Recent research highlights that new technologies may increase or reduce overall employment opportunities: they tend to increase them in the presence of strong productivity gains or if they create new tasks that are best carried out using human skills (possible example: a nurse using medical machines to perform checks previously carried out by a doctor), but can reduce them if the substitution of labour by machines dominates (possible example: self-service supermarket counters). However, there is still a limited understanding of which types of technologies and technology applications are particularly promising from the perspective of enhancing rather than displacing human skills and of creating employment opportunities as well as decent working conditions.

Education and training are key long-term factors in preventing and reversing inequalities and promoting equal opportunities, inclusion and social mobility. However, the educational outcomes of young people are still determined to a large extent by the socio-economic status of their parents rather than by their own potential. Without connecting to other social policies, education and training systems may not be able to compensate for all societal inequality, however they have a vital role to play in breaking these patterns and creating a fair and inclusive society. 

The task of research is also to better understand migration in a global and EU context, assist in its governance, support security and help the socio-economic as well as civil-political inclusion of migrants in European societies. It can enhance policies, and in particular the EU’s agenda on migration as it is expressed in the New Pact for Asylum and Migration.

Expected outcomes

Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:

  • Deepened our understanding on the potential and impact of new technologies such as artificial intelligence technologies and robotics to substitute or complement human skills and in performing job tasks.
  • Development and deployment of technologies that complement and enhance human skills, and development of the corresponding skills in the workforce

The implementation of the research activities in this call will contribute to promote research actions and outputs that help design, implement and monitor a socially just and inclusive green and digital transition, notably in relation to social and economic transformations, inclusiveness, skills development and sustainability. Furthermore, actions will deal with the long-term challenges in education and training, talent and labour market and the resilience of our societies. The overall knowledge generated, including a holistic understanding of societal well-being, will feed into the design of policy strategies in line with the above mentioned objectives and will facilitate the assessment of policy needs and outcomes in the field of the societal and economic transformations.

Examples of research activities carried out under this topic include the development of criteria to assess the complementarity of specific new technologies with human skills and vice versa. This could include an analysis of specific applications of new technologies (such as artificial intelligence technologies and robotics), possibly with a sectoral or occupational focus. It could also include the development of policy recommendations to support technologies and skills/training courses that are conducive to a digital transition that creates more good jobs. Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this call and other relevant projects are strongly encouraged.

Expected impact

Proposals for topics under this Destination should set out a credible pathway to contributing to the following targeted expected impacts of the Horizon Europe Strategic Plan:

  • Social and economic resilience and sustainability are strengthened through a better understanding of the social, ethical, political and economic impacts of drivers of change (such as technology, globalisation, demographics, mobility and migration) and their interplay.
  • Inclusive growth is boosted and vulnerabilities are reduced effectively through evidence-based policies for protecting and enhancing employment, education, social fairness and tackling inequalities, including in response to the socio-economic challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information about the call

The call is funded by the Research and Innovation Actions (RIA) under the Horizon Europe Framework Programme (HORIZON). 

The opening date for this call is October 4th, 2023 and the deadline date is foreseen on February 7th 2024, 17:00:00 Brussels time.