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Saturday, 8 March 2014
Brussels, March, 7th
The European Association of Sociology (EAS), the European Confederation of
Political Science Associations (ECPSA), the European Educational Research
Association (EERA), the European Association of Social Anthropologists (EASA) and
the European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres (ECHIC) have
welcomed your intention to improve the position of the Social Sciences and
Humanities (SSH), as you have stated on several occasions since the British
Academy meeting in November 2011.
Considering your clearly expressed political intent to support SSH, in line with the
European Parliament and the Member States, we wish to express our strong concern
about the implementation of H2020:
- The first available 2014-2015 work programs indicate that the share of SSH
research in SC6 has diminished dramatically. Extrapolated to the whole Horizon
2020 period, the core SSH program in SC6 will be funded up to the amount of
300 Million Euros. This is less than half of the FP7 budget for SSH (625 Million
Euros) and far removed from what has been claimed on many occasions prior to
this. It is now also evident that the main share of the SSH Challenge has been
allocated to other priorities: a third of the budget of SC6 has been given to DG
CNECT, which already gets more than 7 billion Euros under Priority 2 and from
other budgets elsewhere in various Societal Challenges, and a further third of
the budget is allocated to “innovation research”. Such budgetary decisions are in
complete contradiction to the proposals for the Specific Programme of H2020,
which allows for large research activity for SSH in SC6 in support of several key
policy areas developed in particular by DG EMPL, EAC, ECFIN, HOME, JUST,
DEVCO, BEPA, ENV and EEAS.
- According to the call for proposals, the « mainstreaming policy » of SSH in other
challenges, which was presented as an important complement to the specific
challenge, rarely pertains directly to research in SSH. Instead the calls have a
narrow utilitarian approach to SSH and fail to mobilise the breadth of relevant
SSH research for societal challenges. The selection of experts similarly fails to
draw the breath of relevant SSH expertise.
We hope that we are mistaken. We therefore ask for a meeting with you urgently in
order to get some clarification from you regarding the situation detailed above and
so that SSH core research in SC6 can be granted the key position that was agreed
upon by the European Parliament and the Council.
President of ESA
President of ECPSA
President of EERA
Noel B. Salazar
President of EASA
President of ECHIC
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This letter was Cc’ed to:
- Members of Parliament
- Members of the Programme Committee for Challenge 6 (H2020)
- Media in member states: La Repubblica, El Pais, Libération, Der Spiegel, The
Wednesday, 15 January 2014
Monday, 11 November 2013
Full text of letter sent to the EU Commissioner for Research and Innovation
6 November 2013
“Towards Europe 2020: integrating the Social Sciences and Humanities”
Letter from the
European Alliance for the Social Sciences and Humanities
Dear Commissioner Geoghegan-Quinn,
We were delighted to participate in the recent EU Presidency conference «Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities» in Vilnius and we enthusiastically support the Vilnius Declaration. We were much encouraged by your strong words of support for mainstreaming Social Science and Humanities (SSH) research in Horizon 2020, and we took note of your pledge to see words turned into action.
We understand that things will take time and we want to offer our co-operation in mobilizing the interest and commitment of SSH researchers for the research agenda of Horizon 2020.
We are, however, deeply concerned by the low profile given to the SSH in the first draft of the work programme for the first 25% of H2020 (2014-2015). We urge the European Commission not to gamble away the willingness of the SSH community to contribute to research into all Societal Challenges.
So far, we see that the Calls for research enssaged under the Social Challenge approach will have, despite all good intentions, an overriding focus on technology-based solutions, based on outdated linear innovation models and implemented in the traditional silo-like approach.
In order to overcome this deplorable impasse, and building on recommendations made by delegates to the Vilnius conference, we submit the following suggestion:
The Commission should consider support for synthesis centres, that will allow stakeholders and researchers from across all relevant areas to reflect on how Societal Challenge research can best integrate all necessary and innovative approaches, including a broader inclusion of SSH insights into the European agenda.
We propose the environmental and educational fields as early candidate areas.
As you know, European Social Science and Humanities research is very competitive in the global market place of knowledge and ideas. Europe as a whole would benefit from tapping more decisively into these rich resources. Conversely, if Horizon 2020 should fail to properly integrate the broad areas of competence of SSH research, substantial opportunity costs for the European Union are likely to occur.
We are particularly concerned that Social Challenge 6 (SC6), which is intended to have a particular focus on generating new insights and evidence through SSH research, risks being skewed heavily towards ICT-related applications research and on structural investments unrelated to any specific resaerch needs.
It is important that future SC6 Calls are formulated in such a way that projects can draw on the best of relevant SSH research. This means being explicit about the allocation of funds for research, as opposed to funding currently foreseen for other activities.
In this context, it would be beneficial if approvals of the Work Programmes were limited to just 1-year-periods each : the Commission and the communities can then monitor the implementation of the programme and the successful embedding of SSH.
By the same token, we feel we need to reiterate the importance and urgent need for Advisory Groups to be appointed in an inclusive and transparent manner.
The undersigned members of the EASSH Core Group, leaders from some of the premier research institutes in the fields of SSH, are looking forward to exchanges aimed at making Horizon 2020 a success.
EASSH Core Group members and representatives
Ms Angela Schindler-Daniels, Programme Coordinator NET4SOCIETY, Project Management Agency, German Aerospace Center, Bonn
Lejf Moos, Professor at Aarhus University, Denmark, and President, European Educational Research Association
Milena Zic-Fuchs, Professor at University of Zagreb, Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts, and Chair of the Science Review Group for the Humanities (ESF), ALLEA Working Group Social Sciences and Humanities
Poul Holm, Professor at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland, and Chair “European Consortium for Humanities Institutes and Centres” (ECHIC)
Sean Ryder, Professor at NUI Galway, Ireland, and Chair, HERA Network Board (Humanities in the European Research Area)
Thomas Risse, Professor of International Relations, Free University Berlin, and Chair Scientific Committee for the Social Sciences, Science Europe
Wolfgang Mackiewicz, President, Conseil européen pour les langues / European Language Council (CEL/ELC)
Dr Rüdiger Klein, Founding Chair, European Alliance for the Social Sciences & Humanities (EASSH), email@example.com.