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SoCa strengthened collaboration among social capital researchers

10.09.2008
The Academy of Finland’s Research Programme on Social Capital and Networks of Trust (SoCa) was successful in reinforcing multidisciplinary collaboration among researchers and attracting young researchers to conduct research in the field.

The programme also elucidated and strengthened the concept of social capital and established an interdisciplinary research approach in the field. This is the opinion of an international evaluation panel that was assigned the task of evaluating the programme.

The programme’s scientific results, however, varied greatly between different projects. Indeed, the evaluation panel feels that it was too early to assess the programme’s final results. The programme ended at the end of 2007, which means that a number of research results are still to be published. Also, the panel notes, the scientific aims set for the programme were so fundamental and theoretical that it is challenging indeed to achieve them in the course of a single research programme. The panel recommends that the duration of the Academy’s future research programmes be extended from the present four years.

According to the panel’s assessment, the SoCa programme succeeded well in strengthening an interdisciplinary research approach in social capital research. The programme generated added value to the projects and to research in the field, particularly by arranging a number of seminars and meetings. The meetings promoted the development of new research methods, for instance. The programme also contributed to the establishment of new researcher networks, particularly among young researchers.

The evaluation panel consisted of Chair, Prof. Peter Nolan (UK) and members Prof. Fiona Devine (UK), Prof. Sokratis Koniordos (Greece), Prof. Susana Narotzky (Spain), Prof. Sverker Sörlin (Sweden) and Prof. Michael Woolcock (UK).

The Academy’s Research Programme on Social Capital and Networks of Trust was carried out in 2004–2007. The aim of the programme was to investigate and explain how and where social capital is created, how social trust evolves and transforms, how innovation potential is created and how social capital can be measured.

The SoCa programme was funded, besides the Academy of Finland, also by Tekes, the Finnish Work Environment Fund and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health. Funding for the programme totalled 7.5 million euros and was granted to 31 projects. Academy funding was six million euros.

The evaluation report ‘Research Programme on Social Capital and Networks of Trust (SoCa) 2004–2007. Evaluation Report’ (Publications of the Academy of Finland 4/08) can be read in full at the Academy website at www.aka.fi/publications > Publication series.

Read more about the SoCa programme and the projects at:
www.aka.fi/programmes > Completed.

Anita Westerback | alfa
Further information:
http://www.aka.fi

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