Social sciences and humanities, cultural heritage


Thematic macroarea

Within the European framework implemented at national level, the National Research Council drew up the Strategic Vision Document which identifies macro-strategic issues for the country's development system: Food, Energy, Society, Micro-Nano materials, Mobility, Health, Safety. The interdisciplinary approach of the social sciences and humanities and the cultural heritage is an element of connection and integration for a harmonious development of the various disciplines involved in the field of macro-areas. These constitute a cross-cutting issue of great importance both in Europe and internationally, being integrated into each of the general objectives identified by H2020. Integrating social and human sciences and cultural heritage is essential to maximize the return on investments within science and technology towards society. Harmonizing social and economic concerns within planning, development and implementation of research and new technologies can help find solutions to challenges and social needs.

National context

As part of a renewed commitment of the country in the process of building a stronger, more cohesive and competitive European Union, the Italian research system has developed specific strategies to respond to some of the main international and European challenges facing employment, research and innovation, climate change and energy, education and the fight against poverty. Such challenges become even more relevant within the Italian framework, characterized by an economic downturn and a high public debt, factors that negatively affect political choices, public and private investments, youth training and the labor market. Within such economic and social framework, an important growth factor is represented by research in the field of humanities and social sciences and protection and enhancement of the immense national cultural heritage. Research in these fields allows to boost and improve scientific knowledge and cultural identity of the Italian society, to better understand and interpret social and cultural issues, to address the main behavioural changes and cultural developments within the logic of training and citizens'participation in the decision-making process of an inclusive, innovative and reflective society. Finally, the Italian research in these fields has a special role in the upbringing of new generations, who will have to contribute to the country's growth by creating a strong connection between research, innovation, culture and training.

International context

The European Commission proposed by 2020 five EU-measurable targets which guide the process and which were transposed into national targets. These targets refer to employment, research and innovation, climate change and energy, education and fight against poverty. In order to achieve good results, Europe must act collectively as Union. A crisis exit strategy is needed to turn EU into a stronger, smart, sustainable and inclusive economy characterized by high levels of employment, productivity and social cohesion. The European tool to carry out such strategy is H2020, which identifies three macro-objectives: scientific excellence, the European industrial leadership and societal challenges. The latter, especially, require an approach which brings together resources and knowledge from multiple fields, technologies and disciplines, among which a primary role is played by human and social sciences and cultural heritage representing an integral part of the activities aimed at addressing these challenges. The latter include: (a) Health, demographic change and affluence; (b) Food safety, sustainable agriculture, sea/maritime research and bio economics; (c) Safe, clean and efficient energy; (d) Smart, ecological and integrated transport; (e) Climate action, resource and raw materials efficiency; (f) Inclusive, innovative and reflective societies; (g) Secure societies - Protecting freedom and security of Europe and its citizens. Alongside these challenges, another H2020 cross-cutting key objective is to spread the excellence of scientific research by making it open-minded towards and within society.