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Dear Reader,

On 1 October 2006, the European Commission's Directorate General for Research underwent a significant structural reorganisation. Two previously distinct Directorates, one responsible for 'Research on Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities' and the other for 'Science and Society', were merged.

The resulting Directorate 'Science, Economy and Society' will ensure better synergies between research on key societal, economic and S&T challenges for Europe and the actions designed to bring science closer to society.

This new organisational structure will thus encompass the activities to be carried out under the two new specific programmes of the 7th Framework Programme: the 'Cooperation' Specific Programme (for 'Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities' Theme) and the 'Capacities' Specific Programme (for the 'Science in Society' Activity).

These changes have coincided with a crucial phase in the preparation of the 7th Community RTD Framework Programme. Intensive inter-institutional negotiations should result in the final adoption of the FP7 package in the last half of December. The Commission, after consultations with relevant Programme Committees, adopted the work programmes for 'Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities' and 'Science in Society' and published the first calls for proposals on 22 December 2006.

Both programmes aim for continuity of activities carried out under FP6, while at the same time introducing several new and innovative elements. In 'Science in Society' the focus will gradually shift towards research, with a view to maximising research activity after 2009. A particular emphasis of the 2007 SSH work programme will be the strategic agenda of the European Union regarding competitiveness, growth and employment, as well as sustainable development. Attention will also be given to the contribution of Humanities scholars.

It is my great pleasure, as the Director of this new 'Science, Society and Economy' Directorate, to present the seventh issue of the SSH Newsletter.

I hope that it will remain a useful tool for communicating EU research on Socio-economic sciences and the humanities, which is essential for the development of the European Union.

Jean-Michel Baer
Director, Directorate L
Science, Economy and Society