A Launch Event for the Final Report of this Forward Look took place on 29 May 2012 in Budapest at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (MTA).
This launch event was an opportunity to present the results of the project and discuss the recommendations that have been formulated, and also their implementation in shaping current research policies. Scholars involved in the project as well as policy-makers and stakeholders were invited to make statements and take part in a round table discussion.
The focus of the Forward Look project is on Central and Eastern Europe ‘beyond transition’: the objective being to define the extent to which social science research agendas need to address issues that are specific to this region, and the extent to which pan-European research agendas need to pay more attention to the specific dynamics of change in this region.
The last 25 years have witnessed some of the most profound political, social and economic changes in Europe’s history. The fall of communism at the end of the 1980s not only reshaped relationships within the continent against a background of rapidly increasing globalisation, but also provided fascinating insights into the potential for, and limitations of, the large-scale reshaping of society.
The Forward Look ‘Central and Eastern Europe Beyond Transition: Convergence and Divergence in Europe’ aimed both to identify the developments in CEE which would, could or should become hot research topics in the study of CEE as a part of European society and as such be promoted and endorsed by national and European grant institutions; and to outline ways in which foresight on CEE can contribute to the development of the social sciences in general and input important topics into transnational research.
Three workshops held over 2010 with experts and stakeholders have considered relevant issues in Economics, Sociology, Politics and Local Governance. An extensive survey of existing research funded by major national and international sponsors has also formed part of the exercise, in order to provide insights into current priorities in social science research on CEE as well as to identify the actors determining them. The knowledge gathered was brought together in a consensus conference in February 2011, with the aim to develop recommendations that will serve to set priorities for designing research programmes in social sciences for the next 5-10 years.
To this end, the Forward Look ‘Central and Eastern Europe Beyond Transition: Convergence and Divergence in Europe’ provides a range of specific conclusions and recommendations contributing to the formation of targeted projects which meet the needs of policy makers struggling with the future challenges that are now facing Europe and the wider world.