The European Research Council (ERC) is the first pan-European funding body set up to support investigator-driven frontier research. The main aim of this newly-established body is to promote scientific excellence by supporting and encouraging the very best, truly creative scientists, engineers and scholars to be adventurous and take risks in their research. The scientists should go beyond established frontiers of knowledge and the boundaries of discipline. The ERC complements other funding activities in Europe, such as those of the national research funding age.
Today, the distinction between "basic" and "applied" research has become blurred, due to the fact that emerging areas of science and technology often cover substantial elements of both. As a result, the term 'frontier research' was coined for ERC activities since they will be directed towards fundamental advances at and beyond the 'frontier' of knowledge.
ERC Grants are awarded to a single researcher ("Principal Investigator"), heading an individual research team, to conduct a frontier research project on the condition that he/she is appointed by a legally-established host organisation. Two types of grants are proposed:
The objectives of the specific programme "Ideas" are to reinforce
excellence, dynamism and creativity in European research, and to improve
the attractiveness of Europe so as to draw in the best researchers from
European and third countries, as well as for industrial research investment.
This could be made possible with the addition of a Europe-wide competitive
funding structure (but it will not replace national funding) for "frontier
research" executed by individual teams. Communication and dissemination
of research results are important aspects of this programme.
For more information visit: http://erc.europa.eu/index.cfm
Call for tenders.
Under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), Foresight activities are part of the Socio-Economic Sciences and Humanities theme of the Cooperation specific programme. To implement the Foresight activities, three calls for tenders were launched:
1) "Scale and scope as drivers of the European Research Area"
The objective of this call is to test one of the core assumptions underlying the ERA idea, namely that economies of scale and scope matter in research funding and execution, and that therefore coordination and collaboration in research funding and execution are beneficial.
2) "Mapping the past in view of the future developments of the European Research Area"
This call aims to carry out a targeted assessment of the past and the present of the ERA, and to clarify the main drivers of European S&T integration, in order to develop perspectives on the future of the ERA.
3) "Lead markets and S&T specialisation in Europe"
The objective of this call is to provide European, national and regional policymakers with a basis for more informed decisions shaping the future European S&T specialisation through the use of demand-oriented policies and instruments.
Call for proposals.
For the first time, the European Commission has published a Call for Proposals dedicated to Foresight research under the heading Blue Sky Research on Emerging Issues affecting European S&T. This call is an opportunity for researchers to present their own ideas for promising new research projects in the field of S&T foresight studies. The aim is to stimulate work which takes a long-term perspective and addresses issues which are just emerging or not yet visible on the policy radar, but could have far-reaching implications for European S&T. The deadline for submission is 29 November 2007.
FOR-LEARN: online foresight guide and the online discussion forum.
This new online Foresight guide is a dynamic tool that makes information on Foresight more comprehensible and accessible to a wider public. It is aimed at practitioners of Foresight as well as all those policymakers and administrators willing to launch a Foresight activity.
The current debate as to whether European identity is something that can be created, defined and depicted has prompted the Centre for the History and Culture of East Central Europe at the University of Leipzig (GWZO) to organise a conference on the abundance of forms European identity can take. This colloquium took stock of the current research on Europeanism being conducted in various disciplines of the humanities and social sciences. It also addressed the concerns of European expansion and networking in a globalised world from the standpoint of cultural sciences and the humanities.
Immense diversity and differentiation in political and cultural terms have characterised the European continent since the fall of the Roman Empire, while unity in the sense of uniformity has never been characteristic of Europe. European cultural diversity and differences, from either a current or historical perspective, cannot be equated with different cultures existing side by side. Instead, diversity has always involved intense cultural exchange and transfer, particularly in art and architecture, intellectual life, the natural sciences and engineering. If Europe is to be more than just an economic area or an institutional system for facilitating political agreement, if cultural considerations are key in determining the "substance of Europeanism", then European cultural diversity must be seen as the basis of any further considerations.
The conference addressed these topics in 12 distinct sections, illustrating
the various levels on which socio-cultural identity is formed, particularly
within the context of conflicting and changing forms of affiliation.
For more information visit: http://www.bmbf.de/en/7296.php
The European Union (EU) is strongly committed to pursuing ambitious energy and environment targets. In order to do this, two major challenges need to be overcome: the adoption of new forms of energy and the mitigation and adaptation to climate change. Most of the time, these issues are tackled from a "supply side" and a technological perspective. The "Towards a post-carbon society" conference to be held in October, aims primarily to focus on the "demand side" and to highlight how political, social and economic dynamics can make the difference.
The conference aims to cover four main topics:
This large conference attended by about 500 energy and environment stakeholders, will involve renowned EU experts who are working on or studying the interactions between the evolution of society and the energy and environment system.
The REMSH Network of Excellence is designed to become a main European force of research, production and dissemination of knowledge on the relations between Europe and the Euro-Mediterranean area. This network associates 45 research and dissemination institutions from 14 EU and associate countries and 11 Mediterranean partners. It gathers a wide range of competences in Human and Social Sciences: sociology, ethnology, political science, international relations, history, geography, archaeology.
REMSH bases its activities on three specific realities of the Euro- Mediterranean area:
REMSH focuses on three research topics: diversity of exchange in the Mediterranean area: (cultural, human and informal economy), human space of proximity and conflicts, and the memories and transmissions of social and technical models.
For more information visit: http://periples.mmsh.univ-aix.fr/REMSH/RAMSES2/
TRANSGEN is a Special Support Action intended to build up the knowledge base for future research and interventions in the European Seventh Framework Programme, by linking gender mainstreaming and the thematic area of transport. The aim is to develop gender mainstreaming in the field of transport as a research strategy and political approach; this will make it more sustainable and compliant with the overall EU aims of promoting equality between men and women in all its activities.
TRANSGEN organised an expert workshop in Brussels in cooperation with the Danish EU Research Office, DANRO. The workshop brought together a small group of experts, policymakers and civil servants within the field of transport and mobility, who discussed the issue and put forward recommendations for future policy and research activities.
On the basis of the project's mapping of research and practices within the
field and the presentations made at the workshop, questions in areas such
as mainstreaming, gendering, decision-making processes and the EU
dimension were discussed.
A brief report from the workshop is available on the project's website. http://www.sociology.ku.dk/koordinationen/transgen/