This report presents the results of a study on the existing research in the human and social sciences (SSH) which is relevant to the questions that need to be addressed to ensure well informed and evidence-based science policy investment to guide Europe’s digital transition.


On 12 November 2021 the EU published the results of the 2021 Digital Economy and Society Index, which summarises indicators on Europe’s digital performance and tracks the progress of EU countries. In short the study, which reports data pre-Covid-19, shows that despite recent investments at national and European levels, progress in digital transition towards reaching the targets set up in the ‘Path to the Digital Decade’ is still slow. The COVID-19 pandemic has radically changed the role and perception of digitalisation in EU economies and societies and accelerated its pace. It has highlighted the need to invest in new solutions and tools to bridge the digital divide, to support the labour market and to guarantee equality in access to digital infrastructure.


Part 2 of the report focuses on a range of data gathered from research projects. Data were harvested from the published objectives of the projects funded under H2020, and then gathered in a ‘corpus’. This corpus was analysed to identify the main themes and topics, and their relative position, on the knowledge ‘landscape’.

Part 3 looks at academic publications and adopts a similar initial approach. The relevant policy documents were used to identify the main policy themes and these themes were then used as the basis of searches in Web of Science (WoS) for the publications which are most relevant to the digital transition policy topics and labour markets.

Part 4 focuses on the analysis of the data that emerged in the first part and introduces the knowledge of the experts involved in the task force. They collected some knowledge on the basis of their own projects, publications and personal understanding and later analysed the data as they emerged from the projects and publications data.

Main findings

As the analysis of projects shows, in H2020 projects there are fundamental and deep gaps with a clear finding of under-representation of insights from research in the humanities disciplines. Contributions from a different set of research perspectives would allow the development and deployment of tools to examine the cultural and identity impacts of labour market changes. In particular, what is missing is literature around the themes, which express human anxiety about profound changes in labour relations and job security, or more importantly unemployment and the impact these changes have on community identity.

Comparing the results of the two parts (projects and publications), the themes and topics of the H2020 projects are narrower than those that emerge from the publications analysis. There are fewer projects funded under H2020 that include major elements looking at education and skills, new forms of digital education for labour forces to respond to the new conditions created by new policy, for older workers or other disproportionately affected groups.

Would you like to know more? Read the full report here.


Source :  European Digital Skills & Jobs Platform


Digital technology / specialisation

  • Digital skills

Digital skill level

  • Intermediate
  • Advanced

Geographic Scope - Country

  • European Union

Type of initiative

International initiative

Target audience

  • Digital skills in education.

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