A New Life for a Major Social Science Research Project About Our LivesFRANCESCO BILLARI IS ITALY'S REPRESENTATIVE IN A CONSORTIUM MONITORING LONGTERM DEMOGRAPHIC TRENDS, NEWLY FUNDED WITH A HORIZON EUROPE GRANT
A Horizon Europe grant will make it possible to set the groundwork for the long-term sustainability of the Generations and Gender Program as a stand-alone legal entity. Bocconi's Francesco Billari, of the Department of Social and Political Sciences, is the Italian reference point.
The Generations and Gender Program (GGP) is an already existing, ambitious research infrastructure meant to monitor across multiple countries and on a continuous basis the trends in the changing demographic panorama of Europe. It collects, processes and interprets cross-nationally comparable longitudinal data on people and families, and the life courses of women and men. It therefore provides methodologically sound data that help addressing some crucial policy questions about how to build sustainable societies for future generations.
The GGP started out as an informal network of scientists and scholars over twenty years ago, and the first panel waves were conducted in 2004. Over the years, it evolved into an integrated research infrastructure, and it is currently run by a consortium of 15 European universities and statistics agencies. The GGP is now so wide-ranging that it has become necessary to take one further step in the direction of a fully-fledged institution, attracting specific investments from governments and other parties. This is the aim of the original Horizon grant application that prof Billari has helped submit.
The project described in the bid, called GGP-5D, outlines five different areas that have to be developed in order to make the GGP “investment-ready”: technical excellence, scientific and socio-economic impact, financial sustainability, legal framework and strategic position as a research infrastructure. By “investment-ready” the bidders mean that after the GGP-5D project is financed and implemented, the GGP will have reached a stage at which government stakeholders will be willing to commit themselves and invest into the infrastructure on a permanent basis.
The five dimensions are encompassed in a general theme called “Strategic Partnership” which concentrates on monitoring the progress being made in each of them during the project’s stated timespan. This part is going to be led by Bocconi, given its long-standing experience in the running and development of the GGP.
The GGP already occupies a distinct place in the landscape of research infrastructures and has a large geographical coverage. It currently includes 14 European Union countries as well as 8 additional European countries and 4 non-European countries/territories where data is being gathered for the first time or will be collected in the coming future. Nonetheless, the GGP-5D project specifically calls for more synergies with other research infrastructures (also in order to contain costs) and for further additions to the number of participating countries, particularly in Southern and Eastern Europe.
by Andrea Costa