Advertisement

The Contribution of Social Sciences and the Humanities to Research Addressing Societal Challenges. Towards a Policy for Interdisciplinarity at European Level?

  • Philippe Keraudren
Conference paper

Abstract

This chapter is about the policies being applied at European level by the European Commission to promote interdisciplinarity throughout its main policy tool since 1984, the Framework Programme (FP). In this context, interdisciplinarity is defined as the combination of knowledges between the social sciences and the humanities (SSH) and the ‘natural’ or ‘life’ sciences (also called ‘STEM’ sometimes) in order to tackle societal and technological challenges that need to be integrated in a wider social, economic, cultural and political perspective which constrain technological development. The history of the FP shows that the promotion of interdisciplinarity in FPs was based on a ‘two-legs’ approach with, on the one hand, a dedicated European research programme on the main social, economic, cultural and political challenges of Europe, and on the other hand, attempts at promoting interdisciplinarity between SSH and STEM. FP8 (2014–2020), called Horizon 2020, is a significant departure from past practices since it calls exclusively for the integration of SSH across the whole FP without a dedicated research programme on Europe’s main social, economic, cultural and political issues. The preliminary results of this new policy of interdisciplinarity are reviewed and lead to several suggestions as to how to strengthen a long-term effective EU research policy for interdisciplinarity between SSH and STEM research, while preserving the benefits of disciplinary research or of other kinds of interdisciplinarity.

Keywords

Social Sciences and the Humanities Interdisciplinarity Human potential programme Research and technological development Integration 

Notes

Acknowlegdements

I would like to thank Manfred Horvat, Nikos Kastrinos, Angela Liberatore, Helga Nowotny and Michel Wieviorka for accepting to read this text and provide very valuable advice. Of course, the responsibility for all faults, mistakes and omissions remains entirely mine.

References

  1. Barry, A., & Born, G. (Ed.). (2013). Interdisciplinarity: Reconfiguration of the social and natural sciences. Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Bourdieu, P. (2004). Science of science and reflexivity. Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  3. Bruce, A., Lyall, C., Tait, J., & Williams, R. (2004). Interdisciplinary integration in Europe: The case of the Fifth Framework programme. Futures, 36, 457–470.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. EURAB. (2004a). Recommendations on the European Research Area (ERA) and the Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH). http://ec.europa.eu/research/eurab/pdf/recommendations8.pdf.
  5. EURAB. (2004b). Follow-up of recommendations on “The European Research Area and the Social Sciences and Humanities” of January 2004. http://ec.europa.eu/research/eurab/pdf/eurab_04_069_ssh_era_follow-up_rev_030904.pdf.
  6. EURAB. (2005). The social sciences and the humanities in the 7th framework programme. http://ec.europa.eu/research/eurab/pdf/eurab2005_reprec_ssh_7fp_en.pdf.
  7. European Commission. (2017). Integration of social sciences and humanities in horizon 2020; participants, budget and disciplines. 2nd monitoring report. https://bookshop.europa.eu/en/integration-of-social-sciences-and-humanities-in-horizon-2020-pbKI0116934/.
  8. European Research Council. (2014). Science behind the projects. Research funded by the European Research Council in FP7 (2007–2013). European Commission https://erc.europa.eu/sites/default/files/publication/files/ERC_Science_behind_the_projects_FP7-2007-2013.pdf.
  9. FET Advisory Group. (2016). The need to integrate the social sciences and the humanities with science and engineering in horizon 2020 and beyond. European Commission. file:///D:/temp/TheneedtointegratetheSocialSciencesandHumanitieswithScienceandEngineeringinHorizon2020andbeyond_For_Printingpdf.pdf.Google Scholar
  10. Gulbenkian Commission. (1996). Open the social sciences: Report of the Gulbenkian commission on the restructuring of the social sciences. Palo Alto, CA: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities. (2013). Conference report. http://horizons.mruni.eu/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/ssh_mru_conference_report_final.pdf.
  12. Horvat, M., et al. (1997). Five year assessment of the specific programme: Targeted socio-economic research. European Commission, EUR 17596.Google Scholar
  13. Horvat, M. (2004). Integration of the socio-economic and foresight dimensions in FP6. Mid term synthesis report. European Commission. https://cordis.europa.eu/pub/citizens/docs/sed_report_final_050720.pdf.
  14. Horvat, M. (2009). Continuing engineering education as a driving force in university development. In Pia Lappaleinen (Ed.), European Engineering Education. Conceptualizing the Lessons Learned. SEFI and TKK Dipoli.Google Scholar
  15. IMPACT-EV. (2016). Impact evaluation of FP6 (last calls) and FP7 SSH research projects. http://impact-ev.eu/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/D3.2-Report-3.-Impact-evaluation-of-FP6-last-call-and-FP7-SSH-research-projects.pdf.
  16. Independent Expert Panel. (2000). Five year assessment of the European Union research and technological programmes, 1995–1999. http://cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp5/docs/fp5_panels_final_report_2000.pdf.
  17. Kastrinos, N. (2000). Promoting a dialogue between research and policy making: The ETAN experience. In Social Sciences for Knowledge and Decision Making (pp. 177–188). Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  18. Kastrinos, N. (2001). The Contribution of socio-economic research to the benchmarking of RTD policies in Europe. Science and Public Policy, 28(4), 238–246.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kastrinos, N. (2011). “Bringing EU social sciences and humanities research into policy: Experience and prospects”. In G. Papanagnou. (Ed.). Social science and policy challenges: Democracy, values and capacities (pp. 221–244). Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  20. Kastrinos, N. (2010). Policies for co-ordination in the European research area: A view from the social sciences and humanities. Science and Public Policy, 37(4), 297–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Liberatore, A. (2000). From science/policy interface to science/policy/society dialogue. In Social sciences for knowledge and decision making (pp. 117–128). Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  22. Lyal, C., Bruce, A., Marsden, W., & Meagher, L. (2013). The role of funding agencies in creating interdisciplinary knowledge. Science and Public Policy, 40, 62–71.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Nowotny H., Scott P. B., & Gibbons M. T. (2001). Re-thinking science: Knowledge and the public in an age of uncertainty. Cambridge: Polity.Google Scholar
  24. OECD. (1982). The university and the community: The problems of changing relationships. Paris: Centre for Educational Research and Innovation, OECD.Google Scholar
  25. Palmer, C. L. (2001). Work at the boundaries of science: Information and the interdisciplinary research process. Boston: Kluwer Academic.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Raasch, C., Lee, V., Spaeth, S., & Herstatt, C. (2013). The rise and fall of interdisciplinarity: The case of open source innovation. Research Policy, 42, 1138–1151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. The Panel. (2000). Five year assessment report related to the specific programme: Improving human research potential and the socio-economic knowledge base, covering the period 1995–1999. http://cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp5/docs/fp5_panels_final_report_improving_2000.pdf.
  28. The Panel. (2003). 2002 synthesis monitoring report on the activities conducted under the European research area and the EC/Euratom research framework programmes. http://cordis.europa.eu/pub/fp5/docs/fp5_external_monitoring_report_fp5_2002.pdf.
  29. The Panel. (2009). Evaluation of the sixth framework programmes for research and technological development 2002–2006. https://ec.europa.eu/research/evaluations/pdf/archive/other_reports_studies_and_documents/fp6_ex-post_evaluation_expert_group_report.pdf#view=fit&pagemode=none.
  30. The Panel. (2015). Commitment and coherence. Essential ingredients for success in science and innovation. Ex-post evaluation of the 7th framework programme (2007–2013). https://ec.europa.eu/research/evaluations/pdf/fp7_final_evaluation_expert_group_report.pdf.
  31. van Rijnsoever, F. J., & Hessels, L. K. (2011). Factors associated with disciplinary and interdisciplinary research collaboration. Research Policy, 40, 463–472.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philippe Keraudren
    • 1
  1. 1.European CommissionBrusselsBelgium

Personalised recommendations