Ministers Defend Social Sciences and Humanities in Horizon 2020

Horizon 2020 LogoResearch Europe have reported that EU research ministers want humanities and social sciences to play a “central” role in Horizon 2020

EU research ministers want humanities and social sciences to play a “central” role in the next research-funding programme Horizon 2020.

Ministers made a stand for social sciences and humanities during the Competitiveness Council, which took place on 20-21 February. “Many member states highlighted the advantages of embedding social sciences and humanities into research projects in order to better address the societal challenges,” the Council of Ministers said in a statement after the meeting.

“The solutions to complex societal challenges require interdisciplinarity,” said Danish science minister Morten Østergaard, who chaired the meeting. “The Council has had a longer discussion on this very issue and I am pleased that there is generally broad support for focusing on social sciences and humanities as transversal elements in the coming research and innovation programme, Horizon 2020.”

In its proposal for Horizon 2020, presented in November last year, the European Commission proposed that social sciences and humanities research should be made available under a funding pillar called “Inclusive, innovative and secure societies” as well as across the other challenge headings.

However some ministers favoured a separate social sciences pillar in Horizon 2020 proposed structure under which social sciences and humanities research would be funded.

For all the latest news on Horizon 2020 please visit the dedicated Horizon 2020 webpages.

Last month, pan-European science academy Academia Europaea urged EU leaders to maintain and grow high-quality research in the humanities and social sciences, and to beware of focussing research evaluation on short-term economic benefit.