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More than 60 Universities and Academic Institutions Call for Greater Role for Humanities and Social Sciences in New Research Framework Program of the European Union

Broad Support for Position Paper by Ten European Universities Leading in Humanities and Social Sciences, including Freie Universität Berlin

№ 053/2018 from Mar 26, 2018

More than 60 European universities, academic institutions, and associations have called for better integration and enhancement of research in the humanities and social sciences within the new EU Research Framework Program. The universities and about 500 individual scholars supported a position paper from ten leading universities in these fields. The declaration was submitted to the relevant decision makers in Brussels. The initiative was started by Ghent University and the position paper was developed jointly by members of Sapienza Università di Roma, Tilburg University, Oberta de Catalunya, the University of Barcelona, the University of Glasgow, the University of Groningen, Université libre de Bruxelles, Université Sorbonne, and Freie Universität Berlin. The new framework program will succeed the Horizon 2020 program, which expires in 2020.

The position paper was prepared as part of the public consultation on the design of the EU Research Framework Program as of 2021. The public consultation ended at the beginning of March. In the document the universities and scholars emphasize the important contributions made by the humanities and social sciences in solving social and political problems. In addition, the paper contains five concrete recommendations for the design of the new EU Research Framework Program, including the creation of a platform for the humanities and social sciences with enhanced interdisciplinary cooperation, recognition of the social and academic value of research findings, and the call for more investments in outstanding humanities and social science research. The aim must be to improve the conditions for research and innovation in these fields and to counteract the impression that only disciplines in the natural sciences can contribute to prosperity in Europe. According to the signatories of the position paper, the priorities of the new research framework program should not be limited to technical progress with economic benefits, as is the case for most of the current program. They note that particularly in turbulent times such as the present – whether with regard to issues of democracy or security, cultural issues, or the acceptance of new technologies in society – the humanities and social sciences can make important contributions to prepare society for the challenges of the future.

Text of the Position Paper:



  • Wendy Sonneveld, Sr. Policy Advisor European Affairs, Ghent University, Tel.: + 32 9 264 9562; Email: Wendy.sonneveld@ugent.be
  • Freie Universität Berlin, Claudia Siegel, EU Liaison Office Brussels, Freie Universität, Tel.: + 32 493934591 and +49 30 838-60181; Email: brussels@fu-berlin.de