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Integrating Research Infrastructure for European expertise on Inclusive Growth from data to policy

Periodic Reporting for period 3 - InGRID-2 (Integrating Research Infrastructure for European expertise on Inclusive Growth from data to policy)

Reporting period: 2020-05-01 to 2021-10-31

Referring to the increasingly challenging ambitions of the EU2020 strategy, the InGRID-2 project sets out to advance the integration and innovation of distributed social sciences research infrastructures on ‘poverty, living conditions and social policies’ and ‘working conditions, vulnerability and labour policies’. With the EU2020 strategy, European policy-makers aim to overcome the structural weaknesses in the EU’s economy, improve its competitiveness and productivity and underpin a sustainable social market economy. To this end, policy-makers need to be equipped with evidence-based insights into the challenges related to social exclusion, vulnerability-at-work, and related issues, as well as the strategies that can be used to advance in this area.
Being a research infrastructure project, InGRID-2 aims to provide the scientific community with resources and services to conduct top-level research contributing to inclusive growth. Key tools in this social science research are all types of data: statistics on earnings, administrative social data, labour market data, surveys of quality of life or working conditions, and policy indicators. In the social sciences, such sources tend to be difficult to access, based on different conceptualisations and approaches, and highly distributed, complicating comparative research. Helping scientists to enhance their expertise on inclusive growth from data to policy is the mission of InGRID-2. InGRID-2 serves pre-users, lead users and end users. Especially lead users, who are social scientists involved in comparative research to provide new evidence for European policy innovations, are an important target group for InGRID-2. The focus areas on InGRID-2 are a) integrated and harmonised data, (b) links between policy and practice, and (c) indicator-building tools.
Building on the foundations laid in InGRID-1, InGRID-2 will extend transnational on-site and virtual access, organise mutual learning and discussions of innovations, and improve data services and facilities of comparative research. Extending the research infrastructure to all EU countries is an important mission on the agenda for InGRID-2, in which virtual access plays a key role. Short and long-term visiting grants allow researchers to experiment with and work on key data sets and tools within a context of mutual knowledge exchange and cross-fertilisation. In addition, a research portal is set up to serve as the gateway to the InGRID-2 infrastructure. Networking activities will provide initiation (summer schools), in-depth discussions (expert workshops), and help promote necessary innovations for sustainable inclusive growth (through data forums, special interest group meetings, stakeholder platform conferences, round tables and an experts-in-residence programme).
Key science actors and their stakeholders are coupled in the consortium to provide expert services to users of comparative research infrastructures by investing in collaborative efforts to better integrate micro-data, identify new ways of collecting data, establish and improve harmonised classification tools, extend available policy databases, optimise statistical quality, and set-up microsimulation environments and indicator-building tools as important means of valorisation. This work is performed through a number of joint research activities, which concentrate on extending data integration, exploring new data linkage and sources, innovating microsimulation tools, improving comparative policy data, and investigating new high-quality indicators.
InGRID-2 brings together 19 partners from 14 EU Member States.
In the third reporting period, the following outputs have been realised and all project objectives have been achieved:
• 85 deliverables were submitted;
• 47 milestones were achieved (7 summer schools, 5 expert workshops, 6 data forums, and 5 special interest groups were organised);
• 35 applicants were offered a visiting grant for transnational access in four calls, a total of 303 visiting days were taken up during the reporting period, despite the severe impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and travel restrictions on this activity;
• the project’s final conference was organised on 9-10 September (online), bringing together 90 participants from across the EU.
The detailed project objectives are the following:

a) Transnational access (TNA)
To advance the transnational access established in the InGRID-1 by (a) raising the targets (+25% on-site access and two virtual access facilities), and (b) adding new facilities. More specifically, InGRID-2 aims to provide a convenient and harmonised transnational access to sixteen social science installations, based on a unified and integrated grant system with the required open selection procedures. On-site access will be provided to more than 250 visitors for a total of 2,520 visiting days. Two infrastructures make the step to virtual access (LIS and UEssex). At least 25% of this TNA will be provided to visitors from newer Member States.

b) Mutual learning activities as networking
To organise knowledge exchange and transfer within the dedicated community-of-interest, by organising eighteen training activities and eleven expert discussion events. A series of video tutorials, inspired by MOOCs, was prepared and is freely accessible.

c) Innovation networking activities
To connect broader networks of data providers (through 8 data forums), users’ groups (8 special interest groups) and policy innovators (2 stakeholder platform conferences, of which one was organised as the final conference) in order to, on the one hand, develop innovation within the infrastructure and, on the other hand, play a knowledge brokering role between the research-community-of-interest and the targeted policy innovation. Research visits by InGRID-2 researchers at OECD and ILO helped to strengthen the collaboration with these organisations.

d) Joint research activities
To conduct research activities to enhance and enrich the technical quality of the RI that focuses on an improved data integration and harmonisation, upgrading particular analytical tools and making considerable progress in the technique of indicator-building, which is defined as a key instrument by the community-of-interest for an evidence-based impact on policy innovation. The project focused on making its outputs accessible to a wide audience. The newly launched e-portal serves as an important gateway to the InGRID-2 research infrastructure and its main results, as well as to data sources, tools and indicators available elsewhere (https://www.ingridportal.eu/en). This e-portal is also connected to other major portals and platforms developed, supported or maintained as part of the InGRID-2 project: IPOLIS, IPUMS, SPIN, AMELIA, EUROMID and a platform on dynamic microsimulation to be launched in 2022. Collaborations were set up with leading stakeholders to ensure the sustainability of the research infrastructures.
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