Towards useful research to build social policies

Towards useful research to build social policies

The Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research LIVES – Overcoming vulnerability: Life course perspectives (NCCR LIVES) wishes to promote the dialogue between research and action. This is the objective of a round table, which will be open to the general public on June 21st, 2013 in Geneva. Prominent political and social figures will debate with scholars, under the guidance of journalist Esther Mamarbachi. Taking the example of family policies, participants will aim at targeting domains where new instruments are necessary to face the changing family structures and life courses. They will discuss the means to reach better knowledge transfer between researchers, policy makers and leaders of social organisations.

The round table on June 21st at Uni Mail – “How social sciences and society can meet? The building of family policy into question” – will gather several personalities representing the political sphere, the social domain or the academic community: Jean Blanchard, general secretary of the « Mouvement populaire des familles » (grassroots movement for family), Liliane Maury Pasquier, senator at the Swiss Council of States and vice-president of the Commission on Social Security and Public Health, Lucrezia Meier-Schatz, member of the Swiss National Council and director of Pro Familia, Sylvie Reverdin-Raffestin, director of Pro Juventute Geneva and president of the Cantonal Commission on Family, Walter Schmid, director of the Department of Social Work at the University of Applied Sciences Lucerne and president of the Swiss Conference for Social Welfare, and Dario Spini, professor of social psychology at the University of Lausanne and director of the NCCR LIVES.

Many researchers in social sciences will be present in the audience as this event will take place at the end of a two-day scientific conference on the topic of “Resources in Times of Vulnerability”. Esther Mamarbachi, who presents the Swiss TV programme “Infrarouge”, will moderate the round table. The organisers of the NCCR LIVES 2nd international conference are very much looking forward to the event. According to Floriane Demont, member of the scientific committee of the conference and equality officer within LIVES, “the interest of this round table is to be as much as possible in touch with the stakeholders’ concerns regarding family policies, to better understand their needs, in order for academic research to respond. We also aim at making LIVES competences known, so as to create links and to exchange on these questions.”

Innovative social policy measures

This is an important issue for the NCCR LIVES. For it got support from the Swiss National Science Foundation partly because of its ambition to enhance progress in the fight against vulnerability, by contributing to the development of innovative social policy measures. However, to do so, research results must reach the policy makers. Subjects of studies can also be inspired by the realities on the ground. Scholars should therefore create links with social actors working in the field. The way to implement this mix and match between research and action still has to be found.

The organisers of the LIVES conference thought the topic of family policy would be particularly pertinent in order to create bridges between research and action, as the family structures and life courses have changed a lot indeed during the past 30 years. This poses new challenges, for instance in the pursuit of work-life balance, or because of scarcity suffered by many families, notably single parent or immigrant households. Then arises the question of inventing new legislative and institutional instruments. Research can act as a source of proposals if new transmission channels are implemented to inspire studies and communicate results.

Bring the academic world closer to political leaders and the civil society in order to lay the foundations ofresearch that would be really useful to the people : Within the NCCR LIVES, the round table on June 21st could be a first step.