EERA is an association of national and regional associations for educational research: Armenia (ERAC), Austria (ÖFEB), Belarus (IE), Belgium (VFO and ABCEduc), Cyprus (CPA, KEB-DER), Czech Republic (CAPV), Denmark (NERA), Estonia (EAER), Finland (FERA and NERA), France (AECSE), Germany (DGfE), Greece (HES), Hungary (HERA), Iceland (NERA), Ireland (ESAI), Italy (SIPED), Lithuania (LERA), Netherlands (VOR), Norway (NERA), Poland (PTP), Portugal (SPCE and CIDInE), Slovakia (SERS), Slovenia (SLODRE), Spain (AIDIPE and SEP), Sweden (NERA), Switzerland (SSRE), Turkey (EAB and EARDA), United Kingdom (BERA and SERA)
The European Educational Research Association
Arnimallee 12, 14195 Berlin, Germany
June 24, 2012
The European Parliament, The European Council and European Commission as well as national politicians and Contact Points
We have followed and commented on the development of Horizon 2020 all the way from the hearing procedure through the ‘open letter to the Commissioner’ and other responses, and are happy that Social Sciences and Humanities are now included in the proposal. We appreciate this step forward, but it will only be a major and needed step forward if:
- The mainstreaming of SSH in all societal challenges, that is described shortly in the Council Decision, is being followed by description of strong procedures, instruments and funding,
- The 6th Societal Challenge: ‘Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies’ is being funded sufficiently.
We do hope that those concerns are included into the following negotiations.
At this point we would like to comment on the texts, being produced for the ‘Specific Programme Implementing Horizon 2020’. We think the text are a good basic, but they can be enhanced if our proposals for amendments are taken in.
Lejf Moos, President of EERA,
Our amendments for the first two pillars, ‘Inclusive and Innovative Societies’ are made on the December 5, 2011 Proposal for a Council Decision establishing the Specific Programme.’
As we have worked on the text for ‘Reflective Societies’, before it was consolidated, we have worked on the short version in: “Regulation of the European Parliament and the Council establishing Horizon 2020” from Council of The European Union, 31 May, 2012.
Proposals for amendments are written in bold.
6.1. Inclusive societies
Current trends at play in European societies bring with them opportunities for a more united Europe but also risks. These opportunities and risks need to be understood and anticipated in order for Europe to evolve with adequate solidarity and cooperation at social, economic, political, educational and cultural levels, taking into account an increasingly interconnected world. In this context, the objective is to enhance social, economic and political inclusion, combat poverty, marginalization, and social exclusion and enhance human rights, digital inclusiveness, equality, solidarity and inter-cultural dynamics by supporting interdisciplinary research, indicators, technological advances, organisational solutions and new forms of intercultural collaboration and co-creation. Research and other activities shall support the implementation of the Europe 2020 strategy as well as other relevant Union foreign policies. Social sciences and Humanities research may have an important role to play in this context. Specifying, monitoring and assessing the objectives of European strategies and policies will require focused research on high-quality (delete: statistical) information, and the development of adapted instruments that allow policy makers to analyse and assess the impact and effectiveness of envisaged measures, in particular in favour of social inclusion.
The following specific objectives will be pursued:
6.1.1. Promoting smart, sustainable and inclusive growth
The constant quest for economic growth carries a number of important human, social, environmental and economic costs. A smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe implies substantial changes in the way growth and social wellbeing are defined, measured (including through the measurement of progress beyond the commonly used GDP indicator), 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. It will develop tools for a better assessment of the contextual and mutual impacts of such evolutions and policy options in areas such as employment, taxation, inequalities, poverty, social inclusion, education, teaching and learning, skill development, community development, competitiveness and the Internal Market. It will also analyse how national economies evolve and which forms of governance at European and international level could help prevent macro-economic imbalances, monetary difficulties, fiscal competition, unemployment and employment problems and other forms of societal, economic and financial disorders. It will take into account the growing interdependencies between Union and global economies, markets and financial systems.
6.1.2. Building resilient and inclusive societies in Europe
Understanding social transformations in Europe requires the analysis of changing democratic practices, and expectations as well as of the education, historical evolution of identities, diversity, territories, religions, cultures and values. This includes a good understanding of the history of European integration. Besides, understanding the strains and opportunities arising from the uptake of ICT, both at individual and collective levels, is important in order to open new paths of inclusive innovation. 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 learning and solidarity. Research will analyse how societies, institutions and politics become more European in a broad sense through evolutions of identities, cultures and values, the circulation of ideas and beliefs and combinations of principles and practices of reciprocity, commonality and equality. It will analyse how risk groups and vulnerable populations can participate fully in education, society and democracy, notably through the acquisition of various skills and the protection of human rights. The analysis of how political systems respond or not to such social evolutions and themselves evolve will thus be central. Research will also address the evolution of key systems that provide
underlying forms of social bonds, such as family, work, education and employment and help combat poverty. It will take into account the importance of migration and demography in the future development of European policies.
Given the increasing socio-economic importance of digital inclusion, research and large-scale innovation actions will promote inclusive ICT solutions and the effective acquisition of digital skills leading to the empowerment of citizens and a competitive workforce. Emphasis will be given to new technological advances that will enable a radical improvement in personalisation, user-friendliness and accessibility through a better understanding of human beings, citizen, consumer and user behaviours and values, including persons with disabilities. This will require an "inclusion by design" research and innovation approach, and a stress on special education and giftedness.
6.1.3. Strengthening Europe's role as a global actor.
Europe's distinct historical, political, social, philosophical 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. Finally, Europe also has to contribute effectively to global governance in key domains like trade, development, work, economic cooperation, education, human rights, defence and security. This implies the potential to build new capacities whether in terms of thinking, tools, systems and instruments of analysis or in terms of diplomacy in formal and informal international arena with governmental and non-governmental actors.
6.1.4. Closing the research and innovation divide in Europe
There are significant regional disparities across Europe in research and innovation performance which need to be addressed. Measures will aim at unlocking excellence and innovation and will be distinct, complementary and synergistic with policies and actions of the Cohesion policy Funds. They include:
– Linking in a competition emerging institutions, centres of excellence and innovative regions in less developed Member States to international leading counterparts elsewhere in Europe. This will involve teaming of excellent and good research institutions and less developed regions, twinning of staff exchanges, expert advice and assistance and the development of joint strategies for the establishment of centres of excellence that may be supported by the Cohesion policy funds in less developed regions. Building links with innovative clusters and recognising excellence in less developed regions, including through peer reviews and awarding labels of excellence to those institutions that meet international standards, will be considered.
– Establishing 'ERA Chairs' to attract outstanding academics to institutions with a clear potential for research excellence, in order to help these institutions fully unlock this potential and hereby create a high level playing field for research and innovation in the European Research Area. This will include institutional support for creating a competitive research environment and the framework conditions necessary for attracting, retaining and developing top research talent within these institutions.
– Supporting access to international networks for excellent researchers and innovators who lack sufficient involvement in European and international networks. This will include support provided through COST and National Contact Points.
– Supporting the development and monitoring of smart specialisation strategies. A policy support facility will be developed and policy learning at regional level will be facilitated through international evaluation by peers and best practice sharing.
-Supporting a diversity of research e.g.: integrative research, qualitative as well as quantitative research, implementation research, prevention research, in depth research, evaluation research.
6.2. Innovative societies
The shrinking Union share of global knowledge production emphasizes the need to maximise the socio-economic and cultural-educational impacts and efficiency of research and innovation policies and to increase substantially transnational policy synergies and coherence, while acknowledging diversity. Innovation will be addressed in a wide sense, including large scale policy, user- and market-driven and socially responsible innovation. These activities will support the achievement and functioning of the European Research Area and in particular the Flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy in favour of the 'Innovation Union' and the 'Digital Agenda for Europe'.
The following specific objectives will be pursued:
6.2.1. Strengthening the evidence base and support for the Innovation Union and European Research Area
In order to assess and prioritise investments and strengthen the Innovation Union and the European Research Area, the analysis of research, education and innovation policies, systems and actors in Europe and third countries as well as the development of indicators, data and information infrastructures will be supported. Forward-looking activities and pilot initiatives, economic analysis, analysis of educational quality, policy monitoring, mutual learning, coordination tools and activities and the development of methodologies for impact assessment and evaluations will also be needed, exploiting direct feedback from research stakeholders, enterprises, educational stakeholders, public authorities and citizens.
To ensure a single market for research and innovation, measures to incentivise ERA compatible behaviour, knowledge and competences will be implemented. Activities underpinning policies related to the quality of research training in higher education, mobility and career development of researchers will be supported, including initiatives to provide for mobility services, open recruitment, researchers' rights and links with global researcher communities. These activities will be implemented seeking synergies and close coordination with the Marie Curie Actions under 'Excellent science'. Institutions presenting innovative concepts and evidence for the rapid implementation of ERA principles, including the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers, will be supported.
As regard coordination of policies, a facility for policy advice with strong research basis will be set up to make expert policy advice available to national authorities when defining their National Reform Programmes and research and innovation strategies.
To implement the Innovation Union initiative, there is also a need to support (private and public) market-driven innovation in view of enhancing the innovation capacity of firms and fostering European competitiveness. This will require improving the overall framework conditions for innovation as well as tackling the specific barriers preventing the growth of innovative firms. Powerful innovation support mechanisms (for e.g. improved cluster management, public-private partnerships and network cooperation), highly specialised innovation support services (on e.g. IPR management/exploitation, innovation management, networks of procurers) and reviews of public policies in relation to innovation will be supported. Issues specific to SMEs will be supported under the specific objective 'Innovation in SMEs'. Reviews and evaluations of the quality and effectiveness of such activities will also need to be supported.
6.2.2. Exploring new forms of innovation, including social innovation and creativity
Social innovation generates new goods, services, processes and models that meet societal needs and create new social relationships. It is important to understand how social innovation and creativity may lead to change in existing structures and policies and how they can be developed (in informal and formal educational systems), encouraged and scaled-up. Grassroots on-line and distributed platforms networking citizens and allowing them to collaborate and co-create solutions based on an extended awareness of the social, political and environmental context can be a powerful tool to support the objectives of Europe 2020. Support will also be given to networking and experimentation of the use of ICT for improving learning processes, as well as to networks of social innovators and social entrepreneurs.
It is important to develop research on the human and social conditions and bariers for innovation, creativity, exploration and curiousity in our educational systems and institutions.
It will be essential to promote innovation in order to foster efficient, open and citizen-centric public services (elearning and eGovernment). This will require multidisciplinary research on new technologies and large-scale innovation and their relations to learners and users related in particular to digital privacy, interoperability, personalised electronic identification, open data, dynamic user interfaces, lifelong learning and elearning platforms, distributed learning systems, citizen-centric public service configuration and integration and innovation driven by users, including in social sciences and the humanities. Such actions will also address social-network dynamics and crowd-sourcing and smart-sourcing for co-production of solutions addressing social problems, based on open data sets. They will help to manage complex decision-making, in particular the handling and analysis of huge quantities of data for collaborative policy modelling, simulation of decision-making, visualisation techniques, process modelling and participatory systems as well as to analyse changing relationships between citizens and the public sector.
6.2.3. Ensuring societal engagement in research and innovation.
Enabling all societal actors to interact in the innovation cycle increases the quality, relevance, acceptability and sustainability of innovation outcomes by integrating society's interests and values. This requires developing specific skills, competences, 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 educational infrastructure and provision, including science education for all age groups. Gender equality will be promoted in particular by supporting changes in the organisation of research institutions and in the content and design of research activities. In order to improve knowledge circulation within the scientific community and the wider public, the accessibility and use of the results of publicly funded research will be further developed. An Ethics Framework for research and innovation, based on the fundamental ethical principles including those reflected in the Charter of Fundamental Rights and all the relevant Union laws and Conventions, will be promoted in coordination with relevant international organisations.
6.2.4. Promoting coherent and effective cooperation with third countries.
Horizontal activities will ensure the strategic development of international cooperation across Horizon 2020 and address cross-cutting policy objectives. Activities to support bilateral, multilateral and bi-regional policy dialogues in research and innovation with third countries, regions, international fora and organisations will facilitate policy exchange, mutual learning and priority setting, promote reciprocal access to programmes and monitor the impact of cooperation. Networking and twinning activities will facilitate optimal partnering between research and innovation actors on both sides and improve competencies and cooperation capacity in less advanced third countries. Activities will promote coordination of Union and national cooperation policies and programmes as well as joint actions of Member States and Associated Countries with third countries in order to enhance their overall impact. Finally, the European research and innovation 'presence' in third countries will be consolidated and strengthened, notably by promoting the creation of European 'science, education and innovation houses', services to European organisations extending their activities into third countries and the opening of research centres established jointly with third countries to organisations or researchers from other Member States and Associated Countries.
6.3.3. Reflective Societies – cultural heritage and European identity
The aim is to contribute to an understanding of Europe's intellectual basis: its history and the many European and non-European influences; as an inspiration for our lives today. Europe is characterized by a variety of different peoples (including minorities and indigenous people), traditions and regional and national identities as well as by different levels of economic and societal development. Migration and mobility, the media, industry and transport contribute to the diversity of views, philosophies and lifestyles. This diversity and its opportunities should be recognized and considered.
European collections in libraries, including digital ones, archives, museums, galleries and other public institutions have a wealth of rich, untapped documentation and objects for study. These archival resources, together with intangible heritage, represent the history of individual Member States but also the collective heritage of a European Union that has emerged through time. Such materials should be made accessible, also through new technologies, to researchers and citizens to enable a look to the future through the archive of the past. Accessibility and preservation of cultural heritage in these forms is needed for the vitality of the living engagements within and across European cultures now and contributes to sustainable economic growth.
The focus of activities shall be to:
(a) study European heritage, memory, creativity, identity, integration and cultural interaction and translation, including its representations in cultural and scientific collections, archives and museums, to better inform and understand the present and to anticipate possible futures;
(b) research into European countries’ and regions’ history, education, literature, art, philosophy and religions and how these have informed contemporary European diversity;
(c) research into how knowledge in Europe has been produced, circulated, transformed and contested over time;
(d) research into the changing sites and spaces (formal and informal, public and private) of knowledge production, dissemination and social interaction, including the role of institutions (schools, universities), networks, congresses, exhibitions and associations;
(e) research into issues of access to cultural heritage and the impact of social, economic and technological change on individuals and communities
(f ) research on Europe's role in the world, on the mutual influence and ties between the world regions, and a view from outside on European cultures.