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Call: Socio-economic effects of ageing societies

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Programme
Acronym HE-CL2-TRANSFORMATIONS
Type of Fund Direct Management
Description of programme
"Horizon Europe - Cluster 2 - Destination 3: Innovative research on social and economic transformations"

Europe is being transformed by changes that impact the livelihoods and wellbeing of its citizens. Such changes present important opportunities for the EU to innovate and shape forward looking inclusive societies and economies, while avoiding the mistakes of the past and promoting an inclusive recovery that strengthens economic and social resilience. However, demographic changes, digitalisation, automation, environmental degradation, the transition to a low carbon economy and globalisation all pose multidimensional, interconnected and complex social and economic challenges. At the same time, there has been an increase in inequality, poverty and social exclusion, a polarisation of skill needs in the labour market, and a slowdown in convergence in income and employment in most European countries. Inequalities threaten social and territorial cohesion, economic growth and wellbeing. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic has magnified the pervasive inequalities across European societies, with significant differences in the way losses and costs of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crisis that followed are distributed in society. To seize the opportunities emerging from socio-economic transformations in a strongly connected and integrated world, these challenges need to be better understood and tackled.

Population ageing increases social protection spending on pensions, health and long-term care and restricts the capacity of the redistributive system to reduce inequality. Societies also need to adapt to a new role elderly people may have, with their experience and capacity to remain productive. Policies need to support a transition towards more environmentally-friendly ways of producing and providing private and public services, while ensuring all regions and individuals equally benefit from these transitions and that no one is left behind, in particular when it comes to access to essential services. Access to social protection for those in need should be ensured, while making sure that everyone can participate in economic, social, political and cultural developments. Social protection supports individuals in emergencies that they can no longer cope with on their own and, in addition, protect them by means of long-term measures – whether in the event of illness, accident, need for care, unemployment or old age. Moreover, mitigation and adaptation strategies are essential to make sure population movements shaped by these transitions are positive for all areas, and do not contribute to deepening the divide between regions or countries.

Education and training are key long-term factors in preventing and reversing inequalities and promoting equal opportunities, inclusion and social mobility. However, the educational outcomes of younger generations are still determined to a large extent by the socio-economic background of their parents rather than by their own potential. Promoting and ensuring inclusion and equity in education and training is thus fundamental in breaking these patterns.

In this context, it is important to reflect on the nature of economic growth and the need to better capture the different dimensions of social progress. It is increasingly important to distinguish between the different purposes of measurement: economic activity, social and cultural wellbeing and sustainability, and to develop relevant indicators. This is particularly the case as the pervasive effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has altered the economic performance and socio-economic fabric of many countries in Europe.

Migration has been a critical component of the makeup of European societies, one that is likely to dominate policy and political agendas for many years to come. It is an issue requiring comprehensive and coordinated European responses in order to ripen its benefits, both inside and outside the EU, involving Member States, Associated and partner countries, EU actors, as well as local and regional authorities, civil society organisations, migrants’ representatives – including migrant organisations – and economic and social partners. Partnerships between these stakeholders are needed to make the most of the positive consequences of migration, as well as ensuring that migration occurs in an orderly and dignified manner. The task of research is to better understand migration in a global and EU context, assist in its governance, support security and help the socio-economic as well as civil-political inclusion of migrants in European societies. It can enhance policies by providing evidence on the causes and consequences of the phenomena and facilitate timely response by identifying trends and suggesting possible policy solutions.

The implementation of the research activities in the two calls of this Destination will contribute to a comprehensive and reflective European strategy for inclusive growth, including social, economic, ecological and historical dimensions. This will strengthen the resilience of the EU and of its citizens, and will ensure that no one is left behind, including through the accumulation and preservation of human capital in the face of old and new risks. It will equally support productivity gains and their fair distribution, as well as boosting social and economic resilience that is essential to face situations of crisis such as in the case of COVID-19. Activities will contribute to EU migration and mobility policies, both internal and external. The overall knowledge generated, including a holistic understanding of societal wellbeing, will feed into the design of policy strategies in line with the above mentioned objectives and will facilitate the assessment of policy needs and outcomes in the field of the societal and economic transformations.

The Destination calls for proposals that may help in reaching these key strategic policy objectives in the EU. It invites proposals to do so by integrating feedback loops with stakeholders and policymakers that may help in developing suggestions and recommendations throughout their lifecycles. These proposals should take into consideration the stakeholders associated to the decisions that are suggested, and should also account for the context in which decisions are made. Therefore, in order to maximize and facilitate the uptake of group-sensitive recommendations in policy, they should include analyses of political and financial trade-offs associated to the recommendations produced, reflecting also on contextual changes needed to implement proposals developed. Proposals are also invited to build upon previous research funded by Horizon 2020, valorising its experience and findings.

Expected impacts:

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following targeted expected impacts of the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan:

  • Social and economic resilience and sustainability are strengthened through a better understanding of the social, ethical, political and economic impacts of drivers of change (such as technology, globalisation, demographics, mobility and migration) and their interplay.

Inclusive growth is boosted and vulnerabilities are reduced effectively through evidence-based policies for protecting and enhancing employment, education, social fairness and tackling inequalities, including in response to the socio-economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Link Link to Programme
Call
Socio-economic effects of ageing societies
Description of call
"Socio-economic effects of ageing societies"

Expected Outcome

Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Analyse the impacts of ageing societies on productivity, society, employment (by gender, sector, occupational group and skills needed), investment, growth, healthcare systems, access to (digital) public services and public finance sustainability in the medium and long term, while maintaining service adequacy.
  • Propose knowledge-based policy measures to reap the benefits of longer healthy life expectancy and explore ageing related phenomena, including (but not limited to) cultural factors, fertility, migration, family care, fight against ageism, active ageing, upskilling and reskilling policies.
  • Counteract the effects of ageism and age segregation, while promoting the benefits of experience and knowledge accumulation drawing on inclusive and dialogic approaches, including through job design that is appropriate to job holders and that builds on their experience.

Scope

Proposals should analyse, with an interdisciplinary approach, the changing demographic profile of Europe, paying attention to the heterogeneous trends and developments in the different Member States and Associated countries (ideally at regional level), taking into account both the ageing of populations and the demographic consequences of migration. The project should try to assess how this change will affect consumption, production and opportunities.

Projects should consider the structural changes required to adapt in the medium term to ageing societies. They should analyse intergenerational solidarity policies as a possible solution to the major challenges posed by ageing societies.

Research should analyse the impact of demographic change on skills availability and needs, assessing the risk of older aged workers to become obsolescent in a fast changing globalised, individualised, digitalised and automated environment, against the need of investing in them to lengthen working life and try to maintain high levels of productivity in the EU. Research may include consideration for the assets older workers have because of their experience, and the discrimination they may suffer in the labour market. In this context, projects should also consider how recruiting foreign labour may mitigate the shortages in sectors of the economy, and assess the sustainability of this against the needs of EU Member States and contribute to improved dependency ratios. Additional attention should also be paid to the subsequent influence that this foreign recruitment may have on labour conditions, as well as considering the age structure of migrants and the consequence this has.

Projects should consider the opportunities of the ‘silver economy’, not only in terms of consumption of goods, services and innovations directed to the older age population, but also in terms of production. Proposals should consider potential opportunities arising from adapting jobs to an ageing workforce, making the most of the available experience. This entails considering the potential of older people for generating new economic opportunities through their work, their societal engagement (e.g. in the third and fourth sector of the economy) and the conditions by which older people are likely to want to work for longer, and the impact of this on the sustainability of the silver economy.

Together with considering such medium term dynamics, proposals may also consider the longer-term implications of ageing societies, and factors mitigating it. Research may consider gaps, opportunities and best practices regarding inclusive digital public services (including co-creating digital public services with the elderly), so ageing societies can reap the benefits of the digitalisation of the public sector. Fertility may be considered by analysing the impact of labour market policies, family policies, housing policies and conditions under which both men and women are more likely to have children. Projects may investigate whether the decline in fertility has structural causes, or if the general attitudes and willingness to have children have declined. Proposals may also look at the conditions that facilitate having the number of children desired, and investigate which measures stimulate which groups.

Proposals should develop recommendations on how European societies need to cope with demographic changes in the short and medium term, with the reforms needed to ripen the economic benefits and limit the negative consequences, including in relation to societal values, also with reference to global examples. They should also consider how to do this while developing a long-term perspective aimed at increasing the EU’s human capital.

Link Link to Call
Thematic Focus Community Integration, European Citizenship, Shared Services, Administration & Governance, Equal Rights, Human Rights, People with Disabilities, Social Inclusion, Justice, Safety & Security, Capacity Building, Cooperation Networks, Institutional Cooperation, Children & Youth, Education & Training, Employment & Labour Market, Health, Social Affairs, Sports, Demographic Change, Migration, Circular Economy, Sustainability, Natural Resources, Art & Culture, Cultural Heritage, History, Media
Funding area EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Origin of Applicant EU Member States
Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs)
Eligible applicants Education and Training Centres, Federal State / Region / City / Municipality / Local Authority, Research Institution, Lobby Group / Professional Association / Trade Union, International Organization, Small and Medium Sized Enterprises, SMEs (between 10 and 249 employees), Microenterprises (fewer than 10 employees), NGO / NPO, Public Services, National Government, Other, Start Up Company, University, Enterprise (more than 250 employees or not defined), Association
Applicant details

eligible non-EU countries:

  • countries associated to Horizon Europe
At the date of the publication of the work programme, there are no countries associated to Horizon Europe. Considering the Union’s interest to retain, in principle, relations with the countries associated to Horizon 2020, most third countries associated to Horizon 2020 are expected to be associated to Horizon Europe with an intention to secure uninterrupted continuity between Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe. In addition, other third countries can also become associated to Horizon Europe during the programme. For the purposes of the eligibility conditions, applicants established in Horizon 2020 Associated Countries or in other third countries negotiating association to Horizon Europe will be treated as entities established in an Associated Country, if the Horizon Europe association agreement with the third country concerned applies at the time of signature of the grant agreement.

  • low-and middle-income countries

Legal entities which are established in countries not listed above will be eligible for funding if provided for in the specific call conditions, or if their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority.

Specific cases:

  • Affiliated entities - Affiliated entities are eligible for funding if they are established in one of the countries listed above.
  • EU bodies - Legal entities created under EU law may also be eligible to receive funding, unless their basic act states otherwise.
  • International organisations - International European research organisations are eligible to receive funding. Unless their participation is considered essential for implementing the action by the granting authority, other international organisations are not eligible to receive funding. International organisations with headquarters in a Member State or Associated Country are eligible to receive funding for ‘Training and mobility’actions and when provided for in the specific call conditions.
Project Partner Yes
Project Partner Details

Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions , legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes:

  • at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
  • at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
Further info

Proposal page limits and layout:

The application form will have two parts:

  • Part A to be filled in directly online  (administrative information, summarised budget, call-specific questions, etc.)
  • Part B to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system

Page limit - Part B: 45 pages

Type of Funding Grants
Financial details
Expected EU contribution per projectThe Commission estimates that an EU contribution of between EUR 2.00 and 3.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of a proposal requesting different amounts.
Indicative budgetThe total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 9.00 million.
Typ of ActionResearch and Innovation Actions (RIA)
Funding rate100%
Submission Proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funding & Tenders Portal Electronic Submission System. Paper submissions are NOTpossible.

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