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Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities, Lithuanian EU Presidency’s Conference

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A voice for social sciences and humanities research

One of the three pillars of the EU's Horizon 2020 research Framework Programme is 'Societal Challenges'. An EU-funded project organised a conference to address concerns that social sciences and humanities (SSH) research will be diminished as a result of this pillar's integrative approach.

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The project 'Horizons for social sciences and humanities, Lithuanian EU Presidency's Conference' (SSH HORIZONS) focused on the relations of SSH and science/research policy in Horizon 2020. Three thematic topics were outlined for the first day of the two-day conference: Diversities and Common Grounds, Evaluation and Assessment, and Education and Training. The second day was dedicated to the role of SSH in this Framework Policy (FP) and the capacities needed to meet identified challenges.SSH HORIZONS sought to counter the threats perceived to SSH research under Horizon 2020 and offer ways to deal with the new FP's opportunities and shifting conditions. The project's organisation aimed at impacting both the researcher community and policymakers.Open consultation carried out with researchers in all SSH fields and disciplines before the conference resulted in the drafting of an informed declaration. This was used for the thematic design of the conference. Paticipants adopted a final Conference Declaration, which is the formal result of the conference.With a target audience of some 400, the event attracted academics, industry, state institutions, media, business companies, civil society groups and others. Bringing together different communities and stakeholders ensured the conference represented the voices from each 'side' of the debate for eventual mutual benefit from the integrative approach.Following the conference, a report was published highlighting contributions from keynote speakers, information on parallel sessions and the consultation report. Other outreach activities included representation on official websites, media briefings and press releases, TV and radio appearances, and a strong social media presence.The consultation exercise, the parallel sessions and general conference outcomes helped highlight the potential of SSH-related research in addressing societal challenges. Laying the conditions for the successful integration of SSH in Horizon 2020, the project also strengthened the interdisciplinary context of the FP, the EU's largest to date.

Keywords

Horizon 2020, social sciences and humanities, integrative approach, interdisciplinary research, policymaking

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