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Press Release No. 39 | 31. July 2012
European research projects probe European issues

European national research funding agencies announce outcomes of the second round of the Open Research Area Scheme (ORA)

As the impacts of the economic crisis continue to reverberate across European societies, it is more important than ever before that European social scientists work together to investigate urgent economic and social issues and expand our understanding of complex social processes and individual behaviour. In this context, four European national research funding agencies, the Agence Nationale de la Recherche (ANR), Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG), Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC), and the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) are delighted to announce the outcomes of the second round of the Open Research Area Scheme (ORA), which will provide €9 million to fund ten collaborative research projects over the next three years.

The ORA scheme provides a straightforward mechanism for leading social scientists to obtain national funding to collaborate with partners elsewhere in Europe, avoiding many of the bureaucratic obstacles and restrictions associated with other types of European funding. The scheme is open to proposals in any area of the social sciences, resulting in an exciting portfolio of projects that will influence policy and push the boundaries of our understanding of individual and social behaviour.

For example, researchers from France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK will conduct a unique analysis to investigate the behavioural and economic impacts of increases to Social Security contributions in the different countries.

Another four country team will explore the different policy approaches taken to managing risk covering health and safety, flooding, food safety, health care, criminal justice and education.

A project lead by UK and Dutch researchers will investigate the relationship between austerity policies, cultural diversity and attitudes to welfare.

In a timely project given the events of the Arab Spring, researchers will examine the impact of transitional justice measures, such as South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission, on the development of democratic institutions.

The following ten proposals are granted by the national research organisations involved:

“Data-driven analysis of the dynamics of information-acquisition over time during social judgement”
Professor Phillipe Schyns, University of Glasgow, and Professor Daniel Wigboldus, Radboud University Nijmegen

“Gay father families: the development of early parent-child relationships”
Professor Michael Lamb, University of Cambridge, Dr. Olivier Vecho, University Paris Ouest, and Dr. Henny M. W. Bos, University of Amsterdam

“The impact of transitional justice measures on democratic institution-building”
Professor Chandra Sriram, School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, and Professor Anja Mihr, Utrecht University

“The welfare state under strain: diversity, austerity and public opinion”
Dr. Robert Ford, University of Manchester, and Dr. Marcel Coenders, Utrecht University

“Dynamic oligopolistic competition between innovating firms”
Professor Peter Kort, Tilburg University, and Dr. Herbert Dawid, Bielefeld University

“Assessing, understanding, and modelling visual salience and its dynamical impact on perception and selection”
Professor Zhaoping Li, University College London, Dr. Ingrid Scharlau, Paderborn University, and Dr. Mieke Donk, University of Amsterdam

“Governance of the discontinuation of socio-technical systems”
Professor Andrew Stirling, University of Sussex, Professor Stefan Kuhlman, University of Twente, Professor Pierre-Benoît Joly, University Paris-Est, and Professor Johannes Weyer, Technical University of Dortmund

“How states account for failure in Europe: risk and the limits of governance”
Dr. Henry Rothstein, King's College London, Dr. Frederic Bouder, University of Maastricht, Professor Michael Huber, University of Bielefeld, and Professor Olivier Borraz, Sciences Po, Paris

“The impact of social security contributions on earnings: evidence using administrative data in France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK”
Mr Stuart Adam, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Professor Casper Van Ewijk, University of Amsterdam, Dr. Antoine Bozio, Paris School of Economics, and Dr. Peter Haan, German Institute for Economic Research, Berlin

“Maintaining a common map of locations: remapping multi-sensory targets during eye movements”
Professor Patrick Cavanagh, University Paris Descartes, Professor Jan Theeuwes, Vrije University, Amsterdam, and Professor Heiner Deubel, Ludwig-Maximilians University, Munich

Paul Boyle, Chief Executive of the ESRC, said: “Social science research questions being investigated transcend the national borders of the individual countries so it is important to develop teams that can view the problem together. This scheme is supporting the best researchers to work together to give scientifically proven answers to the pressing issues facing not only the UK but Europe too.”

The Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) is the UK’s largest organisation for funding research on economic and social issues. It supports independent, high quality research which has an impact on business, the public sector and the third sector. The ESRC’s total budget for 2012/13 is £205 million. At any one time the ESRC supports over 4,000 researchers and postgraduate students in academic institutions and independent research institutes.

The ANR (French National Research Agency) is a research funding organisation. It was established by the French government in 2005 to fund research projects, based on competitive schemes giving researchers the best opportunities to realise their projects. The role of the Agency is to bring more flexibility to the French research system, foster new dynamics and devise strategies for acquiring new knowledge. By identifying priority areas and fostering private-public collaborations, the ANR also aims at enhancing the general level of competitiveness of both the French research system and the French economy. ANR funds are available in all scientific fields, for both fundamental and industrial research and for public research organisations as well as private companies (through private/public partnerships). With a peer review process matching the highest international standards, ANR’s general goal is to fund excellent research, while also facilitating innovation and interdisciplinary work and developing European and international collaborations.

The DFG is the central, self-governing research funding organisation in Germany. Its mission is to fund and promote all fields of science and the humanities. It does so by relying on its statutory bodies and its Head Office, which shape the work and structure of the DFG. In an international context, the DFG is a member of several scientific and science policy associations, thus contributing to international dialogue, cooperation among researchers, and to the formation of a European Research Area.

The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO) is the national research council in the Netherlands and has a budget of more than €500 million per year. NWO promotes quality and innovation in science by selecting and funding the best research. It manages research institutes of national and international importance, contributes to strategic programming of scientific research and brings science and society closer together. Research proposals are reviewed and selected by researchers of international repute. More than 5000 scientists can carry out research because of funding by NWO. Twenty per cent of the funds and the projects are related to social and behavioural sciences.

Further Information

For further information contact

Further information concerning the European national research funding agencies on their websites:

Notes for editors

Total (all partners) contributions have been converted from Sterling into Euros at the exchange rate of GBP = 0.805441€

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