapter.

Related to banking and the credit market is the conduct of monetary policy in integrated financial markets, discussed in the fourth chapter. The next section analyses different fiscal policy proposals and their macroeconomic outcomes. This issue goes to the heart of the debate as to whether fiscal policy has macroeconomic stabilising effects.

The last chapter ends with a discussion on challenges left for policymakers and academics to reform the financial system, foster long-term sustainable and equitable economic growth (Lisbon Agenda 2005), and ensure smart, but also inclusive growth (Europe 2020 Strategy).

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A global actor in search of a strategy: European Union foreign policy between multilateralism and bilateralism

2014 marks, in many respects, a transitional year for the European Union. It is therefore a good moment to engage in stock-taking of the achievements of past years, while turning toward the future. The present Policy Review strives to achieve precisely this with regard to EU foreign policy. It discusses the advances in European Union bilateral and multilateral activities beyond the Union’s immediate neighbourhood, while highlighting the remaining challenges that the EU faces when engaging on the global scene. To discuss the EU’s role as a global actor, it draws on the key findings of eight major research projects conducted in the area of Social Sciences and Humanities and financed under the Sixth and Seventh Framework Programmes for Research.

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Population ageing in Europe - Facts, implications and policies

Longevity is one of the biggest achievements of modern societies. In the last 20 years, people all over the world have, on average, gained 6 years of life expectancy. By 2020, a quarter of Europeans will be over 60 years of age. Combined with low birth rates, this will bring about significant changes to the structure of European society, which will impact on our economy, social security and health care systems, the labour market and many other spheres of our lives.

Research on ageing has and will continue to be a vital part of the EU’s framework programmes for research. This publication aims to address the question of how Europe is prepared for advanced population ageing. Can it face the challenges? Can it seize the opportunities?

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Far from frozen: Creative Strategies of Young People in Disadvantaged Circumstances

What do children and young people think about education? Possible answers to this question are elaborated in this book, which portrays and illustrates how young people from different European countries view and experience education. The book is based on a collection of essays that students were asked to write as part of an international research project funded by the European Commission's 7th Framework Programme. The project "Governance of Educational Trajectories in Europe (GOETE)" analysed who is involved in making decisions that concern the school careers of young people. The essays capture a fascinating cross-section of experiences that are highly personal. At the same time they share many concerns related to the process of growing up in contemporary Europe.

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Research and Innovation on Sustainable Urban Dynamics

Urban issues are tackled in diff erent Challenges of the Horizon 2020, the European Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. In Challenge 6 dealing with Inclusive, Innovative and Refl ective Societies, a specifi c socio-economic item deals with "The promotion of sustainable and inclusive environments through innovative spatial and urban planning and design".

This publication highlights 10 stakeholders-based urban subjects to be addressed over the next years. It also provides a list of the EU urban research projects funded in the 7th EU Framework Programme (Social Sciences and Humanities; Sustainability and Environment; Transport and Energy; ICT; Smart Cities; and Security).

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EU Social Platforms: A review on an experiment in collaborative research design

The goal of the present review of four social platforms financed by the European Union's research budget (between 2007 and 2013) is to facilitate decision making on the future use of such platforms in new multi-annual research framework programmes of the European Union (Horizon 2020).

The platforms are a new way of bringing together researchers and stakeholders from civil society to work on urgent and complex socio-economic (policy) issues in a participatory manner.

The four distinct topics dealt with by the social platforms were:

  1. Cities and Social Cohesion (SOCIALPOLIS)
  2. Families and Family Policies (FAMILYPLATFORM)
  3. Sustainable Lifestyles 2050 (SPREAD)
  4. Innovative social services (INNOSERV)

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Social innovation research in the European Union: Approaches, findings and future directions

2013, EUR 25996, ISBN 978-92-79-30491-0, doi: 10.2777/12639, 64 pages

‘Buzzword’ or ‘Concept’? ‘Solution’ or ‘Tool’? ‘Sustainable’ or ‘Elusive’? Although social innovations pop up in many areas and policies and in many disguises, and social innovation is researched from a number of theoretical and methodological angles, the conditions under which social innovations develop, flourish and sustain and finally lead to societal change are not yet fully understood both in political and academic circles. However, in particular in the current times of social, political and economic crisis, social innovation has evoked many hopes and further triggered academic and political debates.

In the framework of FP5, FP6 and FP7, the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities Programme has funded a substantial body of research on issues related to social innovation. This policy review, written by Jane Jenson and Denis Harrisson, has produced a systematic overview of research fi ndings of 17 comparative European projects in the area of social innovation. The review focusses on how these projects address ‘social innovation’ in terms of theory, methodology, policy areas, actors, and level of analysis with the aim of bringing the results to the attention of policy-makers, wider groups of stakeholders and the broader public in a comprehensive way. The report makes substantial recommendations for future research practices on social innovation, including in HORIZON 2020.

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Adult and continuing education in Europe: Using public policy to secure a growth in skills

2013, EUR 25943, ISBN 978-92-79-29623-9, doi: 10.2777/98975, 112 pages

Adult and continuing education has the dual function of contributing to employability and economic growth, on the one hand, and responding to broader societal challenges, in particular promoting social cohesion, on the other. Companies and families support important investments that have, to date, ensured important growth in both skills and the ability of the European population to innovate. Thanks to this commitment, Europe today has a wealth of organisations specialising in adult and continuing education. The sector has grown in importance, both as a increasingly significant player in the economy and in view of its capacity to respond to the demand for learning by the knowledge economy. As this book shows, adult and continuing education has a critical role to play in ensuring Europe copes with the phenomenon of education exclusion, which, repeated year after year, generation after generation, undermines social cohesion and the growth of employment. Public policies must respond to two strategic challenges: to encourage the propensity to invest in adult and continuing education and to guarantee the reduction of educational exclusion.

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Co-creating European Union Citizenship: Policy review

2013, EUR 25948, ISBN 978-92-79-29711-3, doi: 10.2777/10181, 64 pages

2013 has been designated the European Year of Citizens. It marks the twentieth anniversary of the entry into force of the Maastricht Treaty, which first introduced European Union citizenship. In the midst of a major socio-economic crisis, accompanied by solid trends of declining support for the European Union and the resurgence of nationalisms in many EU member states, EU citizenship offers a countermodel capable of reinforcing citizens resilience and their feeling of belonging to a community of Europeans. Yet, while the citizenship status promises an important set of rights and opportunities for all EU citizens, challenges continue to persist. This Policy Review critically discusses the advances in the co-creation of European Union citizenship over the past twenty years, while highlighting the manifold remaining obstacles to the exercise of citizenship rights in the EU. It draws on the key research findings of fifteen EU-funded Social Sciences and Humanities research projects with a bearing for understanding the genesis and evolution of EU citizenship. On the basis of a sound synthesis of these findings, the Review formulates a set of policy implications highlighting, among others, the need to involve citizens to a larger extent in EU policy-making and to reinforce the social dimension of EU citizenship.

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Scientific evidence for policy-making: Research insights from socio-economic sciences and humanities

2013, EUR 25765, ISBN 978-92-79-28196-9, doi: 10.2777/45029, 348 pages

This publication compiles a set of short policy papers developed by the EU-funded project SCOOP (2009-2012), aimed at strengthening the links between research and policy making in Europe.

The collected papers summarise the findings of EU-funded research projects in the field of Social Sciences, formulating research results in a way that targets policy makers, civil society organisations, business and the media.

Presented in reverse chronological order, the papers address key challenges regarding the social, economic, political and cultural make-up of Europe. The subjects covered are:

  • Growth, employment and competitiveness in a knowledge society;
  • Combining economic, social and environmental objectives in a European perspective;
  • Major trends in society and their implications;
  • Europe in the world;
  • The citizen in the European Union;
  • Socio-economic and scientific indicators;
  • Foresight;
  • Strategic activities.

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New skills and jobs in Europe: Pathways towards full employment

2012, EUR 25270, ISBN 978-92-79-23668-6, doi: 10.2777/85575, 87 pages

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Global Europe 2050

2012, EUR 25252, ISBN 978-92-79-23357-9, doi 10.2777/79992, 158 pages

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World and European Energy and Environment Transition Outlook - WETO-T

2011, EUR 24805 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-20044-1, doi: 10.2777/5771

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European forward-looking activities: Building the future of 'Innovation Union' and ERA

2011, EUR 24796, ISBN 978-92-79-19978-3, doi 10.2777/54620, 60 pages

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European Arts Festivals: Strengthening cultural diversity

2011, EUR 24749, ISBN 978-92-79-19569-3, doi 10.2777/48715, 72 pages

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Innovation: Creating knowledge and jobs - Insights from European research in socio-economic sciences

2010, EUR 24431 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-16136-0, doi 10.2777/56513, 56 pages

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World and European Sustainable Cities - Insight from EU research

Brussels, 2010, EUR 24353 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-15700-4, ISSN 1018-5593, DOI 10.2777/4401, 36 pages

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The world in 2025 - Rising Asia and socio-ecological transition

Brussels, 2009, EUR 23921 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-12485-3, ISSN 1018-5593, DOI 10.2777/2539, 28 pages

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Le monde en 2025 - La montée en puissance de l'Asie et la transition socio-écologique

Brussels, 2009, EUR 23921 FR, ISBN 978-92-79-12486-0, ISSN 1018-5593, DOI 10.2777/25936, 32 pages

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The World in 2025 - Contributions from an expert group

Brussels, 2009, EUR 23864, ISBN 978-92-79-11482-3, DOI 10.2777/41493, 390 pages

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Socio-economic Sciences & Humanities and Science in Society in 2008,Highlights of the Year

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Expert Group on the Humanities Positioning Humanities Research

in the 7th Framework Programme, final report, 113 pages

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Social inclusion of youth on the margins of society - Policy review of research results

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The Development of a European Identity/European Identities: Unfinished Business - a Policy Review 2012

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Crime and Deviance in the EU - Key findings from EU funded social sciences and humanities research projects

2011, EUR 24858 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-20494-4, doi: 10.2777/63953, 32 pages.

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Why socio-economic inequalities increase? Facts and policy responses in Europe

2010, EUR 24471 EN, ISBN 978-92-79-16343-2, doi: 10.2777/94928, 50

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Towards greater corporate responsibility - Conclusions of EU-funded research

Brussels, 2009, EUR 24168, ISBN 978-92-79-13819-5; doi 10.2777/7; ISSN 1018-5593; 64 p.

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European Research on Youth - Supporting young people to participate fully in society - The contribution of European Research

Brussels, 2009, EUR 23863, ISBN 978-92-79-11450-2, ISSN 1018-5593, DOI 10.2777/4263, 76 p.

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Moving Europe - EU research on migration and policy needs

Brussels, 2009, EUR 23859, ISBN 978-92-79-09698-3, DOI 10.2777/58809, ISSN 1018-9593, 48 p.

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An ever closer union among the peoples of Europe?
Scientific research in social sciences and the humanities funded by the European Commission shows that socioeconomic inequalities have generally increased in the EU over the last 20 years.

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