Brexit shows need for more EU-funded social sciences research

Secretary general of the Guild of European Research Intensive Universities says shortfalls of Horizon 2020 must be addressed

July 10, 2016
Workmen sit in front of hoarding depicting English country house and grounds
Source: Getty
Standstill: Horizon 2020 ‘hasn’t quite worked as well as it might have done’

The EU referendum result provides a “clear case” for more European funding to be available for social sciences research, in order to answer “fundamental questions” around social inequality and immigration.

That is the view of Jan Palmowski, pro vice-chancellor (postgraduate and transnational education) at the University of Warwick and secretary general of the Guild of European Research Intensive Universities.

He said that it is clear that Horizon 2020 “hasn’t quite worked as well as it might have done in social sciences and humanities” and that the referendum result last month offers more proof that this must be addressed.

“If you look at what’s going on with Brexit right now, it seems to me there’s a very clear case that fundamental questions of social tension, of political sustainability of governance, are right at the heart of Europe,” he told Times Higher Education.

“There is a real need for more research on some of these major questions in social sciences and the arts and humanities, and I don’t see how a European project can succeed without more research in these areas.”

He suggested that such research could explore tensions around immigration, social mobility and globalisation, adding that the official launch of the guild this November will allow the organisation to “start making an impact” on the details of the next EU framework programme for research and innovation.

A letter sent to THE in 2013, and signed by 11 leading academics and vice-chancellors, argued that the promise to embed humanities and social sciences research in Horizon 2020 “has proved empty so far” and called for a “substantial increase in the budget” proposed for these disciplines in order to solve “Europe’s problems”.

Professor Palmowski added that one of the main goals of the guild will be to increase research capacity across the Continent, particularly in Eastern Europe. Of the 16 to 18 universities that are members, three or four will be based in this region, he said.

“The fundamental challenge is how we can commit to the principle of quality – basic funding should go to the best applicants – whilst also being mindful that actually there are some real structural historical disadvantages that a number of universities face in other parts of Europe,” he said.

ellie.bothwell@tesglobal.com

You've reached your article limit

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 6 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments
Register

POSTSCRIPT:

Print headline: Leave vote ‘proof’ that Horizon must boost social sciences studies

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Analyst

Greenwich School Of Management Ltd

PhD Research Fellow in Medical Physics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu

Senior Knowledge Officer

European Association For International Education

Postdoctoral position in Atmospheric and Space Physics

Norwegian University Of Science & Technology -ntnu
See all jobs

Most Commented

Doctoral study can seem like a 24-7 endeavour, but don't ignore these other opportunities, advise Robert MacIntosh and Kevin O'Gorman

Matthew Brazier illustration (9 February 2017)

How do you defeat Nazis and liars? Focus on the people in earshot, says eminent Holocaust scholar Deborah Lipstadt

Improvement, performance, rankings, success

Phil Baty sets out why the World University Rankings are here to stay – and why that's a good thing

Warwick vice-chancellor Stuart Croft on why his university reluctantly joined the ‘flawed’ teaching excellence framework

people dressed in game of thrones costume

Old Germanic languages are back in vogue, but what value are they to a modern-day graduate? Alice Durrans writes