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Work in progress: the seven research spotlights under SSH

The Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities (SSH) Programme aims to provide a strong evidence base for policies that address the complex and interrelated social, economic and cultural challenges that face Europe. Seven pillars represent the main research targets for the SSH Programme within the European Commission's Seventh Framework Programme (FP7). Projects funded under these activities will provide the information to fuel the policies that determine the new directions and strategies that will benefit Europe and its citizens.

EU publications giving an overview of recently funded research projects in SSH in thematic areas

Growth, employment and competitiveness in a knowledge society - the European case

Aim: to develop and integrate research on the issues affecting growth, socio-economic stability, employment, and competitiveness.

Topics include:

  • innovation;
  • education, including life-long learning and the role of scientific and other knowledge;
  • intangible goods on a global scale;
  • youth and youth policy;
  • adaptation of labour market policies;
  • national institutional contexts.

Combining economic, social and environmental objectives in a European perspective - Paths towards sustainable development

Aim: to address two key and highly interrelated issues - the continuing evolution of European socio-economic models, and economic, social and regional cohesion in an enlarged European Union.

Topics include:

  • sustainability and the protection of the environment;
  • sustainable urban planning;
  • interaction between the environment, energy and society;
  • role of cities and metropolitan regions;
  • socio-economic impact of European policies and legislation.

Major trends in society and their implications

Aim: to gauge the foremost developments in society and understand the current and future impacts these will have on Europe and its citizens.

Topics include:

  • demographic change and analysis of the implications on urban development, including lifestyles, work, families, and reconciling professional and family life;
  • migration and integration;
  • gender issues;
  • disabilities issues;
  • health and quality of life;
  • economic consumer protection;
  • the role of business in society and population diversity;
  • cultural diversity and interactions, religious pluralism , multiculturalism, fundamental rights and the fight against discrimination of any kind.

Europe in the world

Aim: to understand the changing interactions, cross cultural relations and interdependencies between world regions.

Topics include:

  • developing regions, and the subsequent impact on other regions and countries;
  • addressing emerging threats and risks without undermining human rights, freedom and well-being, and fostering peace.

The citizen in the European Union

Aim: to address the issues related to achieving a sense of democratic 'ownership' and active participation by Europe's citizens, in the context of the future development of the enlarged European Union.

Topics include:

  • effective and democratic governance at all levels , including economic and legal governance, the role of civil society, and innovative governance processes intended to both enhance the participation of citizens and the cooperation between public and private actors;
  • building a shared understanding and respect for Europe's diversities and commonalities in terms of culture, religion, cultural heritage, institutions and legal systems, history, languages and values, as building elements of a European multicultural identity and heritage.

Socio-economic and scientific indicators

Aim: to use indicators in policy, as well as in the implementation and monitoring of policy.

Topics include:

  • improvement of existing indicators
  • techniques to analyse indicators and the development of new ones for this purpose and for the evaluation of research programmes (including indicators based on official statistics).

Forward looking activities

Aim: a Forward looking exercise is not a purely theoretical exercise. It has a practical scope and is part of the evidence-based policy-making. It involves both experts and potential users.

Forward looking activities (including "Foresight" and "Forecast") allow:

  • to better anticipate the future;
  • to evaluate the pros and cons of a specific measure;
  • and/or to answer to specific societal, economic, scientific and technological problems.

In the field of research policy, Forward looking exercises may include one or more (depending on the need) of the three main types of activities. In a nutshell, Forward looking activities aim:

  • to define a shared long-term perspective through a participatory approach;
  • to make it operational through modelling and in-depth expertise for example;
  • and, thanks to the impact evaluation, to provide realistic policy recommendations that could help to develop better policies.

Horizontal activities

Aim: to deal with horizontal and strategic actions of research in Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities

Topics include:

  • new and emerging needs
  • measures to support dissemination of SSH research results
  • ERA-NET