Research : Presidency Highlights Social Dimension

Article excerpt

The Spanish EU Presidency is pushing conclusions that call on the European Commission to finally come forward with a proposal, by the end of 2010, to develop the so-called social dimension' of the European Research Area (ERA). This would aim to answer criticisms that EU research policy has been too focused on the best and brightest and not enough on the role of science in working for social cohesion and combating poverty and exclusion. The Presidency text aims thus to push the Commission into drawing up an action plan so as to fully develop what it sees as the social dimension of the ERA.

At the start of its Presidency, Spain had announced that the social dimension would be one of its key priorities in work on the ERA, alongside strategic and sustainability issues. The Presidency's text now calls for the EU executive to come up with a specific "social dimension initiative," as part of the set of ERA initiatives. This would aim at addressing, in a consistent and integrated manner, any action taken by the Commission and/or member states in the field.

POVERTY AND EXCLUSION

Specific goals outlined by the Presidency include promoting scientific research and innovation as contributors to the social advancement; fostering universal dissemination of scientific and technological knowledge to reach underprivileged groups and countries; including among the priorities for research, technology development and innovation (RTD&I) policies the fight against poverty and social exclusion. …