Magazine article Times Higher Education

Get out of Your Silos and Muck In

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Get out of Your Silos and Muck In

Article excerpt

Humanities and social sciences must cultivate new fields to win Euro cash. Elizabeth Gibney reports.

Social science and humanities scholars have been told that they must take responsibility for integrating their fields with others in the next European research funding programme.

Robert-Jan Smits, director general of research and innovation at the European Commission, hit back at academics calling for these subjects to receive their own funding line in the proposed EUR80 billion (Pounds 64 billion) Horizon 2020 scheme.

"There has been enormous criticism about not having a dedicated programme, and I take full responsibility for that because I proposed it," he told the League of European Research Universities' 10th anniversary conference in Barcelona on 10 May.

"The social sciences and humanities have ... to get out of these silos and contribute to the enormous challenge that we're facing."

Mr Smits said the Commission received hundreds of letters in response to its proposals, which were announced in November last year, but not a single one said that academics in these subjects were willing to take on that challenge.

The Commission's programme for 2014 to 2020 is split into three streams: excellent science, industrial leadership and societal challenges. …

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