Integrating science and society in European Framework Programmes: Trends in project-level solicitations

Hannot Rodríguez, Erik Fisher, Daan Schuurbiers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


As part of a larger trend across industrialized nations, European research policy discourse has placed increasing emphasis on socio-technical integration: the explicit incorporation of activities devoted to broader social aspects into scientific activities. In order to compare these high-level integration discourses against patterns at the level of resource allocation, we analyze nearly 2500 research solicitations from the three European Framework Programmes for R&D during the period 1998-2010. We identify four distinct types of integration (socio-ethical, stakeholder, socio-economic and industrial) that occur either as core or parallel components of R&D solicitations. Quantitative analysis reveals an overall trend towards increasing integration, with requests integrating industrial and socio-economic aspects substantially outnumbering those integrating socio-ethical and stakeholder aspects - by a 2 to 1 margin. Meanwhile, calls for socio-technical integration have become slightly more extensive (ranging across a broader range of research areas addressed), significantly more pervasive (shifting from the periphery to the core of R&D practices), and arguably less diverse (involving a wider variety of integration types) over time. The relative lack of attention to socio-ethical aspects and stakeholder participation in European research is particularly notable given that we focus on potentially controversial areas (life sciences, energy, and nanotechnology), which likely overemphasizes the prevalence of integration throughout the Framework Programmes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1126-1137
Number of pages12
JournalResearch Policy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • ELSA (Ethical, Legal and Social Aspects)
  • EU Framework Programmes
  • Research solicitations
  • Responsible innovation
  • Socio-technical integration
  • Stakeholder engagement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Strategy and Management
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Management of Technology and Innovation


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