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European Research Council grants hold promises for sociologists

EU News 304/2014

11 July 2014

How can wealth be distributed more evenly on the planet? And what role can sociology play in dealing with the various aspects of inequality related to for instance family, income, arts, culture, minorities or access to natural resources? Together with several European Research Council (ERC) grantees, renowned French sociologist, ERC Scientific Council member Prof. Michel Wieviorka is taking part in the 18th World Congress of the International Sociological Association (ISA), in Yokohama (Japan), to discuss these crucial issues.

On the occasion of the opening of the congress, Prof. Michel Wieviorka (@MichelWieviorka) commented: “At a time when countries across the globe have difficulties in funding research in social sciences and humanities, I am proud that the European Research Council is one of those rare funding bodies which consider that disciplines such as sociology should get substantial support.”
Since 2007, the ERC has supported around 650 projects in the field of Social Sciences and Humanities (SH) but less than 50 of them in sociology, out of a total of 4,500 ERC-funded projects across all scientific fields.

“Sociology has become a prerequisite for understanding current societal challenges but the low number of applications from sociologists in ERC competitions remains a cause for concern. The ERC is keen to make its prestigious funding visible to the best sociologists; this is another reason for us to be present at the ISA congress this year in Japan, a hotbed for research”, Prof. Wieviorka added.

Based on the demand for funding in previous years, over €2.5 billion of the ERC budget could be awarded to excellent projects in SH field under Horizon 2020, the new EU research and innovation programme which runs from 2014 to 2020. Since its launch, the ERC has awarded 14 grants to researchers of Japanese nationality based in the EU or its associate countries for a total amount of around €20 million.

As a former ISA President, Prof. Wieviorka will speak at the presidential session on 16 July (more info here).

Spotlight on ERC research results presented at ISA

Several ERC grant winners will attend the conference and speak about topics as varied as:
• Family housing property practices (more info here) and intergenerational inequalities in some European and East Asian cities (Dr Richard Ronald from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). (More info here).

• The impact of parental unemployment on the socio-economic status of children in periods of both economic growth and recession (Prof. Jani Erola from the University of Turku, Finland). (For more info, read the ERC story and check his presentation).

• Parenthood and the financial independence of German women before and after giving birth (Dr Daniela Grunow from the Goethe University, Germany). (Read the ERC story and check his presentation).

• The political behaviour and motivations of citizens who engage in social movements such as “Occupy London” or “The 15th of May” demonstrations in Spain (prof. Bert Klandermans from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands) (Read the ERC story and check his presentation).

• The new family-work patterns in the UK society in the past 40 years and their incidence on some chronic diseases such as coronary heart diseases and type II diabetes (Dr Anne McMunn from University College London (UK). (More info here).

• The perception of beauty, as conveyed by the media and the industry in our contemporary societies (ERC team members Michaël Deinema and Sylvia Holla from the University of Amsterdam, the Netherlands). (More info here).

Check the full ERC programme and participate in the ERC special info session on Sat. 19 July (click here for more details).

Also visit the ERC booth no. E6.

ERC website
Webpage for non-EU researchers (in Japanese)
XVIIIth ISA World Congress website

For media queries or interview requests with Prof. Wieviorka or ERC grantees, please contact:

Press and Communication advisor
Phone: +32 (0) 2 298 15 21
Madeleine DRIELSMA
Press and Communication advisor
Phone: +32 (0) 2 298 76 31