Another threat to the humanities and social sciences?

by Ingrid Robeyns on December 13, 2010

A group of scholars at the Freie Universität in Berlin is distributing via E-mail and their website alarming information about downsizing of the EU research funding in the Humanities and Social Sciences. The EU is currently drawing up its 8th framework program, in which it decides how to allocate its money – to which fields, for what type of research, what the conditions are, etc. Apparently it is not only a matter of less money going to the humanities and social sciences (which, to the best of my knowledge, is already a small percentage of what the other sciences get; sadly I forgot the exact figure, but —from the top of my head—less than 20%). In addition, the ‘impact’ or ‘valorisation’ discourse/ideology seems to take hold here too, since according to the information which is spread by the scholars from Berlin, EU funding for the humanities and social sciences would be earmarked for more applied research, and to research that contributes to the competitiveness of the EU on global markets.

It’s the last week of term at my University, and I happen to have a heavy teaching load this term, which means I have no time to properly check this out. So consider this as the mere spreading of information and the opening up of space to discuss these issues in greater depth by those of you who know more about this, and/or have currently more time at their disposal to investigate this. I’ll invite some EU research directors to join the debate.

{ 1 comment }

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VV 12.14.10 at 11:36 pm

In Computer Science, there is little EU money for basic research, and in particular research that is not driven by or designed in collaboration with companies. In particular, the kind of proposals that get funded are written in a way that focuses the instrumental nature of the research effort. So, while a lot of money goes to Computer Science, little of it goes really for research of the kind that is implied might be getting the cut in the humanities. (ERC funding is a great counterexample overall).

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