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CONTENT - Issue 2 | January 2005

Paving the way towards FP7.
Coming soon: recently published results from FP5 projects, followed by information on the launch of the first projects funded under FP6. Also on the agenda: details of the currently open (last) FP6 call for social sciences and humanities research (SSH). Wide-ranging, direct consultations are taking place between DG Research and multiple stakeholders on the needs for SSH for FP7 and a web consultation has also been launched. The latter offers opportunities for participants, particularly those active in humanities and social science research, to contribute to the future SSH research agenda.

Theme of this issue
Cohesion and Convergence in an Enlarged Union

Enlargement, cohesion and convergence: a major challenge and a complex topic for research. A fruitful debate on the successes of cohesion policy contrasted with some disappointments in a recent workshop in Brussels which asked the question: What drives cohesion and convergence? There was concern over growing regional polarisation as a by-product of convergence. Crucial to the debate was the capacity of institutions to implement cohesion strategies that respect EU regulations. Delegates agreed that looking at citizens. savings and pension behaviour, their aspirations and their readiness to accept change would be key factors in understanding societal issues and changes.

Adam Török on regional impacts
Török, a prominent Hungarian academic, suggests key research areas for cohesion and convergence in an enlarged EU, and gives his ideas on regional policy. Radical economic reforms have produced a transformation recession. More study is needed on transition-related problems within the new Member States.
The more developed regions are attracting investment, leaving poorer regions behind. EU regional policy needs rethinking. Social costs and the uneven distribution of unemployment among regions and ethnic groups are politically sensitive aspects of transition.

Konstantinos Vaitsos warns of unequal convergence in integration
Former Greek minister for the economy, Konstantinos Vaitsos urges new research dire ctions to better understand cohesion and convergence in the enlarged EU. Integration affects people and regions in different ways. It is misleading to see these policies solely as a way of helping poorer countries and
not in the wider context of the EU.s global development. He criticises the overemphasis on economic growth, warning that unequal convergence is inherent in enlargement. The impact of the enlarged EU.s economic geography must be better studied.

FP6 first call projects, kick-off meeting and INTAS workshop
Coordinators of the 75 projects funded from the first call in FP6 met in Brussels on 11-12 November for workshops and meetings. The projects, on knowledge-based society and social cohesion, citizenship, democracy and new forms of governance, are now available on-line and as synopses.

The INTAS (International Association for the promotion of cooperation with scientists from the New Independent States) workshop on research participation in FP6 social sciences and humanities projects in the New Independent States (i.e. former Soviet Union) was held 9-10 November in Brussels.

Forthcoming Calls
Priority 7. Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge-based Society . Second and last call for proposals. 
Permanent open call for independent experts (2002/2006)

News from EU research projects on SSH
Latest project updates: the IPROSEC project looks at changing family structures and relationships, and population change, and how this relates to current socio-economic policies. Research on the reconciliation of the demands of family and of working life in the FamWork study focuses on couples with young children in European countries. The SOCOHO project investigates the implications for national housing needs resulting from current challenges for social cohesion, showing that housing systems in the EU Member States are critical in the maintenance of social cohesion.

ERA: mapping and road maps
The MORESS project is making thematic maps of SSH research. Also under construction: a web-based cataloguing system, developed by GESIS IZ in Bonn, for existing social science and humanities research databases across Europe. MORESS is a contribution to the European Research Area in the social sciences and humanities by the European Universities Association.
Social sciences and humanities research needs better pan- European infrastructure facilities.
An overview of these needs, a review of existing national and international road maps for such infrastructures and identification of gaps are being addressed by the ESFRI Steering Group for the social sciences and humanities. First European roadmaps should be available in the next few months.



ReviewsThe Family and Welfare policy review dealt with 13 projects and research networks. Short summaries of the first report include family and welfare, family structure, family employment relationships and outcomes and links between policy and practice: all available on the Citizens website. Also featured, the results of former Commission President Romano Prodis initiative to explore spiritual and cultural Europe, as well as book reviews on unemployment and social policy, science and technology policy, and the European dream seen in the light of the American dream.

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