EU Security Research and Peacebuilding – a case of institutional and political disconnect

I had an opportunity to present the research that I have done over the past 4 years on the European Security Research Programme at a conference jointly organised by the German National Contact Point for Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities and NET4SOCIETY in cooperation with the European Commission under the title Conflict and peace in a changing international context: Funding opportunities, matchmaking, networking in FP7.

Martina addressing the plenary on 6 July 2011

Speaking at the conference cc K. Lutterop

Talking to a large audience of principally social scientists was a different experience for me. But it was a welcome opportunity to bring together several aspects of the work that I had been doing on the subject of security research and an opportune moment to reflect on this, as the debate about the successor to the 7th Framework Programme for Research (entitled Horizon 2020 and due to come into effect in 2014) provides the perfect moment to make recommendations for changes in security research funding.

Our recommendations – set out in our recent briefing paper entitled EU Security Research and Peacebuilding – a case of institutional and political disconnect – are:

  • Allocate a proportion of the security research budget to the social policy agenda we so urgently need: security research that addresses the social dimensions of security and insecurity, the issue of whether or not people feel that they have an investment in their society – locally, nationally, regionally, or globally; we would recommend 25% of the total amount allocated to security research;
  • Allocate a proportion of the security research budget to the social policy agenda we so urgently need: security research that addresses the social dimensions of security and insecurity, the issue of whether or not people feel that they have an investment in their society – locally, nationally, regionally, or globally; we would recommend 25% of the total amount allocated to security research;
  • Ensure in the formulation and framing of Horizon 2020 that the different strands of the programme (such as social sciences and humanities, environment, energy, etc) inform the security research agenda without being overtaken by it. It is, however, important to ensure that there are separate programmes covering social sciences and humanities, environment, energy, etc) to allow for such synergy, avoid confusion and ensure that these very important areas are not sidelined or securitised;
  • Ensure that the references to ethics in Horizon 2020 go much further than the references to ethics in FP7 and include conflict sensitivity and matters of privacy, protection of vulnerable groups, and the inclusion in civil society in the assessment of the compliance with ethics requirements;
  • Ensure that adherence to the Charter of Fundamental Rights – not just of the research projects themselves, but also of the organisations that carry out the research – is legally binding on participating organisations.
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About Martina Weitsch

Martina worked for Quaker Council for European Affairs as one of two Joint Representatives from 2002 to October 2012. Her main areas of work were the EU role in Palestine/Israel, EU peacebuilding, conflict prevention and crisis management, EU finances, democratic accountability and relations with the European Investment Bank.

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