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New EU Declaration on Investment in Social Sciences and Humanities

The European Union (EU) expects research and innovation to be the foundation for its future growth. Horizons 2020, an initiative running from 2014 to 2020 with a budget of a little more than €70 billion, is the EU’s new program for research and innovation and is part of the drive to create new growth and jobs in Europe. In September, a two-day conference was held in Vilnius, Lithuania, organized by the Lithuanian Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to address how socio-economic sciences and humanities can be incorporated into Horizons 2020. The result is the Vilnius Declaration on Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH), published on September 24. The Declaration issues the following statements:

  1. Innovation is a matter of change in organizations and institutions as well as technologies.
  2. Fostering the reflective capacity of society is crucial for sustaining a vital democracy.
  3. Policy-making and research policy have much to gain from SSH knowledge and methodologies.
  4. Drawing on Europe’s most precious cultural assets, SSH play a vital role in redefining Europe in a globalizing world and enhancing its attractiveness.
  5. Pluralistic SSH thinking is a precious resource for all of Europe’s future research and innovation trajectories.

It also outlines the following conditions for integrating social science and the humanities into Horizons 2020:

  1. recognizing knowledge diversity;
  2. collaborating effectively;
  3. fostering interdisciplinary training and research; and
  4. connecting social values and research evaluation.

For more information, read the Declaration on the conference’s website.

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