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Making Europe of Knowledge work. Non institutional actors funding research in social sciences

Chiara Carrozza
Centro de Estudos Sociais, University of Coimbra
Irene Bono
Università degli Studi di Torino
Chiara Carrozza
Centro de Estudos Sociais, University of Coimbra
Open Panel

Abstract

It is widely accepted that at the core of European economies there should be a closer connection between knowledge and development and the production of specialized knowledge. The translation of these assumptions into policies is being realized through the constitution of the European Research Area (ERA). In this frame, mechanisms and procedures for promoting research have radically changed. On one side, the consolidation of Europe of Knowledge engenders a harmonization of norms and procedures to be respected for promoting research: in different fields and in different stages of their career, researchers are demanded to respond to periodical "calls", to elaborate proposals following the "project cycle model" and to be scientifically and financially "auditable". On the other side, academic institutions are far from being the solely employers asking for researchers: new actors, such as foundations, think tanks, international organizations, transnational consortiums and networks, play an increasing role as research purchasers, by financing it through grants, prizes and fellowships. Nonetheless, up to present this topic seems to have been generally neglected by the literature about the European market of knowledge. This paper presents a preliminary analysis of different non institutional actors funding social sciences’ research and the range of initiatives they put in place at the European scale. Starting from the development of two databases collecting data both on the actors’ background, size and networking and on their funding initiatives (topic, applicants, evaluation procedures...), the paper aims at proposing an in-depth perspective for analysing the actual working of the Europe of Knowledge. A multi-scalar perspective will be adopted and attention will be paid to the plural contributions to the functioning of this market. As a conclusion, the plural patterns of construction of the Europe of Knowledge will lead to sketch some hypotheses on the wider process of the European nation states’ transformation. The finding presented are part of a wider research project about “The funding of social sciences’ research in the European Research Area”, promoted by the Torino World Affairs Institute (T.wai) and funded by the Compagnia San Paolo Foundation, which is still in progress.