European Ph.D on Social Representations and Communication
So.Re.Com. Joint-IDP Objectives

The So.Re.Com. Joint-IDP is built on the sound experience of both the European/International Joint PhD in Social Representations and Communication (http://www.europhd.eu), in operation since 1996, selected as the largest Marie Curie Multipartner Organisation site in social sciences in the first call of the 5th F.P., and the So.Re.Com. THEmatic NETwork, a ”network of networks” that promotes co-operation between academic, professional research and commercial institutions and facilitates the dissemination of scientific results throughout Europe and around the world (http://www.europhd.eu/SoReComTHEmaticNETwork). The European PhD joint doctorate is recognised by all partner universities on the basis of an inter-institutional agreement signed by their rectors. In its role as co-ordinator, diplomas are issued by the University of Rome Sapienza with the signature of the rectors/presidents of the universities which jointly confer the degree.

The So.Re.Com. Joint-IDP research training programme focuses on a supra-disciplinary area of the social sciences, and in particular of Social Psychology, inspired by the Social Representations Theory, one of the most important theories of the social construction of knowledge. Founded by Serge Moscovici (honorary programme director of the European PhD on Social Representations and Communication) in 1961, the study of social representations, originally specifically European, is currently a multilingual, worldwide discipline with a substantial body of literature. It involves leading scholars from both social psychology and the social sciences: sociology, anthropology, education, economics, linguistics, semiotics and communication and media studies. Contrary to the fragmentation of traditional social science disciplines, the field of Social Representations represents a unifying meta-theoretical perspective on the social construction of knowledge and its relation to socially situated practices. Consequently, the So.Re.Com. Joint-IDP project is open to trans-disciplinary and multi-methodological research approaches (experimental and field work). Studies of “what” people know – and “how” it relates to the social groups to which they belong and to the media – are concerned with the social construction and representation of a particular object (e.g. health-illness, environment, new technologies, politics, economics, European integration and enlargement, minority groups, immigrants and racism, human rights, etc.) and how its related scientific theories are transformed into everyday knowledge. The "objects" studied have a strong societal impact and important practical applications in political, economic and social spheres.

Consistent with its larger goal to promote Joint European/International doctorates as a strategic tool for enhancing the global attractiveness of the European Higher Education and Research Area, the specific objectives of the So.Re.Com. Joint-IDP project are to:

  • Provide doctoral training in the field of Social Representations by structured training-through-research in an internationally recognised networked research environment. From the optic of social psychology, it offers a starting point for interdisciplinary dialog as well as an expert forum on the theoretical redefinition of problematic issues and methodological strategies within the specificities of different disciplinary approaches and their applicative value in different organizational and institutional contexts;
  • Directly and systematically incorporate a select number of small/medium private enterprises from different countries (France, Italy, Sweden) into the So.Re.Com. Joint-IDP training activities.
  • Make research careers more attractive via cooperation between academia, public research centres, and small and medium sized companies that have common research interests and complementary training activities;
  • Involve internationally recruited, trained, and monitored early-stage researchers in cooperative trans-national research led by a multigenerational community of scientists, to be catalysts for expertise both in and outside Europe;
  • Promote European excellence beyond the boundaries of the European Union. The enlargement to partners from six extra-European countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico and USA) represents an effort to disseminate European excellence worldwide, beyond the EU’s borders, in synergy with well-reputed scientists and research centres in some non-EU countries of great strategic value for the expansion of the scientific field led by European scientists. The goal is to attract the best early-stage researchers from abroad, encouraging them to undertake their research training in Europe, also in view of closer integration of the European employment market, thus rendering our private sector much stronger in this period of globalization and high competition with extra-European companies.
  • Offer - via one integrated contract - activities that until now have been funded by several different contracts (Human Mobility Capital, Training Mobility Researchers, Marie Curie Multipartner Organisation Site and Marie Curie Actions) supporting international physical and virtual mobility for early-stage research fellows, International Summer Schools, International Lab Meetings, and international mobility for teaching staff.

The So.Re.Com. Joint-IDP project will be coordinated by the single participant, the Sapienza University of Rome (Italy), Europe’s largest university as well as Italy’s finest university in a world-wide ranking of universities. In addition to the project coordinator, this IDP includes a training network of 16 associated partners (13 universities, 2 private companies, 1 public research centres with intensive and extensive cooperation with the private sector) in 8 European countries (Austria, Czech Republic, France, Italy, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland) and in 6 extra-European countries (Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Mexico, United States). This large and diversified training network will provide unique opportunities for interdisciplinary research training that responds to the needs of both academia and private companies. The associated partners have close institutional and scientific relations with the coordinator, as they are all members of the European PhD on Social Representations and Communication and of the SoReCom THEmatic NETwork. Their participation in the project is essential because they ensure a wide range of complementary paradigmatic, methodological and thematic options offered by international and cross-sectoral research teams within and outside European borders. They will perform vital tasks such as co-tutoring activities (ensuring the multi-paradigmatic and multi-methodological approach to the research training), hosting ESR for secondments and providing valuable training modules during the project’s foreseen scientific events. The inclusion of the 6 extra-European partners is also important for several reasons, among which: a) attracting to Europe the best researchers in this scientific field from abroad; b) promoting and developing Europe’s excellence in this field; c) contributing to the expansion of this European field of excellence in countries where the penetration of the Social Representation theory is still weak (mainly China and the USA); d) cross-fertilising the European research training environment, thereby improving the multi-cultural exchange of EU and non-EU recruited research fellows from different academic traditions and cultural backgrounds. These extra-EU partners are already involved in research programs in common thematic areas. They thus contribute to disseminating in their countries and contexts the paradigmatic models and methodologies in social representation mainly developed in Europe; strengthen the leadership of European research in this field; and increase the attractiveness of European research institutions abroad.