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The SSH programme introduces a new approach as from the 2010 Call for Proposals

In a world that is being put to the test on a daily basis by global societal challenges, Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) have a unique opportunity to increase their contribution and impact on society, by adopting a new approach in research practice. Thus the European Commission decided on a new concept in SSH research, focusing increasingly on a challenge-driven approach. This will be implemented as of the July 2010 Work Programme and Calls for proposals.

The new approach, designed in consultation with the scientific community and Member States, is based on identification of a number of important Societal Challenges facing Europe in short to medium term perspective. These Challenges have to be addressed by pooling resources, achieving critical mass and developing coherent and complementary research activities. Therefore, each Challenge will be addressed by a specific set of research actions combined in a single large scale integrating project.
Activities to be included in the projects are:

  • A coordinated inter-disciplinary approach and plurality of perspectives to examine the different dimensions of the Societal Challenge considered;
  • Building on previous research; stock-taking;
  • Forward looking / Foresight analysis regarding the evolution of the Societal Challenge, where relevant;
  • Deployment of a significant international cooperation dimension in addition to the European dimension;
  • Dissemination and exploitation of research results in a variety of contexts (scientific, policy, media, civil society);
  • Development of an effective critical mass of actors, involving a wide range of key stakeholders;
  • A rigorous professional approach on managing research and day-to-day administrative work;
  • Ethical and gender dimensions will continue to be relevant in both the conduct of the research.

When responding to Calls for Proposals, proposers are encouraged to define additional research aspects that go beyond the research subjects identified inside the given Challenges in the Work Programme, with a view of a more comprehensive approach. Proposers are reminded that "Challenges" will be complemented annually by a number of "traditional" topics.

As part of the new approach, research under the SSH programme will be following an overall integrated "Indicative Strategic Research Roadmap" covering the period 2011-2013.

On 5 June 2009, the European Commission organised a workshop targeted to National Contact Points and the research community to present the new approach "Turning to the future: a new approach for EU socio-economic and humanities research until 2013". The information materials from the conference are included here

A leaflet explaining the new approach is available in 24 languages


A new booklet with more details on how to prepare proposals for challenges is also available here. [ 1.16Mb]

Furthermore, the European Commission will support events explaining the new approach organised by National Contact Points

The "Question & Answer" related to the new approach covers general questions as well as specific management aspects.

This text is purely for information purposes. To apply for funding under the SSH research programme please refer to official documents such as the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities Work Programme and relevant Guides for Applicants.