European (Social) Science Policy-Making: Setting the Agenda of the Social Sciences and Humanities in the EU Framework Programmes

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 11:15 AM
Room: Booth 49
Oral Presentation
Rafael SCHÖGLER , Department of Sociology, University of Graz, Graz, Austria
The social sciences and humanities (SSH) funding schemes of the European Union (EU) framework programmes are the largest of their kind in Europe (Kastrinos 2010). The larger EU policy context has had direct impact on EU SSH research policy and indirect impact on national research funding strategies. Setting the agenda of research policy takes place on two levels in the European Union: first, the definition of large thematic priorities, funding instruments, rules of participation and the overall budget available to the different domains are defined in the multi-annual EU Framework Programmes. Second, the precise topics, research questions and favoured approaches are defined in the regularly updated work programmes.

The paper will discuss how the agenda is set in EU SSH research policy and in particular focus on the role of the Treaties (Rome, Amsterdam, Maastricht, Lisbon) in framing SSH research policy since FP4 (1994-1998), when a SSH priority was first introduced. It will be shown that the (geo)political landscape of Europe and the degree of European integration has first limited and later facilitated SSH subjects. It will also consider how changes, first in discourse and later in governance, affected practices of stakeholders (researchers, research associations, funding bodies) and public participation in setting the agenda for the SSH. The process of setting the agenda is understood on the one hand as a social practice of knowledge production, in the sense that setting research priorities and especially defining more precise calls for proposals on a political level also influences the approaches and results of SSH research. On the other hand it is understood as a form of political bargaining, where public and stakeholder participation is taking place in the political sphere. The research relies on existing studies, interviews with Commission officials and national contact points, participant observation and document analysis.