Research and innovation for the Europe we want to see
Increasing the focus on the Social Sciences and Humanities
Research and innovation must enable the EU to help realise the vision that defines it: a community of member states in which “pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity, and equality between men and women shall prevail.” (Art. 2, TEU). These values are affected by growing social inequality, changes in the labour market, demographic shifts and migration, and cultural tensions within and between states.
Through the next Framework Programme (FP9), research and innovation must help the EU develop a transformative vision for Europe. Through collaboration across European borders we can bring the best ideas together to find new cures for rare diseases, develop new solutions that will improve our lives, and ensure that growth throughout the EU is built on the technologies of the future.
FP9 must empower researchers to fulfil their potential and contribute to evidence-based policies on social cohesion, education, intercultural communication, democratic participation, and developing a fair and sustainable economy in the context of globalisation. The Framework Programme must contribute to a deeper understanding of the effects of disruptive innovation, and transformation based on expertise in all STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Medicine), to strengthen our societies, cultures, institutions and economies.
For these reasons, The Guild presents a number of key principles for the ninth Framework Programme (FP9):
- The missions introduced in FP9 must be ambitious in addressing the societal and cultural challenges that citizens feel most acutely.1
- The Global Challenges pillar must help address the UN Global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in a comprehensive and balanced way, to support Europe’s contribution to bringing about an “inclusive, sustainable, resilient future for people and planet.”2 The SDGs are closely interrelated and require the contribution of all forms and disciplines of knowledge.
- To genuinely contribute to the security of European citizens, FP9 must increase investments in producing knowledge on and solutions for how Europe can foster more inclusive, just, and tolerant societies that prevent the marginalisation of individuals and communities.
- The impact of research on cultural and social challenges should not only be measured using numerical indicators. It must also be possible to gauge the quality of impact through demonstrable narratives and improvements in well-being. Research must be valued for providing a better basis for policymaking, and enabling new types of engagement with citizens and public and private organisations.
- FP9 must grasp the opportunity to link the EU – which feels distant to many – to citizens’ cultural heritage. Through co-creation with citizens, and through new methods (i.e. provided by the Digital Humanities) the framework programmes can foster a new level of meaning for individual identities.
- FP9 must lead to the creation of a comprehensive and differentiated European Open Science Cloud, developed in close partnership with the academic community from all disciplinary fields.
To solve some of the most fundamental societal challenges, from racism to climate change to ageing populations, FP9 must value not only disciplines that yield high citation indexes, but also subjects that affect human identity and behaviour, ranging from preventative medicine to the behavioural sciences, from environmental economics to intercultural communication.
1 The Guild has recommended two missions on key societal challenges that should be undertaken: (1) ‘Restoring the Cultural Authority of Science’, and (2) ‘Eradicating Europe’s Digital Divides’. Read detailed information on them here https://goo.gl/EsQHVH.