European research probing European issues

2 November 2012

As the impacts of the economic crisis continue to reverberate across European society, it is more important than ever before that European social scientists work together to investigate urgent economic and social issues and expand our understanding of complex social processes and individual behaviour.

In this context, four European national research funding agencies, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) are delighted to announce the outcomes of the second round of the Open Research Area Scheme (ORA), which will provide €9 million to fund ten collaborative research projects over the next three years.

The ORA scheme provides a straightforward mechanism for leading social scientists to obtain national funding to collaborate with partners elsewhere in Europe, avoiding many of the bureaucratic obstacles and restrictions associated with other types of European funding. The scheme is open to proposals in any area of the social sciences, resulting in an exciting portfolio of projects that will influence policy and push the boundaries of our understanding of individual and social behaviour.

Researchers from France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK will conduct a unique comparative analysis of administrative panel data to investigate the behavioural and economic impacts of increases to Social Security Contributions in the different countries. Another four country team will explore the different policy approaches taken to managing risk in the domains of health and safety, flooding, food safety, health care, criminal justice and education.

In another project, UK and Dutch researchers will investigate the interrelationship between austerity policies, cultural diversity and attitudes to welfare. Also, in a timely project given the events of the Arab Spring, UK and Dutch researchers will examine the impact of transitional justice measures, such as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, on the development of democratic institutions. 

Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: "These awards demonstrate how social science research questions transcend the national borders of our individual countries. It is essential excellent teams are developed so they can addresses these issues together. The Open Research Area Scheme supports the best researchers to work together to help provide answers to the pressing issues facing us all.

Projects funded between the ESRC and NWO:

  • Data-driven Analysis of the Dynamics of Information-acquisition Over time during Social judgement, Professor Phillipe Schyns, University of Glasgow, £326,026
  • The impact of transitional justice measures on democratic institution-buildingProfessor Chandra Sriram, University of London, £436,919
  • The welfare state under strain: Diversity, austerity and public opinion,  Dr Robert Ford, University of Manchester, £137,630

Projects funded between the DFG and NWO:

  • Dynamic Oligopolistic Competition between Innovating, Herbert Dawid, Bielefield University and Professor Peter Kort, Tilburg University

Projects funded between the ESRC, NWO and ANR:

  • Gay father families: The development of early parent-child relationships, Professor Michael Lamb, University Of Cambridge, £503,868

Projects funded between the ESRC, NWO and DFG:

  • Assessing, understanding, and modeling visual salience and its dynamical impact on perception and selection, Professor Zhaoping Li, University College London, £278,253

Projects funded between the ESRC, DFG and NWO:

  • Maintaining a common map of locations: remapping multi-sensory targets during eye movements, Professor Patrick Cavanagh, University Paris Descartes, Professor Heiner Deubel, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich, and Professor Jan Theeuwes, Vrije University, Amsterdam 

Projects funded between the ESRC, NWO, ANR and DFG:

  • Governance of the Discontinuation of Socio-Technical Systems, Professor Andrew Stirling, University of Sussex, £380,190
  • How States Account for Failure in Europe: Risk and the Limits of Governance, Dr Henry Rothstein, King's College London, £386,110
  • The Impact of Social Security Contributions on Earnings: Evidence using administrative data in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UKMr Stuart Adam, Institute for Fiscal Studies, £471,081

For further information contact:

ESRC Press Office:

Notes for editors

  1. Funding figures refer to the Economic and Social Research Council’s (ESRC) contribution which amounts to 80 per cent of the full economic cost of grants
  2. Funding for non-ESRC project partners is provided by the national research funding organisation involved
  3. This Open Research Area call allowed a one-stop system for all researchers in the four partner countries (France, Germany, United Kingdom and the Netherlands) to apply for joint funding. This joint scheme has been agreed within the context and framework of the EuroHorcs' "Roadmap to Excellence in Science in Europe" as part of the goal to create a European Grant Union.  It provides an opportunity for institutional learning between the participating organisations and will thereby contribute to the overall aims of the Roadmap. The scheme will run initially for four years from 2009-10 to 2011-13
  4. The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK's largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.
  5. The ANR (French National Research Agency) is a research funding organisation. It was established by the French government in 2005 to fund research projects, based on competitive schemes giving researchers the best opportunities to realize their projects and paving the way for groundbreaking new knowledge. The role of the Agency is to bring more flexibility to the French research system, foster new dynamics and devise cutting edge-strategies for acquiring new knowledge. By identifying priority areas and fostering private-public collaborations, the ANR also aims at enhancing the general level of competitiveness of both the French research system and the French economy. Since its creation, the Agency’s budget has been growing, stabilising at around €820M in 2009. 6036 applications were received and evaluated in 2009, and 1334 of them were funded. ANR funds are available in all scientific fields, for both fundamental and industrial research and for public research organisations as well as private companies (through private/public partnerships). With a peer review process matching the highest international standards, ANR’s general goal is to fund excellent research, while also facilitating innovation and interdisciplinary work and developing European and international collaborations.
  6. The DFG is the central, self-governing research funding organisation in Germany. Its mission is to fund and promote all fields of science and the humanities. It does so by relying on its statutory bodies and its Head Office, which shape the work and structure of the DFG. In an international context, the DFG is a member of several scientific and science policy associations, thus contributing to international dialogue, cooperation among researchers, and to the formation of a European Research Area.
  7. The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) stimulates and finances research in every conceivable scientific discipline and facilitates innovations. It also strives to cultivate enthusiasm for scientific research and its results and to communicate this to a broad public. In addition to this, NWO is playing an increasingly pivotal role within Dutch science. This pivotal role between industry, society and research not only facilitates cooperation, but also the dissemination and application of fundamental research results.