The Place of the Swiss Social Sciences & Humanities in the EU Horizon 2020

24.05.2012, 22:50

SAGW, Euresearch, ALLEA

The next EU framework programme for Research and Innovation «Horizon 2020», running from 2014 – 2020 with a proposed budget of € 80 billion, is designed to secure Europe’s global competitiveness. The third part of the programme «Societal Challenges» refers explicitly to social sciences and humanities research that is considered to be an important element for addressing the challenges outlined in the document by the EU Commission (see link below). The conference will focus on one of the core challenges entitled «Inclusive, Innovative and Secure Societies».


Four key note speakers in the morning will inform the SSH researchers in Switzerland about the structure and context of the EU’s next framework programme, pointing out Swiss and EU interests and expectations with regard to «Horizon 2020». Best practices based on experiences gained in earlier framework programmes will also be outlined. In the afternoon, five workshops will examine the main topics of the SSH Challenge 6, that is to say «Inclusive Societies», «Intelligent Growth», «EU as a Global Actor», «Diversity, Beliefs and Values» and «Sustainable Growth». The main items on the agenda are to discuss the strengths and the potential of Swiss SSH research from a national and an international point of view, to identify mutual interests of the EU and Swiss SSH researchers and to define possible research questions. The conference aims to contribute to the integration and formulation of SSH concerns in «Horizon 2020» and to the integration of SSH research in Switzerland with a view to future proposal submissions. The crucial issues raised in the discussion may have an impact on the composition of the work programmes. The conference will conclude with a closing panel discussion that aims to define the next steps to be taken.

Conference languages are German, French and English. Translations cannot be provided.


09.15 – 09.30    Welcome by the organisers (SAGW, Euresearch) – reasons for, aim and structure of the event  (Markus Zürcher, Patrick Furrer)
09.30 – 09.50    ”Dos and Don’ts in FP Research: Experiences with the past and current SSH programmes (Regina Schneider)
09.50 – 10.05    Questions, Discussion
10.05 – 10.35    Horizon 2020 – EC Expectations for SSH: Information on content and structure of the new challenge(s), timing, possibilities for SSH as well as interests and expectations of the EC with regard to the SSH contributions to these challenges (as per May 2012) (Robert Burmanjer)
10.35 – 10.50    Questions

10.50 – 11.10    Coffee Break

11.10 – 11.40    Internal Perspective: Strengths and Potential of Swiss SSH Research with regard to Horizon 2020 (Walter Leimgrube, SNSF Div. I)
11.40 – 11.55    Questions
11.55 – 12.30    External Perspective: Strengths and Potential of Swiss SSH Research with regard to Horizon 2020 (Rüdiger Klein, Executive Director, ALLEA)
12.30 – 12.45    Questions

12.45 – 14.00    Lunch

14.00 – 14.20    Short presentation of the parallel workshops (Workshop moderators)
14.20 – 14.30    Transfer to the different workshops
14.30 – 16.00    Parallel workshops to the 5 selected topics all with the same pattern:

Input 1 (interests and expectations, strengths and potential), 10 min

Input 2 (interests and expectations, strengths and potential) 10 min

Open Discussion Workshop speakers and moderators (see list below)

16.00 – 16.15    Coffee Break

16.15 – 16.45    Short reports from the 5 workshops Moderators
16.45 – 17.45    Panel Discussion on “Next Steps: what needs to be done? And who is going to do it?“ Key-note speakers on EC, internal + external perspectives + SNSF representative (international relations)

17.45 –    Aperitif


List of contributors

Plenary Speakers:

Dr. Robert Burmanjer, DG Research, Head of Unit
Dr. Patrick Furrer, Euresearch, Vice-Director, National Point ICT
Dr. Rüdiger Klein, Executive Director of All European Academies
Prof. Dr. Walter Leimgruber, President of the Swiss National Science Foundation SNSF, Division I: SSH
Dr. Regina Schneider, Eurosearch, National Contact Point SSH, SiS & Security
Dr. Markus Zürcher, Secretary General, SAHS

Workshop Contributors:

I Inclusive Societies
Prof. Dr. Peter Farago, Swiss Centre of Expertise in the Social Sciences (FORS)
Prof. Dr. Dominique Joye, Institut des sciences sociales, Université de Lausanne
Prof. Dr. Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello, Institut für Psychologie, Universität Bern

II Intelligent Growth
Prof. Dr. Anne-Claude Berthoud, Centre de linguistique et des sciences du langage, Université de Lausanne
Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Mackiewicz, Chair, SSH Expert Advisory Group (FP7)
Prof. Dr. Ulrike Landfester, Deutsche Sprache und Literatur, Universität St. Gallen

III EU as a Global Actor
Prof. Manfred Elsig, World Trade Institute, Universität Bern
Prof. Dr. Laurent Goetschel, Europainstitut, Universität Basel
Prof. Dr. Sandra Lavenex, Politikwissenschaftliches Institut, Universität Luzern

IV Diversity, Beliefs and Values
Prof. Dr. Christoph Conrad, Département d'histoire générale, Université de Genève
Prof. Dr. Madeleine Herren, Historisches Seminar, Cluster Asia-Europe, Universität Heidelberg
Prof. Dr. Barbara Naumann, Deutsches Seminar, Universität Zürich

V Sustainable Growth
Prof. Dr. Aymo Brunetti, Department of Economics, Universität Bern
Prof. Dr. Paul Burger, Programm Nachhaltigkeitsforschung, Universität Basel
Dr. Michael Stauffacher, Institute for Environmental Decisions, ETH Zürich

Workshop description

Five parallel sessions on the main topics of the SSH Challenge 6 will be provided in the afternoon.

Workshop I «Inclusive Societies»
The EU paper defines one grand challenge by pointing out the need to build resilient and inclusive societies: «It is essential to identify ways to adapt and improve the European welfare systems, public services and the broader social security dimension of policies in order to achieve cohesion and promote more social and economic equality and intergenerational solidarity» (p. 77). The main keywords for this workshop are thus social welfare systems, inequalities, resilience, digital inclusiveness, intergenerational issues. Disciplines addressed: social sciences.

Workshop II «Intelligent Growth»
One further issue raised in the EU paper is how to deal with the increasing amount of information our society relies on. «Enabling all societal actors to interact in the innovation cycle increases the quality, relevance, acceptability and sustainability of innovation outcomes by integrating society’s interest and values. This requires developing specific skills, knowledge and capacities at individual and organisational as well as at national and transnational levels. A scientifically literate, responsible and creative society will be nurtured through the promotion of and research on appropriate science education methods» (p. 80). In this context, the following keywords have to be taken into consideration: knowledge transfer, dissemination of knowledge, communication, social-network dynamics. Disciplines addressed: cognitive sciences, linguistics, communication- and media sciences, psychology, educational sciences.

Workshop III «EU as a Global Actor»
One major challenge is outlined by referring to the role of the EU in a globalised world: «Europe’s distinct historical, political, social and cultural system is increasingly confronted with the impact of global changes. In order to further develop its external action in its neighbourhood and beyond and its role as a global actor, Europe has to improve its capacities for defining, prioritising, explaining, assessing and promoting its policy objectives with other world regions and societies to further cooperation or prevent or solve conflicts. In this regard, it also has to improve its capacities for anticipating and responding to the evolution and impacts of globalisation. This requires a greater understanding of the history, cultures and political-economic systems of other world regions, as well as of the role and influence of transnational actors.» (p. 77). The relevant keywords for this workshop are global governance, international cooperation, preventing and solving conflicts, human rights. Disciplines addressed: political science, constitutional and international law.

Workshop IV «Diversity, Beliefs and Values»
In order to build resilient and inclusive societies, the understanding of the EU’s history as well as the evolution of ideas and values is considered to be essential. «Understanding social transformations in Europe requires analysis of changing democratic practices and expectations as well as of the historical evolution of identities, diversity, territories, religions, cultures and values. This includes a good understanding of the history of European integration» (p.77). Keywords to be pointed out are thus historical evolution of identities, cultures and values, impact of circulation of ideas and beliefs and combinations of principles and practices of reciprocity, commonality and equality. Disciplines addressed: humanities.

Workshop V «Sustainable Growth»
The promotion of a smart, sustainable and inclusive growth implies considerable changes as to the definition of growth and well-being and how they are measured, generated and sustained over time. «Research will analyse the development of sustainable lifestyles and socio-economic behaviours and values and how they relate to paradigms, policies and to the functioning of institutions, markets, firms, governance and belief systems in Europe.» (p. 76). The main keynotes relevant for this workshop are development of sustainable lifestyles and socio-economic behaviours and values, establishment of standards, normalisation process, goal-setting process. Disciplines addressed: sociology, economics, social psychology.