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EQUIP Report Summary

Project ID: 613236
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: United Kingdom

Periodic Report Summary 1 - EQUIP (EU-India Platform for the Social Sciences and Humanities)

Project Context and Objectives:
The EU-India Platform (EqUIP) for the Social Sciences and Humanities brings together research funding and support organisations in Europe and India in order to develop a stronger strategic partnership for multi-lateral research collaboration. Europe and India have strong historical links, but its research collaboration relationships are relatively new. EqUIP is linking and building upon successful partner relationships developed at the European level, using the NORFACE and HERA European Research Area Networks (ERA-NETs) as a basis for extending European research collaboration with India.

As in those networks, EqUIP is supporting research funding agencies across Europe and India to increase international collaboration through: sharing best practice, networking and the closer coordination of existing collaborative activities, and the establishment of new relationships. A key element of the work is be to map existing collaborative activity with the aim of identifying and addressing barriers and challenges to effective research co-operation, as well as identifying opportunities and priorities for future research collaboration.

Project Results:
Activities to date
EqUIP activities initially focussed on establishing the platform’s coordination and management mechanisms to ensure the effective delivery. Activities in this period have since focussed on building working relationships, sharing experiences of Indo-European research collaboration initiatives, and scoping partners’ common interests.

Mapping Existing Collaboration and Scoping Priorities
The Scoping Report on Existing Collaboration and Future Interests and Opportunities for EU-India research cooperation mapped existing research collaboration through a survey of partners and wider funding networks in the Social Sciences and Humanities, as well as asking partners to agree (in collaboration with academic experts) a number of broad research area priorities for EU-India collaboration. This revealed significant variation between partners’ degree of past and current collaboration with India on social science and considerably weaker humanities collaboration. There was, however, a strong common interest in developing flexible funding models.

Five themes of common interest were developed:
• Inequalities, Growth and Place/Space
• Social Transformations, Cultural Expressions, Cross-Cultural Connections and Dialogue
• Digital Archives and Databases as a Source of Mutual Knowledge
• Sustainable Prosperity, Wellbeing and Innovation
• Power Structures, Conflict Resolution and Social Justice

Developing a Strategic Research Agenda through Symposia Events
The thematic priorities agreed through the scoping exercise have shaped the development of a series of six symposia events to be held in India and the EU to engage experts in the further development of a distinctively Indo-European Research agenda. Reflection papers on each event will feed into thinking and decision-making on future thematic priorities for joint programming. The first symposium event on ‘Inequalities, Growth and Place/Space’ was hosted by the Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) in New Delhi 19-20th October 2015. The reflection paper is available on

Extending Indo-European Research Collaboration in the Social Sciences and Humanities
A core objective of EqUIP is to work towards closer collaboration between the beneficiary partners in EqUIP, but also to offer wider opportunities to participate beyond the existing partners. The platform reached out virtually to potential new partners, particularly in HERA and NORFACE, and in India, to map current research collaboration beyond the platform and actively engage additional interested partners in events, most notably in a Joint Learning Workshop in Oslo, 15-16th Sept 2015, which brought together over 30 participants from 22 organisations from 14 countries. Partners have also presented EqUIP at JPI Urban Europe, Inno Indigo, HERA and Norface funders groups and to a number of Indian funding organisations. These activities have resulted in several new expressions of interest in becoming Associate partners in EqUIP from across Europe and engaged four new Indian humanities funders in EqUIP.

Sharing Learning and Strengthening Working Relationships
Sharing learning across the existing partners and building trust and strong working relationships is a key aim for the platform. A Staff Exchange Scheme between funding agencies, entailing 10 visits, has been developed in particular to maximise the opportunities for inter-agency learning and feed that learning into development of collaborative approaches. Two visits took place in 2015, hosted by the Research Council of Norway (RCN), September 2015, and Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), October 2015. The Indian event also included meetings with Indian Council of Historical Research, Indian Council of Philosophical Research and University Grants Commission

Developing a Vision for Indo-European Research Collaboration
The Joint Learning event was a key event in this period of EqUIP as it both brought existing and new partners together for the first time to develop a joint vision for Indo-European SSH collaboration beyond the lifetime of the EqUIP project. It was hosted by RCN, with assistance of ZSI, to enable participants to share previous experiences with Indo-European SSH collaboration and identified possible common approaches to effective research cooperation. The Joint Learning Report presents possible options for effective multilateral funding formats developed by participants through workshops. Through these activities the Joint Learning event has provided a clear direction of travel for EqUIP to be further developed by a small working group of EqUIP partners on Funding Futures.

Potential Impact:
Expected final results and potential impact and use
Going forward, the Platform will continue to build on this first period of scoping and development, through continuing to build stronger working relationships between partners, widening opportunities for new partner engagement in the platform, exploring new opportunities for future collaboration with other international funding networks and actively engaging, and promoting networking, amongst Indian and European experts through the upcoming series of Symposia. The platform will directly feed these activities into decision-making around future joint funding initiatives and development of a strategic research agenda. There will be a number of key outputs from the platform over the next busy period of the platform, in particular a Reflection paper will be published following each Symposium event and will be available online. These events will feed directly into the development of a strategic research agenda and the platform’s decision-making around the future activities of EqUIP beyond the life of the Coordination and Support Action. A Summary Report will be published towards the end of the platform providing a Roadmap for Indo-European research collaboration in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Shorter policy papers will also be produced for a policy audience, building awareness and raising the profile of EqUIP, highlighting synergies in thematic priorities with Horizon 2020 Societal Challenges, and the strengths within the research communities and opportunities and common agendas for future research collaboration.

A key outcome of the Platform will be in building trust between funding organisations, both through deeper understanding of how each other work, and also through the practical experience of working together on tasks, to create a stronger context for strategic collaboration. The platform will bring together learning from existing experiences of successful collaborations in social sciences/ humanities, and beyond, in shaping a common vision, and roadmap towards, stronger strategic Indo-European research collaboration and greater opportunities for researcher mobility, extending the opportunities for researchers within the European Research Area to work alongside excellent Indian researchers and ultimately facilitating Indo-European research collaboration to address societal issues of global concern.

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