Author:T. Lennon

Within the Fifth Framework Programme of the European Union (1998-2002), the Key Action "Improving the socio-economic knowledge base" had broad and ambitious objectives, namely: to improve our understanding of the structural changes taking place in European society, to identify ways of managing these changes and to promote the active involvement of European citizens in shaping their own futures. A further important aim was to mobilise the research communities in the social sciences and humanities at the European level and to provide scientific support to policies at various levels, with particular attention to EU policy fields.

This Key Action had a total budget of 155 Million Euros and was implemented through three Calls for proposals. As a result, 185 projects involving more than 1600 research teams from 38 countries have been selected for funding and have started their research between 1999 and 2002.

Most of these projects are now finalised and results are systematically published in the form of a Final Report.

The calls have addressed different but interrelated research themes which have contributed to the objectives outlined above. These themes can be grouped under a certain number of areas of policy relevance, each of which are addressed by a significant number of projects from a variety of perspectives.

These areas are the following:

* Societal trends and structural changes;

16 projects, total investment of 14.6 Million Euro, 164 teams

* Quality of life of European Citizens,

5 projects, total investment of 6.4 Million Euro; 36 teams

* European socio-economic models and challenges

9 projects; total investment of 9.3 Million Euro; 91 teams.

* Social cohesion, migration and welfare 30 projects, 28 Million Euro; 249 teams.

* Employment, and changes in work

18 projects; total investment of 17.5 Million Euro; 149 teams

* Gender, participation and quality of life

13 projects; total investment of 12.3 Million Euro; 97 teams

* Dynamics of knowledge, generation and use

8 projects; total investment of 6.1Million Euro; 77 teams

* Education, training and new forms of learning

14 projects; total investment of 12.9 Million Euro; 105 teams

* Economic development and dynamics

22 projects; total investment of 15.3 Million Euro; 134 teams

* Governance, democracy and citizenship

28 projects; total investment of 25.5 Million Euro; 233 teams

* Challenges from European enlargement

13 project; total investment of 12.8 Million Euro; 116 teams

* Infrastructures to build the European Research Area

9 projects; total investment of 15.4 Million Euro; 74 teams.

This publication contains the final report of the project "Education & Training for Governance & Active Citizenship in Europe: Analysis of Adult Learning & Design of Formal, Non-Formal & Informal Educational Intervention Strategies", whose work has primarily contributed to the area "Education, training and new forms of learning".

The report contains information about the main scientific findings of this thematic network and their policy implications. The research was carried out by 6 teams over a period of 30 months, starting in March 2000.

The ETGACE project has explored the nature of citizenship in six contrasting European countries (UK, Belgium, Finland, Netherlands and Spain and Slovenia), and in particular it sought to investigate how people learn to be active citizens, and what kind of education measures exist to support this.

The abstract and executive summary presented in this edition offer the reader an overview of the main scientific and policy conclusions, before the main body of the research provided in the other chapters of this report.

As the results of the projects financed under the Key Action become available to the scientific and policy communities, Priority 7 "Citizens and Governance in a Knowledge Based Society” of the Sixth Framework Programme is building on the progress already made and aims at making a further contribution to the development of a European Research Area in the social sciences and the humanities.

I hope readers find the information in this publication both interesting and useful as well as clear evidence of the importance attached by the European Union to fostering research in the field of social sciences and the humanities.