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Research for inclusive growth: addressing the socioeconomic effects of technological transformations

Proposals should comprehensively analyse, Europe-wide and comparatively, the effects of technological transformations on employment and labour markets. They should trace changes in the content of work and the new skills in demand. To this end, they should explore ways of measuring new skills and provide verifiable data of trusted quality. They should look at how education and training systems could be transformed in order to address evolutions in the content and organisation of work. Proposals should equally take stock of the rise of digital platforms and the platform economy in European countries and examine associated legal, social and economic challenges and prospects. Historical, comparative perspectives on how previous industrial revolutions impacted European societies should complement the analyses.

Furthermore, projects should evaluate the implications for social mobility and labour market polarisation (in job quality, wages, social security coverage etc.) arising from the technological changes. They should assess tax and benefits policies that could lead to a fairer distribution of gains. Gender-related aspects should be taken into account as needed. In the context of evolving patterns of labour market participation and divergent access to social security, research may explore the benefits or challenges of a universal basic income. Proposals should also study the social investment and social protection policies and inclusive business models (e.g. social economy, social enterprises) that can lead to human capital growth and productivity gains while promoting access to labour markets and social well-being. Further elements that may be explored pertain to occupational health and safety issues resulting from technological transformations. This may include the relationship between technology, productivity gains and work-life balance including the availability and use of non-work, discretionary time.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU in the order of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Technological transformations such as automation, robotisation and digitisation have profound socioeconomic effects. They create both opportunities and challenges for the future of work, employment and productivity. At the same time, they have an impact on welfare systems and social security, on the content of skills and their acquisition, on availability and type of jobs, on occupational health and safety, and on issues related to personal and social well-being and distributive fairness. Research is needed to assess the effects of these mutations and to propose policies and interventions aimed at socially inclusive growth.

The action will address the multifaceted social and economic impacts of the technological transformations and will contribute to promoting social inclusion, economic development, fairness and well-being. It will also identify social investment policies necessary for kick-starting an era of higher skills and productivity and for reaping the benefits of technological advances. Results will pave the way for a robust European strategy for socially cohesive growth and economic competitiveness.