Elections: New report highlights innovative research on 21st century political world
08 May 2019
Cover image of Elections: New report highlights innovative research on 21st century political world

How and why people become engaged in politics? Are the electronic voting machines immune to vote-rigging? Can we tackle the growing phenomenon of misinformation on social media? What impact the financial crash had on the development of political conflict in Europe? Is civil society increasingly dependent on state finance and regulation? Here are some of the questions, ERC grantees investigate and solve.

The new report showcases 11 EU-funded projects that help us understand better the factors and forces that are shaping Europe’s democracies. Among them five projects funded by the European Research Council in Italy, Netherlands, and the UK, as well as research supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, the European Innovation Council (EIC) pilot and other EU grants.

There is no shortage of elections in 2019. In Europe alone, aside from the European Parliament elections, various national polls—local, regional, parliamentary or presidential—will be taking place in at least 15 EU Member States. At the same time, democratic politics has witnessed a surge of protest and so-called ‘populist’ politics that have redefined the political space in many countries and what it means to participate politically as a citizen. Understanding these eventful political times requires innovative research.

The report has been published by Community Research and Development Information Service (CORDIS) and the ERC Executive Agency in collaboration with the Research Executive Agency and Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises.

Report: Elections and democratic participations – Understanding turbulent political times through innovative EU-funded research 

Available also in DE, ES, FR, IT, PL versions.

More information

Some 70 ERC grantees has so far carried out research projects to investigate different questions in the area of elections and voting, democracy, participation and political communication. Two examples from Finland and Belgium and Sweden, recently highlighted on the ERC website:

Gender talk in the corridors of Brussels
ERC grantee Johanna Kantola and her team at the University of Tampere have shadowed many members of Parliament and their teams, to study gender practices and policies inside Europe’s legislative machine.

Breezing through the information overload
The research by grantee Prof. Stefaan Walgrave from the University of Antwerp compares how different politicians process plentiful information and then act on it in three western, post-industrialist parliamentary democracies - Israel, Belgium and Canada.

Is political participation contagious? 
Why are some people more likely to vote or stand for election than others? Prof. Sven Oskarsson and his team at Uppsala University in Sweden are doing some deep data diving to find out how our social surroundings and our genes influence political participation.

About the ERC

The European Research Council, set up by the EU in 2007, is the premiere European funding organisation for excellent frontier research. Every year, it selects and funds the very best, creative researchers of any nationality and age, to run projects based in Europe. The ERC offers four core grant schemes: Starting, Consolidator, Advanced and Synergy Grants. With its additional Proof of Concept grant scheme, the ERC helps grantees to bridge the gap between grantees' pioneering research and early phases of its commercialisation.

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