News, Announcements & Press Releases

26. June 2012 10:00

European Science Foundation calls for support of social science research in Central and Eastern Europe

New position statement identifies the hot research topics in Central and Eastern Europe (CEE).   Strasbourg, 26 June 2012 - A new forward looking report, ‘Central and Eastern Europe Beyond Transition: Convergence and Divergence in Europe’, has been published today by the European Science Foundation. The report aims to identify new themes for social science research in and on CEE, which can be promoted and endorsed by national and European funding institutions.

In this forward looking exercise, three interdisciplinary thematic clusters have been identified: Populations in change; New Geographies of Europe; and Social Cohesion. Populations in change aims at looking into how out/in migration, regional population change, ethnic minorities and integration all affect the basic structure of CEE populations. New Geographies of Europe focuses on the ‘return to Europe’, overcoming the West-East divide, on the influence of cohesion funds on local governance and on the expanding borders of Europe eastwards. Social Cohesion focuses on the degree of socio-economic transformation that post-communist Europe has undergone over the last 20 years, especially in terms of social mobility and social trust.

Peter Weiss, ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Hungary commented: “Rethinking of social science research in and on Central and Eastern Europe, setting new frontiers in social sciences and identifying main research challenges and subjects of cooperation between academics from Western and Eastern European countries is, without a discussion, one of the basic preconditions for overcoming the recent crisis in the EU”.

The last 25 years have witnessed some of the most profound political, social and economic changes in Europe’s history. The fall of communism at the end of the 1980s not only reshaped relationships within the continent, but also provided fascinating insights into the potential for, and limitations of, the large-scale reshaping of society. 

“Social sciences in Central and Eastern Europe were seriously distorted during the communist period.” explained Professor Daniel David, vice president of the Romanian Research Council (CNCS). “This Report could help us for integrating social sciences research from Central and Eastern Europe in the international area”.

The report also outlines eight structural recommendations for social science research in and on CEE. These underline the need to ensure a stronger presence of CEE scholars and CEE social research issues in international level research projects. They also highlight real needs in terms of the development of research infrastructure and human capital and call for the implementation of good practices in terms of governance, scientific excellence and independence.

“The Forward Look provides a well-elaborated insight and recommendations on the place of Social Sciences and Humanities in Central and Eastern Europe and how these could and should interface with the international research project level” Robert Burmanjer, Head of Social Sciences and Humanities Unit at the European Commission commented.

The report was also praised by Karin Liebhart, president of the Central European Political Science Association: “I’d like to congratulate the entire team that worked on the report at hand. It is an excellent base for further discussion and contains a lot of detailed information and valuable insights.”

The ESF Forward Look ‘Central and Eastern Europe Beyond Transition: Convergence and Divergence in Europe’ is available online at

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Notes to editors

For more information, please contact
Emma Knott, Kaizo

+44 (0) 207 3176 4715


About The European Science Foundation

The European Science Foundation coordinates collaboration in research, networking, and funding of international research programmes, as well as carrying out strategic and science policy activities at a European level. Its members are 78 national research funding and performing agencies, learned societies and academies in 30 countries.