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FP6

SSH-FUTURES — Result In Brief

Project ID: 28770
Funded under: FP6-CITIZENS
Country: Austria

Translating SSH knowledge to action

Research in the social sciences and humanities has the potential to effect change in an ever changing society, provided it is effectively communicated. An EU-funded initiative advanced recommendations on how this could best be achieved.
Translating SSH knowledge to action
The 'Social sciences and humanities for Europe' (SSH-Futures) project was established to investigate — in a novel way — the dynamics of knowledge generated in the area of social sciences and humanities (SSH) within the European research landscape.

More particularly, project partners sought to understand how work in the social sciences and in the humanities can be better coupled and developed, as well as SSH interactions with the social sphere: the impact on economies, societies and political institutions. Including retrospective and prospective sections in the study, they aimed to determine if such an approach could be included within EU research policies for enhanced value.

Given the different nature of SSH compared to the natural and technical sciences, the future of the former necessitates improved and fruitful interaction between the various stakeholders in a multilevel governance system. SSH-Futures drew up and analysed a substantial base of information and data on the state of SSH research in Member States, as well as on common and diverging aspects of the EU research landscape.

Researchers used a literature review, surveys among SSH researchers, a forecast survey and qualitative expert interviews with stakeholders to develop recommendations for enhancing the flows of knowledge across national borders. The overall result envisioned establishing an innovative and competitive future for the European research landscape in this area.

Recommendations cover the research community as well as institutions at European and national levels; their aim is the optimal exchange of knowledge within the EU for greater impact of SSH research results leading to informed action. It was emphasised that in order to accomplish this, dissemination activities need to take an approach transcending academic boundaries.

Translating research results into action is critical for their relevance and worth. Policymakers, civil society organisations and the public itself must play a role here and promote its importance at regional, national and European/international levels. Achieving this calls for the use of appropriate tools and establishing trust with transparent methodologies and funding. Such an approach will also help to correct the often distorted picture of the research landscape that arises from misrepresentation of results and information. Therefore, dissemination of knowledge must extend beyond mere distribution and well beyond the duration of individual projects.

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