The design of Horizon 2020 aims to “embed” Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in all programme pillars of Horizon 2020. The Net4Society “Report on SSH Integration in Horizon 2020” takes a closer look at how SSH has been embedded in the first Work Programmes and in the Horizon 2020 Specific Programme.
It demonstrates that the SSH aspects mentioned in the Specific Programme and Work Programmes most often regard issues of behavior, consumption and lifestyles, (risk) management and governance, public perceptions and user preferences, policy decision support, social/economic innovation and the development of business models and markets. While the EC has identified 37% of all research topics in the 2014/15 Work Programmes as SSH relevant, it has to be emphasized that the degree of SSH integration varies considerably between different topics and different programme parts.
The Net4Society report draws up a number of recommendations to support the implementation of SSH integration in Horizon 2020. It stresses that SSH aspects included should go beyond an ancillary role e.g. to improve public acceptance of technologies. Similar approaches with regard to flagging of topics and including explicit references to SSH in topic texts should be adopted for all programme parts. The report also recommends to establish further support mechanisms to foster interdisciplinary research (e.g. through the funding of networking platforms of synthesis centres) and to foresee extensive monitoring measures that also assess the degree of interdisciplinarity and integration of SSH into projects.