Completed Activities

Position Paper

The Standing Committee for the Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS))  has published a Position Paper VITAL QUESTIONS: The Contribution of European Social Science   [more]

Project Type: Publication - Disciplines involved: Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)) - Activity Period: 2008 - 2009


New approaches for researching the determinants of migration processes

Dates and Location: 29-30 September 2011, Corpus Christi College, Oxford (UK)
Convenor(s): Hein de Haas International Migration Institute (IMI), University of Oxford (UK)
Sponsor(s): ESF SOC (formerly SCSS) and the Oxford Martin School of the University of Oxford
More information: go to website

This workshop aims to explore the contours of a future empirical and theoretical agenda for multi-method and multi-level research on the determinants of migration processes. While there is a plethora of research on the social, cultural and economic impacts of migration on sending and receiving societies, in comparison there has been less research on the drivers (causes) of migration processes themselves. Although there is consensus that macro-contextual economic and political factors in sending and receiving countries and factors such as networks and policies all play ‘some’ role, there is no agreement on the nature of impacts, their relative weight and mutual interaction, and how these factors are affected by migration processes in their own right. In addition, much empirical research is weakly guided by larger theoretical questions and, hence, also contributes insufficiently to theoretical advancement.
The outcomes will play a role in the development of a European level research agenda in the area of international migration.  IMI intends to organise a follow-up, empirical results-driven workshop on the determinants of international migration in early 2012.

Indicators for Child Well-Being

Dates and Location: 26-27 July 2011, University of York (UK)
Convenor(s): Asher Ben-Arieh Paul Baerwald School of Social Work, Hebrew University in Jerusalem (IL)
Sponsor(s): ESF SOC (formerly SCSS) and ESF Standing Committees for the Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)) and Medical Sciences (MED (formerly EMRC))
More information:

The workshop main goal is to facilitate improved social reporting on child well-being in Europe. The workshop will convene a group of established experts, together with government officials responsible for data gathering and policy makers in the field of child well-being in order to provide a unique opportunity to integrate different perspectives and disciplines involved in social reporting on children’s well-being internationally, and to acquaint the needs and abilities of data collectors, researchers and policy makers.
During the workshop, a review of the current state of the art of child well-being indicators and their use in social reports nationally and internationally will be presented. Then, future goals and policy making needs will be highlighted and current gaps in knowledge for policy considered. The aim is to draw up a proposal for a strategic plan to advance the field.
The workshop is a follow-up to a 2009 workshop ‘Changing Childhood in a Changing Europe’, and will take place adjacent to the Annual Conference of the International Society for Child Indicators (ISCI). The main outcomes and conclusions off the workshop will be presented at the ISCI conference bringing an immediate dissemination to a larger number of researchers and stakeholders in the field. 

Evidence-Based Prevention of Bullying and Youth Violence: European Innovations and Experiences

Dates and Location: 5-6 July 2011, The Møller Center, Churchill College, Cambridge
Convenor(s): Tina Malti University of Toronto (CA) and Manuel Eisner University of Cambridge (UK)
Sponsor(s): ESF SOC (formerly SCSS) and The Jacobs Foundation
More information: go to website

Violence and bullying among children and adolescents is a widespread problem. Research has shown that it has strong effects on children’s and adolescents’ mental health, social development, and educational achievement. A responsible and healthy young generation is a major asset for competing in a globalised environment and for securing democratic values.  As European societies become more diversified both demographically and politically, the question of how young people can overcome maladaptive developmental trajectories and become socially responsible citizens becomes thus notably more important.  Despite the efforts in the current field of bullying prevention research, there are still considerable conceptual, methodological and practical challenges.
The conference gathered together researchers, policy makers and practitioners to provide new insights into innovative approaches to evidence-based bullying and violence prevention across Europe. It aims at contributing to the further progress in our knowledge of how the socially competent development of children and adolescents can be promoted, and how problematic developments can be prevented.

Gender and Education

Education plays a key role for the societal development, both for men and for women. Women and men are, however, differently positioned according to their education and this is reflected partly through inequality at the labor markets. Many research efforts in the area of gender and education have focused on explaining the patterns of gender inequality and causes of gender gaps in education. Gender is clearly a priority issue in education, also in relation to societal inequalities of other kinds such as social exclusion and questions of integration of migrant population. The question of equality in education needs to be explored, in relation to wider societal development and cohesion in Europe.

The project has been initiated by Professor Anne Kovalainen, SOC (formerly SCSS) and Core Group member, and a workshop will look into needs and possibilities of future strategic activities on Gender and Education.  The workshop took place on 1-2 October in Turku, Finland.

Project Type: Strategic Workshop - Disciplines involved: Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS))  - Activity Period: 2009


Management of Post-Conflict Situations

One of the everlasting problems human society is facing is a preservation of peace. Traditionally the relevant research of international law, international relations, political science, ethnology, sociology etc. concentrate either on the reasons of war, the rules concerning the conduct of war or institutional guaranties against the outbreak of war – to name some of the most relevant topics. The developments after the Second World War, however, seem to indicate that these topics may be appropriate but by no means exhaustive. The central new emerging topic is how to manage the situation after a military conflict namely how to guarantee that war or an internal conflict does not emerge again.

This was discussed at a workshop on 7-8 October 2009 in Strasbourg, France, chaired by by Professor Rüdiger Wolfrum from the Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law.

Project Type: Strategic Workshop - Disciplines involved: Led by the Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)) and involving the Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)) - Activity Period: 2009


Communicating Europe: Developing Strategies for the European Public Space

The demand for a European Public Space has been promoted by the attempts to communicate the debates around the EU Constitutional Treaty and the Lisbon Treaty, and was especially prominent after the Irish referendum. There are repeated references to the need for a common framework, encompassing the respective national publics, for discussing the central issues of European politics. In the election campaigns for the European Parliament, however, it is the preponderance of national political themes that can be observed.

Professor Silvia Miháliková, SOC (formerly SCSS) member, submitted a proposal on this topic.  A workshop held on the 5-7 November 2009 in Bratislava, Slovakia, looked into how to produce an analysis of viable elements for the construction of a European Public Space, as well as investigating current deficiencies.

Project Type: Strategic Workshop - Disciplines involved: Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS))  - Activity Period: 2009


Roadmapping Science in Society

The relationship between science and society should be thought over in a systematic way because more and more worrying signs show that the key societal publics have been losing interest in science and, in turn, science does not get enough inspiration from society. In order to have a greater prestige, which would, e.g. attract more talented young people, in order to draw more public and private sources into research funding, in order to convince the different publics and stakeholders about the relevance of science, the scientific community should renew its relationship with society.

The initiative is being prepared by the CNRS (Presidency/General directorate) and the ESF (SOC (formerly SCSS)). A strategic workshop was held in Paris on 30 June - 1 July 2009 to discuss the above issues and suggest how they could be addressed. [more]

Project Type: Strategic Workshop - Disciplines involved: Led by the Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)) and involving the Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)), Life, Earth and Environmenatal Sciences (LEE (formerly LESC)), Medical Sciences (MED (formerly EMRC)) and the Physical and Engineering Sciences (PEN (formerly PESC)) - Activity Period: 2009


Changing Childhood in a Changing Europe

A strategic workshop took place on 26-27 February 2009 in Nicosia, Cyprus under the leadership of Swiss SOC (formerly SCSS) and Core Group member Pasqualina Perrig-Chiello, with around 25 experts in the areas of children’s health and well-being, childcare and new family norms, intergenerational solidarity, immigration and migration as well as social inclusion. 

A report was published in June 2009, and a larger follow-up project expected.

Project Type: Strategic Workshop - Disciplines involved: Led by the Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)) and involving the Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)) - Activity Period: 2008-2009.


Beyond Transition

In the last decade of the 20th century, social scientists have paid special attention to the post-socialistic transition especially in the countries of Central-East-Europe. This discpline of transitology watched with interest the ambitions of the countries finally liberated from the Soviet power to create market economy and pluralistic democracy, analysing the transformation of political institutional, conception and ideology system, the sweeping reform of ownership, and the social phenomenon evolving alongside these transformations.

The literature of transitology has started its second period. It is not enough to analyse the consequences of the seemingly successful adaptation process in the regulation, institutions and macro structures, but much more in the deeper layers of Central-East-European societies, in its system of values and the features of the internal conflicts of society.

A strategic workshop was held on 28 May 2008 in order to develop a proposal for an ESF Forward Look.  The project was approved for launch by the ESF Governing Council in April 2009 and launched later in the year.

Go to project homepage: Central and Eastern Europe Beyond Transition: Convergence and Divergence in Europe

Project Type: Strategic Workshop - Disciplines involved: Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)) - Activity Period: 2008.


Bridging Methodology Gaps

This project aims to identify specific research questions at the interface of the two disciplinary groups - humanities and social sciences - in the areas of the Affective Sciences, Media Studies and Urban Studies and to see in what manner these research questions could be taken up (through a written communication or through a new project, possibly using one of the available ESF mechanisms).

A major workshop was held in December 2007, with three workshops focusing on the abovementioned areas.  Smaller follow-up meetings took place in 2008, to elaborate specific proposals.


  • An ESF Forward Look was approved by the ESF Governing Council in October 2009: Media studies: new Media and new Literacies.  It will be launched in 2010 (more information coming soon) and led by the Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)).  The project also involves the Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)).

  • The Project 08-ECRP-028: The social dimension of emotion regulation: Brain, mind, and behaviour was awarded under the ECRP IV (European Collaborative Resarch Projects) call (final confirmation pending).

This project was a joint activity between the Humanities (HUM (formerly SCH)) and Social Sciences (SOC (formerly SCSS)) and took place in 2007-2008.


The International Polar Year 2007-2008

The European Science Foundation and its European Polar Board marked the launch of the International Polar Year (IPY) in Europe with a day-long event at the European Parliament in Strasbourg (France), focusing on polar research and its relevance for European citizens, just before the official kick-off date of 1 March 2007. See the news release.

For additional information, you can consult the news section of the pages dedicated to the European Polar Board or consult the official IPY website.  A brochure has also been published (click on the image to download).

This project is a joint activity between all ESF Standing Committees and Expert Boards/Committees, and is led by the European Polar Board (EPB) and Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences (LEE (formerly LESC)) and is taking place in 2007-2008.