Europe is confronted with a series of social and economic challenges, it is therefore important to better understand them and tackle them effectively by designing suitable policies. Europe's long tradition in this area of research together with the different social, economic and cultural approaches, offers a unique opportunity for carrying out this type of research at the EU level.
During FP7, EU research in Socio-economic Sciences and the Humanities promises to study and offer answers to questions regarding the demographic change and quality of life; education and employment in view of the current economic trends; global interdependence and the transfer of knowledge; the well-being of democracies and political participation; cultural diversity and the values.
The link between research and policy is safeguarded by ensuring that the issues examined are of high priority at the European level and are addressed by Community policies. In fact, research at the EU level has particular advantages; it can develop European-wide data which are needed to heighten our awareness of complex issues.
The research questions to be addressed within the timeframe of the FP7 will be drawn from the following areas:
- Growth, employment and competitiveness in a knowledge society (innovation, competitiveness and labour market policies; education and life-long learning; and economic structures and productivity)
- A combination of economic, social and environmental objectives in a European perspective (socio-economic models within Europe and across the world; economic and social and cohesion across regions, the social and economic dimensions of environmental policy)
- Major trends in society and their implications (demographic change, reconciling family and work, health and quality of life, youth policies, social exclusion and discrimination)
- Europe in the world (trade, migration, poverty, crime, conflict and resolution)
- The citizen in the European Union (political participation, citizenship and rights, democracy and accountability, the media, cultural diversity and heritage, religions, attitudes and values)
- Socio-economic and scientific indicators (the use and value of indicators in policymaking at macro and micro levels)
- Foresight activities (the future implications of global knowledge, migration, ageing, risk and the emerging domains in research and science).
Throughout FP7, industry and SMEs will actively be encouraged to participate in all themes, especially those under the Cooperation programme. The themes tackled by the SSH offers them the dual opportunity to operate as participants in knowledge creation as members of teams but also as recipients of knowledge putting it in application.