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Building knowledge, engaging in debate and supporting policies

The Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (SSH) Programme implements and disseminates results on EU research activities that address the major challenges facing the social, economic, political and cultural make-up of Europe. As such, the SSH Programme concerns all aspects of European societies. The programme facilitates excellence in research by harnessing and sharing knowledge and by strengthening collaboration between various disciplines. These research activities address the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Jobs and the integration of economic, social and environmental objectives relevant to the European Union. The programme also deals with major societal trends and their implications, the lives of European citizens, the role of Europe in the world, socio-economic and scientific indicators, and foresight activities.

European excellence depends on dynamic collaborative research. That is why the bulk of European Union's research funding in the Seventh Framework Programme for Research (FP7) has been allocated to joint research efforts. The objective is to establish excellent research within networks capable of attracting researchers and investments both from Europe and beyond. In addition, the programme should foster research projects with partners in different Member States and Associated Countries, originating from several disciplines. The results of this research are expected to strengthen the European Union's policies, including the European Research Area (ERA). A range of funding schemes has been set up to meet this aim, for example collaborative projects, networks of excellence, and coordination/support actions. In addition, the dissemination of scientific results is of first importance.

The nature of the SSH Programme enables to monitor the way in which societies are organised and governed, and how they evolve. It offers the opportunity to better understand human behaviour, the way we live and work together, to identify and confront the challenges taking place around us and to anticipate research needs in the future.

As society advances at an ever-increasing pace, research allows us to keep abreast of changes and to advocate solutions to new concerns and challenges. It is through research that we are able to respond to issues as globalisation, innovation, living conditions, economic and environmental trends, adaptation to climate change, migration flows, changes in work, governance, and the roles of men and women. Also vitally important are the impact of multilingualism, values, religion and history in the construction of modern Europe.

The SSH Programme responds to complex economic and social dynamics by providing European and national policy-makers, academics, businesses and civil society organisations with the knowledge required to maintain the competitiveness of Europe and the wellbeing of its citizens.

The Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities Programme forms a pillar of the 'Science, Economy and Society Directorate' within the Directorate-General for Research, together with the Science in Society Programme. The mission of this programme is to support the design of research on Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities and to contribute to the implementation of research results for strengthening European policies.