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Dynamics of inequalities across the life-course
Date de clôture : 4 févr. 2016  

 Développement rural
 Développement urbain
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Existing and rising inequalities pose fundamental challenges to European societies and economies. The sources of inequalities in contemporary societies are complex and highly intertwined. A key concern and indeed challenge is the increasing gulf between rich and poor exacerbated by the financial and economic crises and ensuing high unemployment rates, especially among the young and marginalised groups. The action should address the underlying mechanisms behind existing inequalities in general and the development of inequalities across the life-course in particular. In this context, time is a significant and often neglected key resource. The evolution of disposable time over the life-course can be an important indicator of intergenerational inequalities and raises questions of intergenerational justice and solidarity. A new understanding of the complex dynamics of inequalities across life-courses and between generations as well as their relationships with social cohesion in a contemporary historical perspective is therefore needed. The specific challenge of this call is to address these dynamics comparatively in their social, cultural, economic and political dimensions.


Activities under this topic should contribute to exploring the underlying dynamics, structures processes and measurement of inequality across life-courses and contribute to better understanding some of the most pressing problems of present-day society related to inequality and social cohesion. They aim to engage, bring together and broaden the research community including in Southern and Central and Eastern Europe, and facilitate capacity-building for research into inequalities and life-courses on a comparative, multi-disciplinary and cross-national basis which has to take account of the variety of situations, including in Southern and Centrals and Eastern Europe. The participation of disciplines such as sociology, education, law, demography, population health, political science, economics, history, anthropology and psychology is anticipated and encouraged.

Building on and taking stock of existing data, research should compare the life-courses of different generations in Europe and also set them into relation to disposable time and income. Comparisons should be made between time-use patterns of various generations, whereby special attention should be paid to the elderly, gender differences and of rural and urban populations in Europe, in order to investigate the conditioning factors of disposable time at various stages of the life-course at both the individual and structural level.

Research should examine how crucial points in the life-course of individuals and crucial demographic events can precipitate or mitigate the risk of poverty and social exclusion. It should disentangle the impact of past events and current circumstances on later outcomes. Research could also address issues such as intergenerational justice. It may be opportune to employ demographic modelling. Research should provide the evidence base for effectively planning time in the working environment, but also insights on how relevant policies, such as pension, employment including extended working life, social, housing or education policies, can provide the frameworks in which men and women feel that they can use their life time in a manner they experience as healthy, comfortable and fair. Research should make recommendations regarding possible harmonization of European data sources available to study inequalities.

The proposed ERA-NET Cofund should include countries from all regions of Europe, including the Southern and Central and Eastern European countries. It aims at coordinating the research efforts of the participating Member States, Associated States and Regions in the field described. Proposals should pool the necessary financial resources from the participating national (or regional) research programmes and implement a joint transnational call for proposals with EU co-funding (resulting in grants to third parties) to fund multinational innovative research initiatives in this domain. Proposers are encouraged to implement other joint activities, including additional joint calls without EU co-funding.

Participation of legal entities from international partner countries is encouraged in the joint call as well as in other joint activities. Participants from countries which are not automatically eligible for funding[[]] may nonetheless request a Union contribution on to cover the coordination costs of additional activities on the basis of the ERA-NET unit cost.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of a maximum of EUR 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Effective trans-national, pan-European research networking and synergies among national/regional and EU research programmes in the area, including in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe, will increase the knowledge base on the dynamics of inequality over life-courses and especially the role of time with regard to inequalities, realities and conceptualisations of life-courses and intergenerational justice. It will lead to sustainable approaches to work/family/recreation balances. Research is expected to draw conclusions and make recommendations on sustainable future interactions between human capital and social capital in order to help reversing inequalities. The projects should provide practical solutions to reverse inequalities across the life course. A survey of approaches to inter-generational justice systems, projections of future scenarios as well as recommendations on the feasibility and extent of European convergence should be provided.

Delegation Exception Footnote:

This activity directly aimed at supporting the development and implementation of evidence base for R&I policies and supporting various groups of stakeholders. It is excluded from the delegation to Research Executive Agency and will be implemented by the Commission services.

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