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Call for Proposals: Global Systems Science (GSS)


The Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) draft work programme (as part of Horizon 2020) is now published and it contains the almost final version of the calls to be announced officially 2013-12-11. Global Systems Science is there under “FETPROACTIVE1? with a prel. budget of 10M EUR and an application deadline of 2014-04-01.

Specific challenge

The ambition is to improve the way scientific knowledge can help inform and evaluate policy and societal responses to global challenges like climate change, global financial crises, global pandemics, and growth of cities – urbanisation and migration patterns. These challenges entangle actions across different sectors of policy and society and must be addressed by radically novel ideas and thinking for producing, delivering, and embedding scientific evidence into the policy and societal processes.

GSS will put to full use the abundance of data on social, economic, financial, technological, and ecological systems available today. GSS emphasises systems thinking and the need to integrate/link data, models, and policies across all policy sectors with all societal actors. GSS will build on results from, among others, Complex Systems Science, Network Science, Mathematics of Big Data, the life sciences, social sciences and humanities, behavioural sciences, statistics, econophysics, etc.


Proposals must address all of the below elements, necessary to successfully embed scientific evidence in the policy processes for tackling global challenges:

  • Research grounded in theoretical foundations of, among others, systemic risk, decision making under uncertainty or conflicting evidence, mathematics and computer science for Big Data (including their characteristics), algorithmic game theory, cascading/escalating effects in networks, integration and visualisation of Big Data…
  • Contributions to solving real world problems in one selected problem area - for instance tackling systemic risk in finance/economics, managing growth of cities and migration, or global pandemics – and in particular to tackle cross-cutting policy dependencies and interactions affecting the area of choice.
  • Novel ideas and technologies to generate and better communicate the scientific evidence-base: advanced simulation of highly interconnected systems; mathematical and tools for analysing (often unstructured) Big Data; integration of the whole spectrum of structure and unstructured data; methods to deal with conflicting data and modeling results; novel data visualisation tools.
  • Society/human-centred technologies, for instance, new approaches to allow citizens to actively participate in the policy process, to collectively gather and integrate data, analyse evidence, and novel methods to better judge and use scientific evidence: methods, e.g. games, gamification, and narratives to clearly and consistently convey data and modeling results and thereby to stimulate societal responses.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 2 and 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact

  • Level to which research proposed is rooted in policy needs, promotes system thinking, and is delivering consistent messages from conflicting data and model results.
  • Level of use/uptake of GSS tools and methods in the policy and societal processes, including in EC policies.
  • Capacity of GSS to help integrate societal responses across policy domains and cross-cutting authorities by development of a system-wide integrated evidence base of data and models.