Social sciences, humanities: not dead yet

Nieuws | de redactie
27 februari 2012 | The social sciences and humanities have found a strong defender in the Danish Presidency. While the European Commission proposed cutting down funding, the Danes now want to restore them in the Horizon 2020 programme.

The recent Competitiveness Council of 20-21 February showed thatmany EU member states joined the Danish position. Denmark statedthat social sciences and humanities are indispensable, particularlywith regards to the ‘grand societal problems’.

Coalition of the willing

Therefore, a coalition of member states put on the record in thecouncil conclusions that they want “to secure a prominent positionfor social sciences and humanities within the programme [Horizon2020] and to make the programme more attractive for SMEs.”

Following the Council’s negotiations, President and DanishMinister for Science, Innovation and Higher Education MortenØstergaard says:”The solutions to complex societal challengesrequire interdisciplinarity. The Council has had a longerdiscussion on this very issue and I am pleased that there isgenerally broad support for focusing on social sciences andhumanities as transversal elements in the coming research andinnovation programme, Horizon 2020.”

In the court

Now, the ball is in the court of the European Commission again.Director-general Robert-Jan Smits (DG Research), who recently criticized the silos within the socialsciences and their reluctance to tackle societal problems, willhave to swallow the latest conclusions of the EuropeanCompetitiveness Ministers.

The Danish Presidency aims at forging a common Council’s opinionby May 2012, in order to pave the way for timely approval byCouncil and European Parliament. Horizon 2020 is supposed tosucceed the EU’s 7th research framework programme (FP7)in 2013.

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