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Press releases 09 March 2021

Social Science and Humanities are going to be crucial to delivering the European Green Deal

Policy-makers, researchers and representatives from business agreed to better integrate Social Science and Humanities in EU policymaking as part of the transition to climate-neutrality in 2050.

Social Science and Humanities (SSH) are going to be critical to delivering the EU transition to climate-neutrality.This was stated by the EC Director-General Research and Innovation Jean Eric Paquet at the H2020 funded project Energy-SHIFTS final Conference held on 19 January 2021.

“EC institutions and member states expect from SSH to help policies to move to reality, providing instruments to engage citizens and to help society to be climate agents and help to achieve climate-neutral continent goal”, affirmed Paquet during the event, with more than 500 registrations to attend the discussion.

Paquet also highlighted how important Energy-SHIFTS project outcomes were for energy policies, in particular the identified 400 research questions coming from the liaison between academia, policy makers and researchers. He defined the project results as a “promising starting point to the new and challenging goals the EU set at the beginning of 2021 via Green Deal programme”.

For its part, Vicent Berruto, DG Energy Head of Unit ‘Innovation, clean technologies and competitiveness’, set the three pillars in which SSH will have a crucial role:(1) energy efficiency by offering alternative cost- efficiency measures and solutions easily available to citizens and companies; (2) renewable energies and energy system integration by funding initiatives like electric vehicles or exploit digitalisation; and (3) research and innovation. And to achieve these actions, “SSH will help to understand how citizens and consumers behave in energy purchase and their need to taking them more active.”, concluded Berruto.

In this context, Hélène Chraye, Head of Unit ‘Clean Energy Transition’, DG Research and Innovation provided a view point on the citizens' behaviour. “Citizens acceptance is a word I hate. It should be acceptability because we use to listen just to the citizens that speak loudly but it doesn’t mean that’s the common citizens' needs. We need to approach the need at human being level not leaving any value (poverty, human rights to access to supplies, mobility…) behind. That should be citizens as the real centre of our policies”, stated Chraye.

If citizens are the centre of EU policies and SSH research, deep knowledge of society will be essential to success and therefore, Lina Gálvez Muñoz, member of European Parliament, S&D, and Vice-Chair of ITRE Committee indicated a perspective that should be not forgotten: gender. "The talent is equally distributed but opportunities are not, therefore SSH should shape and design inclusive perspectives in modern societies", she asserted.

For further information, access Energy-SHIFTS website here.

About Energy-SHIFTS

Energy-SHIFTS “Energy Social sciences & Humanities Innovation Forum Targeting the SET-Plan” is a project aiming at provide immediate insights for the short-term directions of EU energy policy as well as foundations for longer-term mechanisms that will enable evidence-based energy-SSH insights to reach the policy front line.