Launch SERISS project

The University of Amsterdam/AIAS is a partner in the ‘Synergies for Europe’s Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences’ (SERISS) project. The WageIndicator survey is one of the six research infrastructures in the project. SERISS aims to ensure that Europe’s social science data infrastructures are able to play an effective role in addressing the key challenges facing Europe today, as well as equipping national and European policy makers with a solid base of the highest-quality evidence on people’s attitudes, experiences and behaviour.

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PRESS RELEASE

Europe’s leading social science infrastructures awarded major EU funding to strengthen role in addressing grand societal challenges

Today sees the official launch of a major new social science cluster project, funded by the European Commission as part of its Horizon 2020 programme.

‘Synergies for Europe’s Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences’ (SERISS) aims to ensure that Europe’s social science data infrastructures are able to play an effective role in addressing the key challenges facing Europe today, as well as equipping national and European policy makers with a solid base of the highest-quality evidence on people’s attitudes, experiences and behaviour.

The €8.4m project brings together the three leading European Research Infrastructures in the social sciences – the European Social Survey (ESS), based at City University London, the Survey for Health Aging and Retirement in Europe (SHARE) based at MEA in Munich and the Consortium of European Social Science Data Archives (CESSDA) based in Bergen, Norway. Organisations representing the Generations and Gender Programme (GGP), European Values Study (EVS) and the WageIndicator Survey are also involved. To ensure that findings from the project are relevant to and disseminated to the wider research community the SERISS project is also supported by a board of strategic advice made up of representatives from other international social science research projects.

Over the next four years, project partners will work together to strengthen Europe’s social science evidence base by addressing some of the key challenges facing cross-national data collection, breaking down barriers between research infrastructures and embracing the future of social science via new forms of data collection.

This will be achieved by undertaking work to:

  • better represent the European population, including important target groups for policy makers such as young unemployed, older persons in residential institutions and migrants;
  • strengthen cross-national harmonisation of data and methodology across Europe by leveraging recent advances in questionnaire design, translation and coding techniques;
  • exploit the advances in software technology for cost-effective web-based interviewing, more efficient fieldwork management, and to support new ways of collecting data such as via a probability based web surveys;
  • better connect the world of research-driven social surveys with the world of process-generated administrative data; and
  • ensure that the ethical and data protection concerns of respondents are properly taken into account by creating a consistent and EU-wide framework for social surveys using ‘Big Data’.

At the launch of the project in London, Director of the European Social Survey European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC) and SERISS Coordinator, Rory Fitzgerald said:

“This grant provides a significant boost for European social science. It creates a critical opportunity for leading infrastructures to ensure that they are fit for purpose and can provide evidence for academics and policy makers alike when addressing grand societal challenges. Whether it is an ageing society, climate change, fertility, migration or the future of democracy, the social sciences are critically important in illuminating those issues. By facilitating more effective harmonisation and innovation between social scientists, SERISS will help to ensure they can effectively play their part in those debates.”

Axel Börsch-Supan, the Scientific Coordinator of SHARE, adds: “Scientists need tools to help us understand how the world is working. While the natural sciences try to explain the origin of matter and life sciences help us to understand health and death, the social sciences try to make sense of the complex development of a society with its economy. To fulfil these aims, social sciences need surveys such as astronomers need telescopes and molecular biologists need labs. When we work together in a project like SERISS we do not only make more efficient use of our research tools but we also learn from each other and thereby accelerate our understanding of the world in which we live.”

Ivana Ilijasic Versic, Acting Administrative Manager, CESSDA AS, commented that “SERISS will develop synergies between existing infrastructures and thus address the key challenge of fragmentation in the social sciences. Furthermore, it will tackle controversial new forms of data such as social media or administrative data from a legal, ethical and qualitative perspective, thus ensuring that the social sciences play an active part in preparing society for the use of new data technologies.”

For further information and to keep up to date with the SERISS project visit: www.SERISS.eu or follow us at @SERISS_EU.

 
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