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New 2.3 million euro grant to widen scope of the European Social Survey

The ESS ERIC has received funding from the European Commission to strengthen its long-term sustainability


The European Social Survey European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ESS ERIC), which is headquartered at City University London, has secured a €2.3 million grant from the European Commission to help it increase the number of countries that take part in its research.

The funding will support a new project called ESS-SUSTAIN, which aims to strengthen the long-term sustainability of the research infrastructure.

It is hoped that a significant increase in ESS ERIC membership will translate into lower costs of participation for the nations involved, while also strengthening the power of the survey’s datasets.

Rory Fitzgerald, Director of ESS ERIC and Co-ordinator of ESS-SUSTAIN, said: “ESS-SUSTAIN will be instrumental in strengthening the sustainability of the European Social Survey.

“The ESS is an unparalleled resource that enables us to chart the changing nature of Europeans’ attitudes on a wide range of critical issues. Issues covered include immigration, climate change, the impact of recession on work, wellbeing and health inequalities, amongst many others. Its value for social science and public policy has been widely recognised, notably with the award of European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC) status in 2013.

“However, despite this recognition and the clear success and impact of the European Social Survey, it is necessary to take steps to ensure its long-term sustainability and to make sure it is able to withstand the challenges of the future. In particular we need to try and create more complete coverage of the European population by the survey.

“With the help of this new grant, we have taken a great stride towards achieving this goal and we thank the European Commission for its support.”

ESS-SUSTAIN has the following key aims:

  • Enhancing the long-term commitment of existing members and observers of ESS ERIC
  • Transitioning countries with guest memberships to full member status
  • Expanding the coverage of the ESS to countries not yet affiliated
  • Fostering global links with other regional cross-national social surveys.

The grant will support a number of activities including an impact case study in member countries, the appointment of ESS ERIC ambassadors to promote the study, investigation about accessing structural funds to finance membership and enhanced communications to highlight the output arising from the survey.

The ESS is an academically driven cross-national survey that has been conducted every two years across Europe since 2001. The survey measures the attitudes, beliefs and behaviour patterns of diverse populations in more than 30 nations, with around 20 countries surveyed in each round.

ESS-SUSTAIN has been made possible thanks to the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme, which is investing €80 billion in research between 2014 and 2020.

The funding award comes shortly after ESS ERIC announced it will lead an €8.4 million project – Synergies for Europe’s Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences (SERISS) – that will bring together Europe’s three leading social research bodies. SERISS is also funded through Horizon 2020 – visit for more information.

More details about the ESS can be found at

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