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Expert Group on the Humanities, Positioning Humanities Research in the 7th Framework Programme

Funded under: FP7


The 7th Framework Programme (FP7) marks a new stage in the inclusion of the humanities in the Framework Programmes, in that for the first time in the history of these Programmes an entire theme - Theme 8 of the Specific Programme Cooperation - is explicitly addressed to the "Socio-Economic Sciences and the Humanities". Like FP7 in general, and the Cooperation Specific Programme in particular, Theme 8 is directly linked to the (revised) Lisbon Agenda, through which the Union seeks to address what it regards as Europe's current and future key challenges: growth, employment and competitiveness, social cohesion, and sustainability, quality of life, and global interdependence. Theme 8 is designed to "provide a new knowledge base for policies" in these and related fields - in other words, a European policy-relevant knowledge base informed, inter alia, by the humanities.
Theme 8 is divided into the following eight thematic activities:
- Growth, employment and competitiveness in a knowledge society: the European case
- Combining economic, social and environmental objectives in a European perspective: Paths towards sustainable development
- Major trends in society and their implications
- Europe in the World
- The Citizen in the European Union
- Socio-economic and scientific indicators
- Foresight activities
- Strategic activities
In the first work programme released for Theme 8 on 22 December 2006, the above activities are further divided into areas and topics, with project proposals being invited at the level of topics. Among the topics under Activity 3 are, for example, "Migration", "Youth and social exclusion", and "Cultural interactions and multiculturalism in European societies", i.e. societal developments that may well challenge the success of the Lisbon agenda. Each topic is mapped out in terms of issues that "should" or "could" be addressed by research teams.

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