Social inequalities have increased through the current economic crisis and they pose a considerable threat to social cohesion. Rising unemployment, particularly affecting the young generation, unequal access to education and health care, increasing poverty are some of the elements, among others, that will have far-reaching consequences on society wellbeing. The phenomenon of inequalities raises tough questions on how our political systems at national and European level are able to reduce inequalities and improve social cohesion according to a European Social Model. Several research projects, funded under the Social Sciences and Humanities theme of the 7th Framework Programme have deepened this analysis highlighting the need for further debate and policies tackling the roots of inequalities.
Whatever we think about it, it is clear that surveillance has increased – it is hard to ignore as the topic frequently hits the headlines. But does it matter? The EU-funded IRISS project is intent on finding out. The team is looking at whether surveillance changes our behaviour, and how it impacts our basic rights. The conclusions will be presented to policymakers, together with recommendations.
"Every day there is a new surveillance gadget, in addition to the numerous programmes already gathering data on us. We are sleepwalking into a surveillance society," claims IRISS coordinator Reinhard Kreissl of Austria’s Institute for the Sociology of Law and Criminology. He wants to know what effect this surveillance has on how we live our lives, and levels of trust.
The IRISS team has been looking into the legal, social and technical aspects of surveillance, investigating awareness and reactions through case studies and interviews. And whereas talk of surveillance usually focuses on state security, the project is also looking at data collection by the private sector – for example by social media outlets, online vendors and search engines.
On 5 June 2014, DG Research and Innovation, in cooperation with the FLASH-IT project, organized a conference on “Research Meets Diplomacy: Europe as a Global Actor”. This conference was on the one hand intended to take stock of the rich research financed under the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities programme under FP7. On the other hand, through an exchange between researchers and EU foreign policy-makers, ideas were discussed on future topics for research on the EU as a global actor under Societal Challenge 6 “Europe in a changing world - Inclusive, Innovative and Reflective Societies” of Horizon 2020. The debates concentrated on three major themes:
- the EU’s capacities as a global actor,
- the EU’s neighbourhood with an emphasis on the Mediterranean, and
- the EU’s role in the wider world and key global challenges, focussing on two regions that have been less in the spotlight: Latin America and the Caribbean and the Pacific.
The event brought together over 120 participants from the public and private sector, including many academics and policy-makers.
The overarching goal of Flash-it is to contribute to further and future development of evidence-based policy-making coping with Europe 2020’s priorities through effective dissemination of the results already achieved by FP7 funded projects in the Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities theme. That's why the consortium launched its database which contains useful, targeted and categorized information... Access the database
Social Inequalities and Inclusive Growth in Europe 2020 "While GDP and wealth have continued to increase overall, inequality has risen in Europe – as in other developed countries – since the mid-1980s. There are now wide inequalities in the distribution of income in the EU."
Today, with the effects of the financial crisis still lingering, Europe faces a monumental challenge in its effort to tackle social inequalities. Persistent and growing gaps in income distribution provide a potent reminder of that challenge... Read more
A new transatlantic survey shows elites in Europe and the US have convergent views on global issues, yet important differences remain. Economic priorities are only partially aligned, and business leaders on both sides of the Atlantic see the world rather differently than their counterparts in politics, media and academia. Carried out as part of the EU-funded TRANSWORLD project , the Transatlantic Elites Survey pools data from interviews with over 2,000 leaders representing various sectors in seven countries. The survey confirms a large degree of like-mindedness among elites in the EU and US. However, it also shows attitudes diverge on important details that could have far-reaching implications. .... Read more
An inclusive identity is needed to foster social cohesion in a highly diverse
Europe. As cultural institutions, museums have a vital role to play in building
such an identity. With this in mind, EU-funded researchers are putting forth
recommendations on how museums can address the needs of a
heterogeneous society and help create a more "progressive sense of
belonging". Seeing migration as Europe’s defining paradigm, the MeLa2 consortium is examining how museums respond to the challenges posed by intensive migration flows. .... Read more
Stimulating transition to a sustainable society is a vital priority of the Europe 2020 growth strategy. But what are the prospects for achieving that transition? And what are the main obstacles standing in our way? Two ambitious new research projects are expected to yield some answers to these compelling questions.
Over the next three years, the EU-INNOVATE1 and GLAMURS2 research consortia will explore the relationships between ecological systems, technology, economics and human behaviours. The joint aim of the projects is to deepen our understanding of these complex relationships and show how that understanding can be leveraged to shape Europe’s trajectory toward more sustainable lifestyles and a greener economy. .... Read more
Harnessing the potential of social innovation has become a priority for European public policy. But before that potential can be systematically exploited, the drivers and dynamics of social innovation must be better understood. The EU-funded TEPSIE research project is helping to fill that knowledge gap. Exploring the theoretical, empirical and policy foundations of social innovation, the TEPSIE consortium has reached out to researchers and policymakers around the world. Among the insights gained through the project’s collaborative efforts to date are those emerging from the recent Social Frontiers conference in London. Organized jointly by NESTA (the UK’s National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts), TEPSIE, Glasgow Caledonian University and the Rockefeller Foundation, the conference transcended national and disciplinary boundaries to facilitate an invigorating exchange of social innovation ideas. .... Read more