Economic and Social Research Council
Printable version

Researchers funded for collaborative projects that cross boundaries

€15 million has been awarded to fifteen research projects that will allow academics in Europe and the United States to collaborate on a range of exciting projects that will push the boundaries of our understanding of individual and social behaviour and influence policy 

The grant has come from the Open Research Area Scheme (ORA). National funding organisations from across the continent and the US fund the ORA plus programme in order to strengthen international cooperation in the social sciences. The scheme was set up in order to minimise bureaucratic obstacles and restrictions usually associated with international funding.

This is the third round since the scheme launched in 2010 and the first round with the US as a partner.

Funded projects 

The following projects will be funded for three years:

Tracing the template: Investigating the representation of perceptual relevance

M Eimer: Birkbeck College, University of London (UK); CNL Olivers, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL); S Pollmann, Otto-von-Guericke-Universität Magdeburg (D) 
Discipline: Psychology

This project seeks to identify the nature of attentional preferences of cognitive behaviour, in terms of function (how it affects our behaviour), physiology (how it is implemented in the brain), and time (how it is affected by learning/selection history). Specifically, what preferences can it hold, how do these change as a function of experience, and what are the neural codes underlying these representations?

Political party database project: How parties shape democracy in parliamentary democracies

S Scarrow, University of Houston (US); T Poguntke, Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf (D); PD Webb, University of Essex (UK) 
Discipline: Political Science

The Political Party Database Project aims to further develop our understanding of how political parties’ structures and resources shape democratic life. Through collecting data on 138 parties in 19 countries, the project seeks to address the lack of systematically-collected cross-national data, as well as the lack of standard vocabulary for conceptualising and testing the impact of party resources and structures, in order to conduct theory-driven tests of competing scholarly claims about the impact of party organisational variation.

Modelling and supporting web search and navigation by older adults

A Chevalier, Université Toulouse 2 (F); WT Fu, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (US); H van Oostendorp, Universiteit Utrecht (NL) 
Disciplines: Psychology and Science and Technology Studies 

This project is aimed at better understanding how age influences the strategies people use for accessing information online. Retrieving information on the World Wide Web can be an important activity for older people as it can help in fostering independence, reducing isolation, and increasing communication and wellbeing. The goal of the project is to conduct empirical studies to systematically understand age-related differences in finding and processing information online. Key outcomes will be a suite of interface tools that are optimised for older Web users and theory-based guidelines for Web designs that are sensitive to age-related individual differences.

Self-regulation when out of work

UC Klehe, Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen (D); AEM van Vianen, Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL); CR Wanberg, University of Minnesota (US) 
Discipline: Social and Organisational Psychology

Unemployment represents one of the most significant stressors that people can encounter in their working lives. Previous research has shown that unemployment can have a serious impact on an individual's physical and mental well-being. However, there are significant differences from one individual to the next with respect to coping strategies during job loss. A related strand of research has looked at what aspects of searching for employment are most difficult and what intervention strategies are most useful for individuals seeking new employment opportunities. In this project, the researchers will bring together these different strands of inquiry to develop a cross-national investigation of the key determinants, processes, and outcomes of self-regulation during unemployment.

Communicating appraisals and social motives: Interpersonal effects of regulated and unregulated emotion expression

AH Fischer, Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL); J Gratch, University of Southern California (US); B Parkinson, University of Oxford (UK) 
Discipline: Social and Organisational Psychology

This project aims to bridge the metaphorical chasms between individuals and groups by providing insights into the role of regulated and unregulated emotional expression in mutual understanding and misunderstanding. In particular, it focuses on how social interactions are affected by perceptions of other people’s expression and regulation of emotion.

The international cognitive ability resource

Ph Doebler, Westfälische Wilhelms Universität Münster (D); W Revelle, Northwestern University (US); J Rust, University of Cambridge (UK) 
Discipline: Psychology

The over-arching aim for the International Cognitive Ability Resource project is to integrate recent innovations in test construction, large-scale data collection, and statistical methodology for the purpose of improving the measurement of ability around the world. 

Pathways to power: The political representation of citizens of immigrant origin in seven European democracies

M Cinalli, Sciences Po (F); L Morales, University of Leicester (UK); Th Saalfeld, Universität Bamberg (D); JN Tillie, Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL) 
Disciplines: Political Science and Sociology

This project seeks to advance knowledge in the descriptive representation of citizens of immigrant origin (CIO) in the legislative assemblies of seven European countries at the national and regional levels, as well as the parliamentary activities of representatives of immigrant origin. The central aim of this project therefore is to understand the barriers to, and drivers of, the recruitment of CIOs to elective office and the dynamics of the substantive representation to CIOs' concerns.

Slum tourism in the Americas: Commodifying urban poverty and violence

E Dürr, Ludwig-Maximilians Universität München (D); RK Jaffe, Universiteit van Amsterdam (NL); GA Jones, London School of Economics (UK) 
Disciplines: Urban Studies, Social Anthropology, and Cultural Geography 

This project aims to theorise the commodification of urban poverty and violence in the context of global mobility and the shifts towards urban political economies of spectacle. Focusing on four sites, this comparative ethnographic project will explore how globally circulating representations of poverty and violence both reproduce and challenge urban inequalities. It will investigate how the urban poor, tourists, tour operators and state actors participate in the unequal encounters involved in slum tourism, bringing an actor-focused, on-the-ground and longitudinal approach to the encounters.

Structure and organisation of government project

P Bezes, Université Panthéon-Assas Paris II/CNRS (F); O James, University of Exeter (UK); W Jann, University of Potsdam (D); AK Yesilkagit, Universiteit Utrecht (NL) 
Discipline: Public Administration

The research asks why some administrative organisations are created then reorganised, merged or terminated, whereas others are seemingly ‘immortal’ and can become even more powerful than the elected politicians that created and control them? It will develop and apply a novel framework that will systematically map and explain organisational changes within central government cross-nationally in four European parliamentary democracies, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the UK, over the last three decades, the period following the initiation of New Public Management reforms in certain advanced economies. The project will build upon the influential "theory of the politics of structural choice" and develop a comparative quantitative dataset of organizational changes within the central governments of these four countries. It will also examine changes in the structure and organization of government across four selected policy areas in these countries.

Understanding and preventing youth crime: A comparative study in France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the US

JCJ Boutellier, Vrije Universiteit (NL); D Enzmann, Universität Hamburg (D); M Hough, University of London (UK); I Marshall, NorthEastern University (US); G Roux, Institut d'Etudes Politiques de Grenoble (F) 
Disciplines: Criminal Law and Criminology and Sociology

This project is a theory-testing comparative survey of schoolchildren's experience of, and attitudes to, crime and substance use, covering France, Germany, the Netherlands, the UK and the USA. The study forms part of the International Self-Report Delinquency Study, covering some 25 to 30 countries, mainly in Europe but also from other continents. The overall aims are to chart variations in self-reported offending and experience of crime as victims, to test the relative value of different theoretical perspectives for explaining these variations, and to draw out the implications for youth justice policy in the five countries. The study will contribute to the development of an integrated theory of youth offending, and will trace the implications of this for youth justice policy.

International rural gentrification

M Phillips, University of Leicester (UK); F Richard, Université de Limoges (F); PB Nelson, Middlebury College (US) 
Disciplines: Human Geography, Sociology, and Urban Studies

This project will deliver the first in-depth examination of the cross-national rural geographies of both the concept and phenomenon of gentrification, through an integrated comparative study of the theory, forms and dynamics of gentrification across rural France, UK and USA. The project aims to investigate the salience of rural gentrification as a concept that is capable of explaining rural change in France, the UK and the USA.

Origins of early individual differences in self-regulation: A multi-method study involving mothers, fathers and infants in the UK, the Netherlands and the USA

C Blair, New York University, NYU Steinhardt (US); C Hughes, University of Cambridge (UK); J Mesman, Universiteit Leiden (NL) 
Disciplines: Psychology, Neuroscience, Psychiatry 

Building on the PI’s previous work, this project analyses early childhood conduct problems that are both very common and predict multiple adverse life-course outcomes, such that understanding their origins is an urgent challenge. Building on the rapid growth of studies that highlight variation in children's susceptibility to environmental influences, the proposed study will explore contrasts in the nature and magnitude of family predictors of infant adjustment that relate to characteristics of the infant (eg stress reactivity), the parent (eg parenting style) and the culture (eg level of societal support for individuals making the transition to parenthood).

Partner relationships, residential relocations and housing in the life course

H Kulu, University of Liverpool (UK); CH Mulder, Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (NL); M Wagner, Universität zu Köln (D) 
Disciplines: Demography and Sociology 

The aim of this project is to gain insight into the interactions between partner relationships on the one hand, and housing and residential relocations on the other, as they develop through people's life courses and as they are situated in the social and institutional contexts of Germany, the UK and the Netherlands.

Motor skill learning in older adults: neurocognitive correlates, individual differences, and interventions to enable healthy aging

R Seidler, University of Michigan (US); WB Verwey, Universiteit Twente (NL); C Voelcker-Rehage, Jacobs University Bremen (D) 
Discipline: Psychology 

There is an increasing concern about the societal impact of the growing proportion of older adults. The proposed research addresses the effect of age on the basic capacity to develop new motor skills. This is an important issue since motor skills can determine to which degree a person can live independently and participate in modern society. In this project, the researchers will develop a series of motor skills tasks to determine the contribution of various cognitive processes using performance measures and EEG in middle-aged and older adults. They will then investigate how differences in individual learning relate to lifestyle factors such as physical activity, and the prevalence of engaging in motor skills earlier in life like touch typing, playing instruments, and handcrafting. The third part of the study will be to determine whether behavioural and physiological interventions increase the capacity of older individuals to develop new motor skills.

Moving to see: the benefits of self-motion for visual perception

EM Brenner, Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (NL); M Rucci, Boston University (US); SK Rushton, Cardiff University (UK) 
Discipline: Psychology 

The primary objective of this grant is to understand vision during movement. Is movement a source of noise and complication that must be compensated for, or is it a source of additional information that may simplify the problem and improve performance? A vast amount has been learnt about vision based on considering the problem of vision for a stationary observer. In this grant we will examine vision in its natural context - when the observer is moving.

Full Article

Channel website:

Share this article

Latest News from
Economic and Social Research Council