A European Research Council for the Social Sciences and Humanities, Pro and Con
European Political Science, Vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 21-32, 2006
17 Pages Posted: 28 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 28, 2011
The full set of EU objectives in the long run require basic and critical research in the social sciences and the humanities (SSH).
A European Research Council (ERC) may act for reasons of economies of scale, to alleviate coordination problems, or to obtain public goods or ‘club goods’ for humanities and social science (SSH). It should promote data sharing and large comparative projects, increase public understanding of the value and appreciation of the SSH, foster basic and critical SSH that are needed for the full set of EU objectives in the long run, not only those that seem to serve job creation in the near future.
In order to function properly, it should work out measurement standards and peer review processes appropriate for SSH research. An ERC must receive ‘fresh money’, minimize transaction costs both to entice good applicants and to fund as many of them as possible; and maximize its credibility as funder of high quality research that gives priority to academic excellence over Lisbon relevance and geography.
At a time when competition is supposed to foster excellence in research, Academies and private funding bodies must continue to be competitors to the ERC, to help foster excellence in public research funding bodies.
Keywords: European Research Council, Bologna, peer review, social sciences, humanities
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