LCE-32-2016 - European Platform for energy-related Social Sciences and Humanities research
The transition to a low-carbon energy system poses a unique set of policy, technological and scientific challenges, as it changes the fundamental nature of the interrelations between all actors in our societies (from energy incumbents to regulators and citizens). Not only there is a need to find novel approaches to the development and application of technological or social processes as they relate to the energy transition, but also to better understand the changes they bring to people’s behaviour, pervasive values, cultures of practice and modes of communication.
Since researchers in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) have a particular expertise in analysing and understanding deep change and in designing innovation processes, including social innovations, they must play a stronger role in addressing energy-related challenges. Accordingly, SSH aspects must be better integrated into all stages of the research process.
At present, the energy-related SSH landscape is quite fragmented: there is a lack of exchange among different SSH communities, as well as between these communities and other energy-research disciplines. Creating a platform for better interaction between SSH and other energy-research disciplines would fill an existing gap and contribute to better responding to on-going changes and arising challenges in the energy field.
This activity directly aimed at supporting public-public partnerships with Member States and Associated Countries, technology platforms with industrial partners is excluded from the delegation to INEA and will be implemented by the Commission services.
Within the scope of this call a platform for SSH research communities in the energy field will be set up at European level, aiming to integrate and build upon the experience of already existing networks and initiatives. The platform will seek to structure and enhance the energy-related dialogue at EU level among the different SSH stakeholders, as well as with other energy-research communities, creating greater inter-disciplinarity and fostering knowledge and information sharing among various disciplines. It will promote the generation of novel, evidence-based research designed to inform and influence relevant policy processes, particularly with respect to the role of SSH aspects (including gender) in hindering or accelerating the transition to a low-carbon energy system in Europe. The platform will also be a source of specific expertise and advice to EU policymakers, such as on how best to embed SSH aspects in Horizon 2020 energy calls, as well as how to address the SSH dimension in EU energy initiatives more broadly.
With a view to addressing specific research and innovation needs in the energy field, and as a principal goal of the platform, a program of activities will be designed. This program will set out how the platform will:
- Consolidate and foster the inter-disciplinary interaction among existing SSH research communities in the energy field, building on the reach and depth of the networks that form part of the submission;
- Extend and deepen existing networks across different disciplines, involving a variety of stakeholders;
- Reach out to geographic areas in Europe presently not well served in terms of energy-related SSH research and help build capacities there;
- Establish linkages between the new SSH platform and the existing European Technology Platforms (ETPs);
- Better integrate SSH aspects in H2020 energy calls and address the SSH dimension in EU energy initiatives more broadly;
- Formulate a strategic research agenda covering SSH-related aspects in the energy-research field from an inter-disciplinary perspective, with a view to producing relevant, influential, evidence-based research on SSH-related aspects of Europe's transition to a low-carbon energy system.
The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 1 and 2 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.
The proposal is expected to:
- help deepen, consolidate and broaden the energy research-related SSH communities in Europe;
- trigger and facilitate interdisciplinary dialogue among and between SSH and other energy-research disciplines;
- influence key policy processes in the energy domain by producing novel, evidence-based research on SSH-related aspects;
- provide targeted advice to EU policymakers on how to best embed SSH aspects in H2020 energy calls, as well as how to address the SSH dimension in EU energy initiatives more broadly;
- foster social innovation and social dialogue in the energy field at European level.