ERA-Net Co-fund - Renegotiating democratic governance in times of disruptions

There are signs that conventional conceptions of democratic governance are disrupted. The legitimacy of traditional democratic institutions appears challenged by decreasing trust in their capability to provide solutions to pressing societal problems. Also phenomena such as rising populism and extremism, including violent extremism, pose a challenge to sound democratic deliberation and to liberal-democratic norms. There is a need for understanding the underlying dynamics behind these phenomena and to identify and propose means and instruments for sustainable and resilient democratic governance for the future.


Activities under this action should analyse what are the major challenges to democratic governance. It should explore the scale and nature of these challenges, their causes and underlying mechanisms, as well as their consequences and effects on democracy. Research should address fundamental issues such as the relation between capitalism and democracy and should explore, also from a historical perspective, the evolution of the democratic institutions of governance at local, national and EU level. In particular, research should take into consideration the impact of, e.g. rising inequalities, the politics of threat, democratisation of information, shifting identities and representation and the changing authority of institutions. It should also consider alternative action repertoires and their impact on democratic governance. Recent institutional developments and proposals at EU level, such as the introduction of Spitzenkandidaten in the EU election process and the proposal to join the presidency of the Commission and European Council Presidencies should be evaluated. Research should be embedded in, and have due regard to, wider historical perspectives on Europe. Research should also analyse the shifting impact of e.g. educational and socio-economic background, identity (e.g. national, regional, ethnic, religious, cultural) and other factors on political allegiances and on forms and levels of societal involvement. The action requires comprehensive, innovative, interdisciplinary and comparative research.

This ERA-NET Co-fund will pool resources from participating states from all regions of Europe, including the Southern, Central and Eastern European countries. Proposals are required to implement other joint activities, including additional joint calls without EU co-funding.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of maximum EUR 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

The Co-fund will engender effective transnational, pan-European research networks and create European value added synergies substantially enriching the knowledge base in this field. Research outputs will be highly policy relevant and inform policy making at various levels of governance. This requires involvement of stakeholders in the shaping of research design, approaches as well as dissemination. Research will make recommendations on how democratic governance can be made more resilient, what interventions are needed to this facilitate this, and whether and how it needs to be renegotiated.

Delegation Exception Footnote

This activity is directly aimed at supporting the development and implementation of evidence base for R&I policies and supporting various groups of stakeholders. It is excluded from the delegation to Research Executive Agency and will be implemented by the Commission services. The activity is conditional to the reception of a proposal in the first semester of 2018 for an SSH interdisciplinary ERA-Net Co-fund in 2020.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • Gender
Application date
Social sciences : Demography, Pedagogic & Education Research, Political science, Sociology