Our Vision

HERA is a network of European funding organisations dedicated to creating new opportunities for innovative, transnational research in the humanities.  By supporting a range of activities, including research programmes, conferences, workshops and advocacy, HERA promotes the value of the humanities for society and for policy-making.

The vision of HERA is to be the voice for European humanities:

  • to be the reference in international humanities, both in funding as in research collaboration;
  • to achieve the integration of humanities’ viewpoints into national and European research agendas;
  • to inform policy making about the vital contributions humanities bring to societal issues;
  • to strengthen the role of humanities research in public debates.

Our core principles:

Humanities matter: Humanities research plays an indispensable role in society’s development and well-being, by addressing the most fundamental challenges of human history, culture and identity; by reflecting on the basis of knowledge and truth; and by promoting the values of intellectual curiosity, innovation, critical thinking and tolerance.

Interdisciplinarity works: Collaboration across academic disciplines creates new and valuable knowledge that extends the insights of individual disciplines.

Humanities build bridges: Humanities research plays a vital role in building relationships among a wide range of societal stakeholders, including academics, citizens, communities, civic organisations, industries, museums and memory sites, creative practitioners and policymakers.

Europe needs the humanities: In a time of fundamental debate about the nature of Europe and the European project, the humanities allow us to understand more comprehensively what Europe is, what it has been in the past, and what its future options may be.

HERA’s mission 2018-2022

1. To fund excellent, innovative, collaborative humanities-led research across disciplines and borders, with a diverse portfolio of funding instruments that pool national and EC funding;

2. To support the full range of humanities disciplines – including traditional as well as emerging disciplines, and those oriented towards investigation of the past as well as the present – and to support constructive collaboration across disciplines;

3. To exemplify the world’s best practice in transnational research programming in the humanities;

4. To create collaborative research opportunities for European humanities researchers at all career stages from doctoral to senior researcher;

5. To promote leadership roles for humanities in interdisciplinary research;

6. To foster best practice in knowledge-exchange, public engagement and impact for European humanities research;

7. To advocate the humanities across the academic community, among policy-makers, with public and private sectors, and to the European public;

8. To contribute to strategic planning for European framework programming;

9. To grow HERA membership where appropriate and possible;

10. To promote the values of critical thinking, co-operation, respect, tolerance, equality, diversity, ethical integrity and academic freedom in European research.

How HERA defines the humanities

The word “humanities” has somewhat different connotations across Europe, reflecting different national cultures, traditions and educational structures. Broadly defined, “humanities” includes those disciplines that focus on the dynamics and legacies of human culture and history. Traditionally this includes (but is not limited to) literary studies, languages, linguistics, history, philosophy, archaeology, comparative religion, art history, heritage studies, musicology, ethnology, film studies, media studies and digital humanities. It sometimes also includes disciplines like sociology, economics, geography, anthropology, psychology and law that overlap with the social sciences, particularly in cases where such disciplines employ humanities methodologies.

Methodologically, the humanities are defined by their continual (re-)interpretation of historical evidence and data, and as well as their investigation of contemporary cultural phenomena and production of new data. They pay particular attention to the effects of ideas, language, culture on human understanding and behaviour. They scrutinise the epistemological and ideological assumptions that underpin the dynamics and conditions of “knowledge” itself. They analyse the nature and forms of creativity and cultural practice. Some forms of humanities research also use methodologies stemming from the creative arts.

Thus, the humanities make vital contributions to the investigation of the most fundamental human and societal challenges, including cultural dynamics, environmental change, technological development, health, migration, social cohesion, security, governance and more.

For more information, read HERA’s Vision 2018-2022 document.

HERA Vision 2018-2022

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