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Strengthening Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) research communities in climate, energy and mobility disciplines

Confronting the threat of global warming and transitioning to carbon neutrality by mid-century requires research and innovation in a number of distinct but interconnected areas, notably in climate science, energy, and mobility. Along with technological innovations, successful solutions need to factor in changing lifestyles, social innovation, forms of behaviour, value structures, governance arrangements at institutional or corporate levels, as well as forms of social organisation. This calls for concerted, multi-disciplinary approaches that are rooted in a variety of academic disciplines but also draw in and engage policymakers at various levels, the private sector, civil society and citizens at large.

To develop and enact such approaches, more extensive networks connecting relevant communities of researchers and practitioners are required, to facilitate and enable deeper and more consequential forms of collaboration. In particular, Scientific, Technical, Engineering and Mathematical (STEM) communities in climate science, energy and climate need to work more closely with those in the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) disciplines, ensuring adequate outreach especially to the eastern and southern parts of Europe. At the same time, methods and mechanisms for lowering social and behavioural barriers and engaging citizens and stakeholders need further refinement, more extensive application and improvement via co-creation and co-production processes, including gender-sensitive ones, and greater dissemination. Focus areas requiring specific attention include prosumers, renewable energy and mobility communities, resource efficiency and the circular economy, as well as digital platforms and technologies.

Developing novel, multi-disciplinary perspectives, strengthening SSH research communities while encouraging collaboration with the STEM disciplines, and nurturing linkages with stakeholder communities, civil society and citizens at large are important preconditions for providing targeted, high-quality advice on how to confront the manifold challenges surrounding the transition to climate neutrality. Policymakers at European and other levels have obvious need for such advice, in delivering the European Green Deal and other high-profile policy initiatives.

Projects under this topic are expected to work towards these goals, while also producing novel research and concrete applications that can inform policymaking, notably at EU-level including with respect to the European Green Deal.

This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities.