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Discussing the future of social sciences and humanities in Europe

Publication date: 12/05/15


A morning workshop dedicated to the European perspectives of social sciences and humanities (SSH) research took place on Wednesday, 22 April at the University of Strasbourg.
This workshop aimed to bring the university community together as well as to show researchers the importance of their subjects in the agendas of the University, LERU (League of European Research Universities) and several European institutions. More specifically, the workshop was also intended as a way to inform social science and humanities researchers about the multiple sources of funding available to them and encourage them to take up European projects. The president of LERU’s SSH community Wim van den Doel shed light on the future of social science and humanities in Europe, noting that “a vast majority of European universities give SSH the same treatment as other disciplines, in a consistent and fruitful interdisciplinary dialogue. One third of the staff and students in LERU universities are affiliated with SSH, which is a significant proportion.” He added that the support provided by the European Union to SSH integrated into research framework-programmes since 1994 “ has only increased until the implementation of the “Horizon 2015” programme, which encourages SSH to integrate into all research projects, including  technology-oriented ones. However, progress still needs to be made in acknowledging this academic field. This is why EU member states and universities should take action and give their support to interdisciplinary research.” The second part of the morning was dedicated to a roundtable discussion which allowed researchers to identify the tools and resources available to them when applying to a European research programme in the field of SSH. The discussion was attended by the university’s European and International Office manager Sandrine Schott-Carrière as well as three researchers whose projects were funded by the EU, among which Catherine König-Pralong, professor of medieval philosophy at the University of Freiburg and recipient of an ERC grant (European Research Council). Isabel Iribarren, lecturer in history and medieval philosophy at the University of Strasbourg and member of LERU’s SSH working group concluded: “Interdisciplinarity is common in the field of SSH and is a dominant tendency in France, the UK, Germany and Switzerland. Ideally, it would be good to open up to natural sciences; synergy is possible, though not with all research themes.” 


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