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AAU researchers brings SSH to the EU agenda

Lagt online: 17.05.2023

Particularly now the European Commission are receptive to the researchers’ input and ideas for the next framework program for research and innovation, which will come into effect in 2028. This opens a unique opportunity for AAU to enter into a dialogue with the commission.

By Project Assistant Solbjørk Finnsdottir, AAU’s EU Office

Momentum for Social Science and Humanities research at European level has never been stronger than it is now. The importance of SSH in addressing key challenges regarding sustainability and technology, while maintaining global competitiveness, is becoming increasingly recognized. This is reflected in the European Commission’s growing emphasis on ethics and SSH as an integrated part of the European framework program for research and innovation, as well as increased EU funding opportunities for SSH.

The enhanced role of SSH on the European agenda does not only affect researchers within these areas. The demand for ethical research practice and critical attention to societal impact require the integration of SSH across all research fields.

The enhanced SSH focus presents an opportune moment for AAU’s SSH researchers to engage with the European Commission, as they are particularly receptive now to the researchers’ input and ideas for the next framework program for research and innovation, which will come into effect in 2028.

Following up on this momentum, five researchers from AAU’s SSH faculty visited Brussels on May 2nd to meet with representatives from the European Commission. These included Professor Henrik Halkier and Adjunct Jonatan Leer, Professor Christian Jantzen and Lecturer Stinne Gunder Strøm Krogager, as well as Adjunct Kristina Maria Madsen. The purpose was to contribute with concrete and new research ideas as input to the development of EU's upcoming Strategic Plan for Horizon Europe 2005-2027 and EU´s next framework program for research and innovation. The presented research ideas were part of AAU’s Position Paper, which provided advice to the Ministry and the European Commission concerning future European research priorities. While the SSH researchers had the chance to profile AAU’s core competencies within SSH, they also attained greater insight to the strategical drafting of the framework program and how to work with key representatives in the European Commission.

The study trip follows up on two workshops on experience economy and digital learning and inclusion as a special EU-focused SSH-effort, which I organized in the fall of 2022 together with representative from AAU's EU office senior EU-advisor Anne D. Sand. The goal is to put the questions that SSH researchers at Aalborg University are working on up on the agenda - and of course, also to get a better understanding of how the development of the EU programs comes together in practice

Professor Henrik Halkier

During the visit, AAU researchers met with several key representatives of the European Commission.
AAU’s EU Office

Making research and ethics fit for the future

As part of the study trip, the researchers met with representatives from the European Commission and discussed the perspectives for experience economy in relation to sustainability, technology, and creativity, as well as the European Commission's work on ethics and integrity in research.

The Head of Ethics and Integrity at the European Commission, Isidoros Karatzas, was impressed by AAU’s approach to research ethics, as most European universities do not have formal ethical procedures for research.

Aalborg University’s Research Ethics Committee has from the 1st of May 2023 initiated a new model for ethical approval of research activities. The model applies to all of the university’s researchers and is, amongst other things, meant to prepare their activities for the participation in international research projects. https://aaudk.sharepoint.com/sites/research-ethics

In addition, the AAU researchers presented current research on food and consumption, experience economy and design thinking, and provided input for the improvement of EU's research cluster on culture, creativity, and inclusive societies under Horizon Europe.

It was an exciting dialogue where we experienced great responsiveness to the topics we raised and got good ideas for how we can work on creating a greater AAU footprint on EU's research programs

Professor Henrik Halkier


The study trip was organized by Anne D. Sand and Solbjørk Finnsdottir from AAU’s EU Office. During the visit, AAU researchers met with several key representatives of the European Commission, DG Research and & Innovation and other DG´s.

Read more about the current EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation, Horizon Europe

Read about Cluster 2 in Horizon Europe: Culture, Creativity and Inclusive Society

Read more about the new model for ethical approval at AAU