The objective of the European graduate programme in Social Protection Policy (ESPP) is to train a critical mass of young researchers in social protection and social policy in a European and multidisciplinary perspective by pooling the resources of 12 top r esearch institutes and universities in 8 EU-countries.Social Protection is a research area wherein many European institutes have built up serious expertise. However, no specialised PhD- programmes are found at universities. Most research- and training-grou ps at universities across Europe are relatively small. The proposed network pools the expertise and competence of a significant number of the top European scholars in the field. It also combines the input and the research perspectives from various discipli nes: economics, political science and other social sciences as it counts protagonists in the various disciplines among the supporting institutes. The ESPP programme brings together a significant part of the European expertise in social protection in order to provide a sound scientific foundation of EU social policy and in order to be able to attract the best young researchers in the world. The experienced researchers and teachers will contribute to a coherent PhD programme taught in a central location and s tudents/fellows will spend a significant period at one of the supporting institutes, while a tightly organised supervision and monitoring programme guarantees a successful start of a high level research career. The ESPP programme will build on the experien ce and the know-how of the host in implementing graduate programmes in the field of social protection. Excellence in teaching and research in Social Protection are the explicit objectives.The sustainability and the reform of European Welfare States, will b e at the centre of the political and the academic debate in the decades to come and the debate will profit from pooled research inputs.
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