THE BACKGROUND: RESEARCH FOR A SUSTAINABLE AND DEMOCRATIC EUROPE
The ICCR Foundation was created in 2003 to undertake comparative research in the social sciences with a focus on policy analysis and science-policy interfacing. Funders are the Federation of the Construction Industry of the Austrian Chamber of Commerce and the City of Vienna.
It is an independent and international research institute based in Vienna with a registered liaison office in Paris. Its mission is policy analysis in a comparative perspective with the main focus on Europe and its neighbours. Policy analysis in the view of the Foundation has a clear normative perspective: Its aim is the advancement of democracy.
Sustainable democracy is based on a sustainable economy. Hence, innovation is one of the key topics the institute deals with. Sustainability has four dimensions: economy, ecology, social justice, and democratic participation. These topics are interwoven and call for social science expertise.
Against this background the efficiency and effectiveness of politics and policies matter and ought to be integrated into a coherent political programme.
THE ICCR-FOUNDATION AND THE MISSION OF SOCIAL SCIENCES AND HUMANITIES
On the occasion of the ceremonial founding act of the Foundation, Prof. Nico Stehr, an internationally renowned social scientist and chairman of the scientific board of the Foundation, underlined the mission of the social sciences. Their vocation is ‘passion and optimism’ in a correct understanding of the applied orientation: social sciences can generate a deeper understanding of societal developments, provided they do not specialize in a superficial policy consulting.
This is in line with the research programme of the Foundation: dissemination of the results of scientific research to the societal and political actors as well as to industrial and economic ‘users’ is one of the main goals of the Centre and thus supported by the Foundation. Maintaining the independence of research is linked to full transparency about the research principles, basic assumptions and methods. Indeed, this transparency includes the information about what source was used to enable the funding of the research.