The EU Research and Innovation programme, Horizon 2020, has funding available over 7 years (2014 to 2020). It comprises various research areas, one of which is YOUNG-4-2015: The young as a driver of social change.
This is how the descriptor starts:
“Meeting the challenges of the ageing population and a transformation into a more sustainable social and economic model, characterised by growing scarcity of resources, greater consideration for the natural environment, living under a shifting climate with uncertain consequences, and more gender equality, necessitates profound changes in the European society concerning our lifestyles, consumption patterns, the way we do business, develop our cities and design our homes, but also the way we build and govern our societies, forge intra- and intergenerational relations and organise our daily lives. …”
Phew! Did you follow all that? Of course, beginning a call with an 86 word-sentence is a classic €urocrat's trick – ensuring that concepts jostle and compete for attention, so that the hapless applicant never quite knows what’s important.
As for the research focus, well, everything’s in there:
“Research should analyse the norms, values and attitudes of young people in Europe, as well as their expectations regarding public policy and organisation of economic, social and private life, including the organisation of cities and space more generally, as well as the types of business ethos. This should include young adults of different ages and sexes, and coming from different geographical, socio-economic, ethnic and religious backgrounds, taking into account both individuals and young families that in particular experience new challenges.”
“Research should also investigate their attitudes towards a more sustainable socio-economic model and its various features in comparison with older generations, including the evolution of gender relationships, in order to assess the potential and readiness of young people to be a driver of change and their propensity to creative solutions and practices. It should also identify the opportunities and obstacles that young people see as catalysts and inhibitors of the socio-ecological transition and how they could be addressed by policy in order to foster a sustainable and innovative society in Europe, including through formal and informal education. Research should examine how change in cultural values could contribute to achieving an inclusive and sustainable society.”
Phew! Phew!! Tripple-phew!!! My head reels, but no matter; as I am no longer under intense institutional pressure to bring home the €uro bacon, I don’t have to take any of this more seriously than it warrants.