New Opportunities for Research Funding Agency Cooperation in Europe (NORFACE)


NORFACE is a partnership of national research funding agencies in Europe dedicated to leading and developing opportunities for scientists in the area of social and behavioural sciences. NORFACE plays an important part in responding to the grand societal challenges by promoting research of the highest quality, sharing best practices among research funders and especially by making international collaboration between social scientists in Europe possible. From challenges brought on by migration and inequality to preparing for the impact of an aging society, researchers in the social sciences in Europe are looking at the behaviour of individuals and groups, and the dynamics of institutions and societies within Europe to understand and address these societal challenges.

NORFACE has announced a new transnational research programme on democratic governance, ‘Democratic Governance in a Turbulent Age’. The main focus of this research programme will be on understanding the precise nature of the recent turbulence in democratic politics and governance in Europe, how European states can negotiate it and how they can develop strategies to enhance the quality of democratic politics and governance. The Irish Research Council’s internal budget check deadline for this call is 5 February 2019. Please note that this date may still be subject to change.

Programme topic

Democratic politics and governance in Europe are facing turbulent times. Party systems have crumbled or been substantially changed by new parties, including populist parties, and new social movements. Parties in power at the national and regional levels have called into question constitutional arrangements and guarantees once thought to underpin modern democracies. Such political changes have in part resulted from changes in the nature and form of citizen attachments to government, political parties and democratic procedures. The financial crisis of 2007-8 raised questions about the ability of European governments to provide a framework for economic security and the pursuit of redistributive policies. Government itself has changed significantly over the past quarter century, with a growing role for ‘arm’s length’ agencies and regulatory bodies, international governance structures and private sector organisations.

In light of these developments, the NORFACE network will launch a transnational research programme on the topic of democratic governance. The programme is structured around five of the most important challenges to democratic governance and politics, described in detail in the programme text accompanying the call for proposals:

  1. Inequality and redistribution
  2. The evolving politics of threat
  3. The democratisation of information
  4. Shifting identities and representation
  5. The changing authority of institutions

Who can apply

Researchers can submit a proposal on behalf of a project team comprised of at least three eligible research partners based in three or more different countries participating in this NORFACE call. These countries include: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. All partners in a project team must have the interest and competence to undertake social science research within the specified topic of the Governance programme. For this call, specific national/regional eligibility rules apply, as specified in the call for proposals. This implies that eligibility may be defined at the individual or organisational level, depending on the country or funding agency.

This programme will be implemented with the support of the European Union and is subject to the signature of the grant agreement with the European Commission.

Further information on this call and previous rounds of NORFACE funding can be found here

National Contact Point: Niall Kelly