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Improving expertise in the field of industrial relations
Deadline: Jul 15, 2016  

 Enterprise and Industry
 Social Innovation
 Social Affaires and Inclusion
 International Relations
 Relationship Management


1.1. Legal base

In line with the remarks in the budget of the European Union, budget heading 04 03 01 08 is intended to cover actions to support industrial relations, in particular those designed to develop expertise and the exchange of EU-relevant information, as well as actions to improve knowledge on industrial relations institutions and practices across the EU and dissemination of results.

As such, by improving expertise and knowledge on industrial relations, the financed measures should contribute to addressing the overarching EU employment and social policy challenges as laid down in particular in:

  • the Commission Communication On steps towards Completing Economic and Monetary Union (COM(2015)600);
  • the Annual Growth Survey, the Joint Employment Report and the recommendations addressed to the Member States in the context of the European Semester;

  • the Political Guidelines presented by Jean-Claude Juncker in the Agenda for Jobs, Growth, Fairness and Democratic Change and the Commission Work Programmes.

The budget heading can be used to finance actions involving partners from the Candidate Countries.

2. OBJECTIVES – PRIORITIES – EXPECTED RESULTS – ACTIVITIES 2.1. Objectives – Priorities – Expected results

General objective

The overarching objective of this call is to improve expertise and knowledge on industrial relations through activities of analysis and research, at EU level as well as in comparative terms (identifying convergences and differences in the industrial relations systems in place in the EU Member States and in Candidate Countries), thereby contributing to developing and reinforcing quality and effectiveness of industrial relations structures and processes in the Member States and in Europe as a whole.


"Industrial relations" concern the collective – rather than individual – aspects of the employment relationship between workers, employers and their respective representatives. This includes the tripartite dimension where public authorities (at different levels) are involved. As such, industrial relations refer to the set of rules

governing employment and relations at the workplace, together with the ways in which the rules are made, changed, interpreted and implemented by trade unions, employers and the state.

Topics of specific interest

Actions that address the following themes will be particularly welcome:

  • The role and contribution of industrial relations structures, including social dialogue, in responding to the major challenges/opportunities brought by globalisation, demographic evolutions, climate change and technological change;

  • The contribution of industrial relations structures, including social dialogue, to reaching economic and social outcomes in terms of: economic growth and competitiveness; social inclusion and fairness; job creation and job quality;

  • The role of industrial relations structures, including social dialogue, in the context of the European Semester and Economic and Monetary Union;

  • The impact of coordination of collective bargaining across different levels and territories.

General remarks

Applications will be examined and selected taking account of the remarks in the EU budget, the criteria laid down in this document and the principle of balanced support.

Access for people with disabilities should be guaranteed for measures funded under this call for proposals.

2.2. Type of activities to be funded

The following categories of actions are targeted:

  • Activities to further deepen the analysis on topics/key findings that were examined in the European Commission's Industrial Relations in Europe series and/or the chapter on social dialogue in Employment and Social Developments in Europe 2015;

  • Research activities such as studies, surveys and other forms of data collection, monitoring exercises, action research;

  • Measures to enhance the collection and use of (comparative) information on industrial relations systems in EU Member States and Candidate Countries and on developments at European level;

  • Initiatives to promote awareness of effective industrial relations practices, at both national and European level, including by bringing together relevant actors such as academia, social partners and policy makers;

  • Measures to identify and exchange information in the area of industrial relations, including through the activities of networks between industrial relations parties and/or experts;

  • Actions to disseminate such findings in publications, round tables, seminars, conferences, training measures and training tools.

Measures mainly aimed at directly supporting European social partners’ initiatives and processes, such as consultations, meetings, negotiations and other actions related to the work of European Social Dialogue Committees at both sectoral and cross-industry level, are not covered by this call for proposals. These types of actions are funded under the call for proposals "Support for Social Dialogue".

2.3. Other elements to be taken into account

When drafting the proposal, applicants are invited to pay particular attention to the following elements:

  • The proposal should provide a clear explanation of the rationale and problem definition/analysis underpinning the proposed action, as well as the specific contribution of the action to the objectives of the call for proposals and its expected impact.

  • As shown by the objectives and targeted measures of this call for proposals, projects with a strong research/analysis focus are sought. Project proposals should therefore clearly describe the research methodology, covering at least the following elements:

    • The proposal should specify one or several research question(s). In doing so, applicants are strongly encouraged to explain how the project will contribute:
      • a. on the one hand to the EU policy agenda;
      • b. on the other hand to improving expertise in the field of industrial relations (including references to existing research on the given topic).
    • The key concepts or variables of the research project should be defined with a sufficient level of detail, indicating how the concepts will be measured.

    • The work programme should specify which data will be used to inform the analysis.

      Projects building on existing data should indicate which sources will be used, including, where relevant, the provisions to access the data.

      Where collection of new data is envisaged, the proposal should outline a data collection strategy, including measures to ensure data quality (envisaged number of cases, criteria according to which these will be selected).

    • The work programme should include an analytical strategy, indicating how the data will be scrutinised in a systematic manner to shed light on the research question(s).

    • Finally, the work programme should provide details on reporting of the research findings.

  • In case of recurrent applications by the same applicant on similar or related topics, the added value of the new proposal as compared to ongoing and previous actions should be clearly explained.

  • The choice of partners involved and countries covered should be duly explained and justified as regards their relevance towards the specific objectives of the action.

Taking account of beneficiaries' interest, the Commission may organise a networking day in Brussels for beneficiaries under the 2016 call (date to be defined). Applicants must therefore ensure that the travel, daily subsistence allowances and accommodation costs for up to 2 persons – the Project Manager and possibly the Financial Manager – to attend this meeting are included in their proposed project budget. If the applicant fails to do this, the Commission will not be able to fund the beneficiary's participation in the networking day.

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