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Welfare State Futures: Our Children’s Europe

How European welfare states will develop is hard to predict. People’s current aspirations, ideas and assumptions will be important drivers of change and persistence and of the extent to which conflict and solidarity surround change. This project uses innovative methods (deliberative democratic forums and a qualitative cross-national focus group survey) to develop understanding of people’s aspirations for the Europe their children will inhabit.

Webside: WelfSOC: Welfare State Futures: Our Children's Europe

The interactive and discursive methods proposed deal directly with people’s ideas, but are rarely used in comparative welfare studies. The project is essentially forward-looking.  It will contribute to theoretical work on the main cleavages and solidarities driving social policy in different European welfare states and to more practical consideration of the parameters of acceptable policy change. It will supply new findings relevant to the politics and sociology of welfare and provide data for reanalysis and as a base-line in future studies.

Professor Peter Taylor-Gooby from the University of Kent is Scientific Coordinator of a research team made up of partners from six countries (Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Norway, Slovenia and the United Kingdom). The team consists of a mix of senior and early career researchers. The national team leaders are all highly experienced in directing large national and international research projects. Thus, as a whole, the team will be able to press home findings in national and EU-level policy debate.

The project will be carried out in three stages:

  1. European-level literature review; national reviews of attitudes to welfare and welfare politics;
  2. Data gathering: Deliberative Forums and Focus Group surveys;
  3. Analysis, dissemination to academic peers and the general public as well as engagement of research users.

The project is financed by NORFACE – a network of 16 national research funding agencies – under the research programme Welfare State Futures. The Research Council of Norway, which is the Norwegian representative in the network, is pleased that such a high number of the funded projects includes Norwegian involvement.

Norwegian version

Research group

Seksjon for helse- og velferdsforskning


    University of Kent at Canterbury

    Aalborg University

    Ljublana University

    University of Bremen

    University of Leuven

Project period

Start: 01/02/2015

End: 31/01/2018


Project number