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Promoting research collaboration between Europe and India through joint symposia

16 Oct 2015

The European Commission has launched an initiative to promote collaboration between European and Indian social science and humanities researchers and research funding agencies. The initiative, called the EU-India Social Science and Humanities Platform (EqUIP), consists of six symposia aimed at promoting collaboration and brainstorming research themes. The Academy of Finland is looking for research scientists to represent Finland at these symposia.

The symposia are scheduled to take place this autumn and all through next year, and they are designed to provide a networking platform for research scientists. Each symposium has space for 50 participants, and research scientists are given priority. At the symposia, the participants will explore research themes chosen on the basis of suggestions put forward by participating countries. The aim is for some of these themes to also become projects through an international funding call later on.

Finland has not previously engaged in much funding collaboration with India in the sphere of social sciences and humanities. This new opportunity promises to benefit scientists and the entire research community not just monetarily: For example, India has vast human resources, while Europe has more advanced infrastructure for conducting research. India is also a melting pot of multiple religions, customs and nationalities, and therefore an exciting research topic in itself. Collaboration could open completely new doors for researchers.

Themes and dates of the symposia

Symposium 1: Inequalities, growth and place/space
19–20 October 2015, Delhi, India

Inequalities, growth, and cities/urbanisation are the core of this theme. Whilst cities and rapid urbanisation provide a particular focus, the rural aspect is emphasised particularly in the context of development and growth and not just in the move from rural to urban areas. The natural environment is a fundamental cross-cutting aspect of this theme, e.g. environmental degradation/natural events forcing movements of people. The notion of encounter (social, cultural) and its relation to identity and communities within cities and regions is important. Ideally, this theme should be explored from a cross-scientific perspective.

Symposium 2: Social transformation, cultural expressions, cross-cultural connections and dialogue
February 2016, India

This theme has identity, language, shared histories, diversities, cross-cultural connections and diasporas at its core. The mobility of research communities from and to India and the appearance of new cosmopolitan societies and diasporas across Europe provide an opportunity to look at cultural dialogue and connections. Not only cinema and television but also press, social media and the internet play a crucial and growing role for cross-cultural connections, and this represents a major change which research should not overlook if we want to understand trans-local dialogue.

Symposium 3: Digital archives and databases as a source of mutual knowledge
April 2016, Italy

The cornerstone of this theme is the access of researchers to primary sources, which requires both the political will to make them available and the technology to store, format and organise them in a repository that can be remotely accessed. This database would not only contain printed material, but also oral history sources, information on social and physical habitat, lived social and cultural practices, and tribal languages and practices. This theme needs to be strongly linked to the concept of ‘the digital’, metadata and the use of new media in research. This theme could potentially include data sharing and data access between such archives in the EU and in India.

Symposium 4: Sustainable Prosperity, Well Being and InnovationSymposium 4: Sustainable prosperity, well-being and innovation
June 2016, Helsinki

In this theme, the term ‘well-being’ is extremely inclusive. In addition to physical and mental well-being, it involves a range of economic, social, environmental and cultural factors, such as the opportunities of people to contribute to the development of their own well-being and the well-being of society, to achieve success and happiness, and to live a generally healthier life while respecting the environment and cultural values. Social innovation links to education and health, and it is also an important aspect of this theme. This theme should look to the future and be solution-focussed. The theme also has complementarity with Horizon 2020 societal challenges.

Symposium 5: Power structures, conflict resolution and social justice
September 2016, India

This theme is concerned with enabling and understanding conflict resolution and social justice. It is organised around the topics of social diversity and structures, gender and conflict, with the latter including issues relating to peace. Whilst some of the considerations in this theme are specific to India, e.g. caste system, it is important to note that this is not just an ‘India’ theme. For example, Indian researchers could contribute to the study of conflict in Europe and European thinking about peace.

Symposium 6: Closing symposium pooling together the findings of the previous symposia
October 2016, Slovenia

Are you interested in taking part in the symposia?

Researchers from all of the participating countries are welcome at the symposia. The Academy of Finland will put forward the names of five Finnish participants per symposium, whom will be formally invited by the symposium organiser. The aim is for half of the participants at each symposium to be from Europe and the other half from India.

Background to EqUIP

The European Commission has funded EqUIP since April 2014, and funding has been secured until April 2017. The funding amounts to 1.5 million euros. The aim of the platform is to develop a stronger strategic partnership in social sciences and humanities between European and Indian research support and funding agencies. The platform supports international research coordination, networking and communication, which in turn promotes collaboration between national research organisations and brings the research policies and practices of different countries closer together.

In addition to Finland, the platform has partners from the following countries: United Kingdom (ESRC and AHRC), India (ICSSR), France (ANR), Italy (APRE), Germany (DFG and DLR), Portugal (FCT), Slovenia (MIZS), Netherlands (NWO), Norway (RCN), and Austria (ZSI).

Visit the EqUIP website at http://equipproject.eu.

More information, participation in the symposia:

Siru Oksa
Science Adviser
tel. +358 295 335 125
firstname.lastname(at)aka.fi

Last modified 19 Oct 2015
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