Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Abstract

Since the social sciences represent such a small proportion of science budgets, it is inevitable that systems developed for the natural sciences prevail in many funding arrangements. At the national level, problems arising from this can be mitigated by separate research councils. At a European level, however, this is not so and the social sciences simply have to adapt as best they can to prevailing models. One central issue is that in the natural sciences, where it is so much easier to raise research funds, network funding is often used to enhance already existing research activity. In the social sciences thematic networks either have to be linked to a parallel RTD application or, where they are not, they have to conduct actions other than linking ongoing research. The 'Migrants in European Cities' ('MigCities') cooperation was originally intended to run both together; that is, to obtain RTD funds with an eight-country collaboration and to link this work together with a separate thematic network. In June 1995 two linked proposals were submitted. They were both graded A1, but the choice was made to fund the network only, apparently on the grounds this put less pressure on a heavily committed budget. The 'MigCities' network was forced, therefore, to do something other than co-ordinate research, and we chose to organise five 'state of the art' conferences on the field of inquiry in order to map the terrain and indirectly to stimulate further research activity.

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