29 November 2019

Institutions for Open Societies shares expertise with European Commission

Europese Commissie © iStockphoto.com/olrat
European Commission © iStockphoto.com/olrat

The strategic theme Institutions for Open Societies (IOS) was invited by the European Commission in Brussels to share their expertise on 19 November.

The aim of this visit was to underline the importance of integration of SSH (the Social Sciences and Humanities domain, red.) in other academic disciplines. We aimed for a cross-sectoral research approach, as the European Commission intended. The visit took place among other activities last year. This visit strengthened the visibility of Utrecht University in general and in particular the visibility of the strategic theme IOS.  

Meeting on the New Horizon Europe framework programme

Vice-president of Utrecht University Executive Board Annetje Ottow and Programme Director of IOS Bas van Bavel discussed with the Director-General Jean Eric Paquet and the Head of Unit Harald Hartung from the European Commission how a cross-sectoral scientific approach can be organised in the calls of the new Horizon Europe framework programme. The theme An EU economy that works for people, item on the agenda of the new European Commission chairman Ursula von der Leyen, was also discussed.

Combining SSH expertise to better address societal challenges

Furthermore, Denise de Ridder reflected on the theme "From institutions to behaviour and back again to the societal challenges”. In his talk, Bas van Bavel gave insights on the topic "Societal challenges, the rule of the game, the actors and the outcomes".


Bas van Bavel also gave an interview for the European Commission internal TV channel. 


Source: Youtube

Brainstorming session

Last but not least a brainstorming session with approximately 25 policymakers took place. These policymakers will be responsible for the implementation of the calls for the new Horizon Europe framework programme. The central focus was the integration of research from Social Sciences and Humanities in other science disciplines and how to organise this intention.

Do not look at societal research topics from a viewpoint of a domain, but focus on concrete societal problems EU citizens are struggling with
Bas van Bavel

Follow up: visit to Utrecht

As a follow up, the European Commission would like to visit Utrecht University with a representative delegation next year, to see how the university maintains a multidisciplinary and societal driven research agenda in the strategic themes.

The successful visit proofs that a good network and presence in Brussels are great investments to promote the specific qualities of our university.


This visit was organised by Peter van der Maas, EU programme/consortium manager for IOS, in cooperation with the communication department and several staff members of the European Commission.