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Horizons for Social Sciences and Humanities

Mayer, Katja; König, Thomas; Nowotny, Helga

Until 2012 many gatherings have been organised discussing the future of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in the European research landscape; Many wise words were spoken and good ideas had been launched before, but to connect them with specific work programmes and discuss them in an open and broad manner, was another matter.

Our Lithuanian colleagues recognised that the timing of their country’s EU Presidency would be the perfect moment to discuss the role and relevance of SSH in the upcoming Framework Programme, Horizon 2020, with their wider impact. The new programme foresees the full integration of SSH into the “Grand Societal Challenges” that Europe faces and is determined to tackle through research, development and innovation. The realisation of these ambitious goals has yet to take shape. The conference in September 2013 was one of the many potential places to make this happen.

Before the start of the conference we conducted a “consultation process” within the European SSH communities to hear the voices of as many contributors as possible. More than 300 very detailed responses have brought up interesting issues, which helped us to structure the conference and collect recommendations for drafting a declaration. We collaborated closely with the European Commission in preparing this conference: as a result, Commission staff participated in all sessions where the integration into the seven societal challenges was discussed. We asked prominent scholars from all branches of SSH to provide input. The first day of the conference concentrated on reflecting and assessing where we stand, whereas the second day was dedicated to a detailed discussion of the next necessary steps towards achieving integration. This report collects all conference contributions and the resulting recommendations.

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