• 30-31 OCTOBER

    Pavilion of Knowledge, Lisbon

  • 30th OCTOBER

    Democracy at a crossroads

    During this session we will discuss how recent political events have affected citizens’ perceptions and experiences of democracy, and democratic legitimacy.

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  • 30th OCTOBER

    Challenges to democracy and emerging alternatives

    In this session, we will focus on the challenges and alternatives that have recently emerged and are reshaping our idea and experience of democracy.

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  • 31st OCTOBER

    Democracy in Europe and beyond: what role for the EU? 

    During this session, we will reflect on the role played by the EU in promoting democracy in Europe and in the world.

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  • 31st OCTOBER

    Research and Innovation: building a stronger democratic Europe

    In this session, we will explore the key role of research and innovation in reshaping democracy and how this role can be enhanced in the future.

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‘Democracy and Europe’ will bring together perspectives that look at the past, tackle present challenges and look into the future of democracy in Europe and beyond. This encounter of multiple perspectives and actors – academics, civil society, and policy-makers – is of utmost importance to help us move towards a better society.


Democracy is under pressure. In the aftermath of the financial and social crisis, distrust in political institutions and governing elites has paved the way for the rise of ‘anti-establishment’ discourses and populism. Furthermore, the recent flow of migrants into Europe and the heightened security concerns which have accompanied their arrival, have added complexity to this picture. Additionally, the wide use of ICT and social media has also altered the way citizens (inter)act with one another and democratic institutions, and participate in a democratic society or construct (non)democratic practices.


As a result, there is a widespread perception that democracy is in need of reshaping with an emphasis on participation, engagement, transparency, responsiveness, accountability and effectiveness. Meeting these challenges requires strong and legitimate institutions.  Therefore, it is crucial to understand whether or not the facts speak to a structural crisis for democracies and if such facts are redefining our understanding of democracy. Such reflection poses a number of questions which must be addressed.


How do citizens perceive both democracy and their attachments to it? How do they experience democracy and what accounts for a sense of ‘democratic disappointment’? In particular, which cultural, social and structural conditions may contribute to this sort of ‘disappointment’? And can these factors create an individual/regional democratic vulnerability?


Do political leaders and politicians play a role in the erosion of democracy? How can democratic leaders respond to the re-emergence of phenomena like nationalism, protectionism and xenophobia in an interconnected world? How can these phenomena and their claims be addressed by democratic institutions while preserving core democratic values, such as equality? What socioeconomic and cultural policies are needed to address these challenges while promoting inclusion? And what impact will these phenomena have on communities and citizenry?


What can be done to fight citizens’ political alienation and distrust? Is representative democracy and greater public participation the answer or do we need to think beyond current practices? How can the cultural and historical factors involved and reflected in present developments help us look into the future? What knowledge is needed to understand and inform decision-making in the future? Which values are and which values must be at the base of decision-making?


And lastly, what is the role of the EU in supporting democracy in Europe and in the world? What do Europeans expect from the EU regarding the promotion of democracy and democratic values? How have these expectations been affected by recent events? Can the EU tackle the challenges being posed to the EU’s vision of democracy? And is this possible without overcoming the democratic deficit it is often accused of having? What knowledge and concrete actions are needed? What is an appropriate degree of action?

With Europe and the EU now at a crossroads, the path to be chosen will determine the future of subsequent generations and is inextricably linked to these questions. Interdisciplinary research and public debate are fundamental in answering these challenges while building more inclusive, open, and democratic societies. The social sciences and humanities have a key role to play in this process by contributing an understanding of cultural frameworks, as well as an understanding of historical, socioeconomic and political determinants and processes shaping perceptions of democracy and by informing and shaping decisions on democratic pathways and individual and political choices.

This conference therefore offers a unique opportunity to bring together academics, representatives of civil society, and policy-makers to address these questions. This encounter of multiple perspectives is of utmost importance for tracing the contours of democratic progress.

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Add to My Calendar 2017-10-30 14:30:00 2017-10-31 13:15:00 Europe/London Democracy and Europe - Our common future? Gather is a responsive event theme with many awesome features including add to my calendar feature. Awesome. huh? Lisboa, Portugal FCT geral@fct.pt

London-born, Brussels-based, Katrina has 20 years’ experience in communications as a TV Producer, Event Presenter/Moderator and Campaign Director. Among other roles in an eclectic career, as Head of Production for a TV PR Company she produced syndicated news reports for the BBC, Channel 4, Sky, ITV, Reuters, etc. This included interviewing high-profile figures from the worlds of business, politics, art, sport, film and fashion, such as Tony Blair, Michael Heseltine, Tracey Emin, David Hockney, Tom Hanks, Ridley Scott, Sir Alex Ferguson, JK Rowling, Jamie Oliver and Diana Ross.

From 2007 – 2017, she developed and ran Europe-wide multimedia campaigns and projects for the EU institutions covering diverse policy areas including employment and social inclusion, regional development, EU urban agenda, agriculture, fisheries, climate and the environment, transport, mobility, ICT, energy, human rights, taxation and sport. Not only did this enable her to dive deeply into all sorts of topics, but also to rub shoulders with MEPs, Commissioners, national ministers and, importantly, stakeholders from Europe and beyond: business associations, NGOs and trade unions, industry, academic institutions, public authorities CSOs, and so on. Being able to engage with their diverse perspectives, aims, needs and concerns has certainly nourished her moderating work.


Katrina Sichel


Paulo Ferrão is the President of the Board of Directors of the Portuguese national funding agency for Science, Research and Technology. He had been director of the MIT-Portugal programme since 2006, a strategic partnership set up between the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and several Portuguese universities and research centres, supported and funded by FCT.

Paulo Ferrão is Full Professor at the Instituto Superioir Técncio (IS) of the University of Lisbon, where he leads the IST Energy Initiative, the PhD Programme in Sustainable Energy Systems and the IN+ research centre, for Studies in Innovation, Technology and Policy Research.


Nina Braun has been part of the coordination team of Net4Society for almost 9 years and coordinates the project since May 2016.

She studied at the University of Science and Technology in Lille and obtained a Master’s degree in global E-Business, International Management and Economics. Over the last years she has lead and contributed to different tasks for Net4Society as well as in another EU Project, the “SSH Trans-Atlantic Platform”.


Professor Julian Nida-Ruemelin studied Philosophy, Physics, Mathematics and Political Sciences. In 1984 he completed his PhD in Philosophy at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, where he obtained an assistant professorship, first at the Department of Philosophy and later at the Department of Political Sciences. In 1989, he was conferred the Habilitation (German post-doctoral qualification) from the Philosophy Department of Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.
After a one-year visiting professorship at Minnesota State University, he was appointed Chair of the Center for Ethics in the Bio Sciences at Eberhard Karls University of Tuebingen. From 1993 to 2003 he held a Chair of Philosophy at the University of Goettingen, before he became Chair of Political Theory and Philosophy at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

Since 2009 he is Chair of Philosophy and Political Theory at the Department of Philosophy. He served as Dean of the Philosophy Faculty from 2009 until 2012 and as Deputy Dean thereafter. From 2011 until 2016, he was Speaker of the Munich Center for Ethics.

Nida-Ruemelin spent five years (1998-2002) in politics.
First as Head of the Municipal Department of Arts & Culture of the Bavarian state capital Munich. Then he held a ministerial office as the State Minister for Culture and Media and was thus a member of the national government of Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder. During his time in office, Nida-Ruemelin voiced criticism on the implementation of the Bologna Process, the European reformation process of the higher education. He recently criticized German policies aiming to increase the tertiary education rates and recommended instead to further foster German “dual system” of vocational training.

His book “How the rush to universities is leading to a crisis of professional and academic eduction” stimulated a nationwide debate on education policy.


Katrín Oddsdóttir was one of the twenty-five members of the Constitutional Council of Iceland, which drafted a new constitution for the country in 2011. The process of the Council has been recognised worldwide for its emphasis on democratic methods and the use of social media as a tool for public participation in the drafting of Iceland’s new constitution. Oddsdóttir worked as a journalist and copywriter.

She is as a human rights lawyer at Rettur – Adalsteinsson & Partners law firm in Iceland, focusing on the rights of refugees, disabled people and children, among other related fields.



Balázs Dénes is a lawyer and a human rights activist. He is the Executive Director of the Civil Liberties Union for Europe, a Berlin-based, EU-focused human rights watchdog organization.

In 1997 he joined the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), the country’s leading civil liberties watchdog organization, and after holding various positions he served as its Executive Director from 2004 to 2012. Since early 2013, he has been the Director of the European Civil Liberties Project at the Open Society Foundations.

He is a founding member of many Hungarian NGOs, and serves on the board of the Common Sense for Drug Policy Foundation. He focuses on civil liberties, human rights, communication and NGO management issues.

Balázs received his law degree in 1998 from ELTE University Budapest and is a 2003-2004 Columbia University/PILnet Fellow.


Balázs Dénes: ‘We Would Like to See That the EU Wakes Up, Democracy Will Not Protect Itself’


Milena Žic Fuchs was born in Zagreb, Croatia. From 1958 to 1969 lived in London, New York, and Sydney. In 1977 graduated from the Faculty of Philosophy, University of Zagreb having majored in English language and literature, and Ethnology. In 1982 received M.A. in Linguistics and in 1989 Ph.D. in Linguistics.

From 2002 to 2011 she was Chair of Linguistics in the English Department, University of Zagreb, where she taught Semantics and Cognitive Linguistics as well as seminars in semantics, discourse analysis and sociolinguistics.

In 2005 Milena Žic Fuchs became a member of the Standing Committee for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation. In 2006 she was elected member of the Core Group, and subsequently in 2009 she became the Chair of the Standing Committee for the Humanities of the European Science Foundation (2009 – 2012). From 2013 to 2015 she chaired the Scientific Review Group for the Humanities of the ESF. She is also a member of numerous Science Advisory Boards, as well as other European level bodies. Milena Žic Fuchs has also acted as an expert for the European Commission.

From 2008 Milena Žic Fuchs was member of the ERC Advanced Grant Panel SH4 “The Human Mind and Its Complexity” and chaired this Panel from 2014 to 2015.
In 2013 Milena Žic Fuchs was elected member of Academia Europaea, and from 2014 she is an active member of the HERCULES Group (Higher Education Research and Culture in European Society) within Academia Europaea.

In 2016 Milena Žic Fuchs was a member of the EC High Level Group for the Interim Evaluation of H2020 on European Research Infrastructures, including e-Infrastructures.
Also, in 2016 she was appointed member of the EC High Level Group on Maximising Impact of EU Research and Innovation Programmes, chaired by Professor Emeritus Pascal Lamy.

Professor Hvinden is Director of the NOVA Institute (Oslo and Akershus University College).  One of his projects, “Our Children’s Europe” (funded by NORFACE), uses deliberative forums for clarifying citizens’ preferences for future welfare states. Two other European projects investigate new solidarities and early job insecurity.



Cristina Flesher Fominaya has an MA and PhD in Sociology from the University of California, Berkeley, and a BA summa cum laude in International Relations from the University of Minnesota.

She is a political, cultural ,and digital media sociologist whose work focuses on European and global social movement and politics. She has won numerous international scholarships and prizes including the Marie Curie IEF Fellowship, the National Science Foundation Fellowship, the German Marshall Fellowship, and the Leo Lowenthal Prize for Outstanding Paper in Culture and Critical Theory awarded by the University of California, Berkeley. She was Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Political Science in the Universidad Carlos III de Madrid and a visiting scholar at Georgetown University before joining the Department of Sociology of the University of Aberdeen in 2009.

 She is co-Founder and co-Editor of Interface: a journal for and about social movements, an academic/practitioner journal with a current global readership of over 100,000 and Editor of Social Movement Studies, an SSCI /JCR indexed journal that is the highest ranked journal in the field.
She was also co-founder and co-chair of the Council for European Studies (Columbia University) Research Network on European Social Movements until 2015. She contributes frequently to media and speaks frequently around the world on social movements, gender, politics and democracy.



Marina Costa Lobo (PhD in Politics, Oxford University) is Principal Researcher at the Institute of Social Sciences of the University of Lisbon (ICS-UL), and a member of the Board of IPP – Instituto Políticas Públicas.

She is Principal Investigator for the ERC Consolidator Project “MAPLE”, which researches the politicisation of Europe before and after the Eurozone crisis (www.maple.ics.ul.pt). Her research interests include the role of leaders in electoral behaviour, political parties and institutions. She has published on these topics in journals and books. Her latest book was co-edited with John Curtice and is intitled: “Personality Politics: Leaders and Democratic Elections”, Oxford University Press (2015).

Katarzyna Mortoń is a coordinator of KOD International, a capacity builder of KOD in Poland and the plenipotentiary for international affairs and foreign funding of KOD’s Warsaw-based Executive Board.


Yuri Borgmann-Prebil is Policy Officer at the European Commission, DG for Research and Innovation.

He is in charge of several projects of the 7th Framework Programme (FP7) in the field of Socio-economic Sciences and Humanities and he is contributing to the Horizon 2020 Societal Challenge on “Europe in a changing world – inclusive, innovative and reflective societies”.

Before joining the Commission, Yuri was Lecturer in Law at the University of Sussex. He holds degrees from the Universities of Cologne, East Anglia and Sussex.


Fiorella Battaglia studied philosophy at the Pisa University in Italy and at the Humboldt University in Berlin, Germany, where she specialised in the philosophy of Historism. She obtained her Master degree, with honours, in 1998. Between 2000 and 2004 she completed her dissertation at “L’Orientale” University of Naples on Immanuel Kant’s transcendental anthropology. Between 2004 and 2005 she completed a master dissertation at the University of Pisa and at National Council Research on ethics and epistemology of environmental epidemiology.

From 2006 until 2010 Fiorella Battaglia held a research position at the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities (BBAW) “Functions of Consciousness”. At the BBAW she was also member of the “Human Project. On the position of the human being in nature”. From 2007 until 2013 she was lecturer at the Department of Philosophy of the Humboldt University of Berlin. Since 2007 she has assignment of teaching duties of Philosophy of Science and Ethics at the Medical School of the University of Pisa. From 2012 until 2014 she was a member of the EU-funded project: “Robolaw. Regulating Emerging Robotic Technologies in Europe“. From 2013 until 2016 she was a member of the EU-funded project “Credits4Health. Credits-based, people-centric approach for the adoption of healthy life-styles and balanced Mediterranean diet in the frame of social participation and innovation for health promotion“. Since 2013 Fiorella Battaglia holds a position at Chair IV of Philosophy and Political Theory. In 2016 she obtained the Venia Legendi of Practical Philosophy for her habilitation treatise “Outline of a Normative Notion of ‘Human Nature'”.


Maria Raquel Freire is researcher at the Centre for Social Studies and Associate Professor (with agregação) of International Relations at the School of Economics of the University of Coimbra.

She received her PhD in International Relations from the University of Kent, UK, in 2002.

She is currently director of the PhD Programme in International Politics and Conflict Resolution, CES|FEUC (FCT funded programme). She is also a member of the Governing Board of the European International Studies Association (EISA). Her research interests focus on peace studies, particularly peacekeeping and peacebuilding; foreign policy, international security, Russia and the post-Soviet space. She has published extensively on these topics.


Ramón Flecha is main researcher of the IMPACT-EV project, focussing on selection, monitoring and evaluation of the various impacts of Social Sciences and Humanities research. Professor of Sociology at the University of Barcelona. Dr Honoris Causa by Vest Timisoara University.

He has been the Main Researcher of the FP5 project WORKALO and the FP6 large scale project INCLUD-ED, among other research projects at the national and international level.

INCLUD-ED was the only SSH project highlighted by the European Commission among the ten Success Stories of the Framework Programme of research. The results of INCLUD-ED were included in key EC communications such as “Tackling Early School Leaving” (January 2011) and approved in EU Parliament resolutions such as “EU strategy on Roma inclusion” (March 2011).

The results of WORKALO had been also approved by unanimity at the EU Parliament (April 2005). As a result of Flecha’s research there are more than 120 schools transformed into Learning Communities and achieving outstanding academic and social improvements with excluded populations (see http://comunidadesdeaprendizaje.net).

Besides, he has created with Erik Olin Wright an international network on competitive cooperativism and social economy. His research was used for the creation of employment in one of the poorest neighbourhoods in Spain (see http://www.coopmfenollera.com). Flecha’s work on competitive cooperativism, Roma rights, Learning Communities, preventive socialization of gender violence and communicative methodology has been published in 12 different languages in books and top ranked international peer-reviewed journals.

He has also been appointed for the Connect-EU network in SSH, a network seeking to enhance the presence and impact of Catalan research in SSH in Europe, from universities and research centres, as well as from institutes, foundations, science parks and associations.

Bernard Reber is a Research Director at the National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Political Research Center of Sciences Po Paris.

He integrated CNRS as a Senior (tenured) Research Fellow (first class) in 2000. Philosopher (HDR/Sorbonne) and political scientist (PhD/School for Advanced Studies in Social Sciences (EHESS) / Centre for sociological and political Studies Aron Centre, Paris).

He is member of the editorial Committee of the collection “Sciences, Society and new Technologies”. Since 2015 he is working as an editor of the series  “Responsible Innovation and Research”. He also is a member of the editorial Board of Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics, Springer. Co-editor for the annual reviews in political and moral philosophy of La Revue de Métaphysique et de Morale, France University Press.




10:00 - 14:00

Welcome Session

14:00 -14:30

Session 1 – Democracy at a crossroads: citizens, demos and democratic legitimacy

Political events over the course of the past year have drawn attention to how the foundations of democracy are currently being affected by distrust in political institutions and political actors. The rise of populism has made significant electoral inroads and has heavily influenced political debates. At the same time, more reflection is needed on the factors – cultural, political, economic, social etc. – which may undermine the ability of democratic institutions to deliver on promises and, by extension, their legitimacy among citizens, and on the lessons we need to take from past crises of democratic systems. In this context, it is crucial to discuss citizens’ perceptions on democracy, and how they exercise their citizenship.


Coffee Break


Session 2 – Challenges to democracy and emerging alternatives

16:30- 18:00

End of 1 st day


Session 3 – Democracy in Europe and beyond: what role for the EU?


Coffee break


Session 4 – Research and Innovation: building a stronger democratic Europe


Closing Session


Valorisation Activities and SSH Research Ripeness for Impact | DANDELION Workshop, 31st October

This workshop aims at bringing together SSH researchers, research managers, such as National Contact Points, and dissemination/impact managers, in order to generate actionable knowledge for the everyday practice of SSH research, and help demonstrate and enhance its unique value.


Pavilion of Knowledge, Lisbon


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How to arrive?

Lisbon Airport is just two metro stations away from Pavillion of Knowledge. Oriente train station is only a five-minute walk from our venue.

Where to stay?

Pavilion of Knowledge is located in Parque das Nações, in the oriental part of Lisbon and by the Tagus River. There are several hotels nearby where you can stay. Special conditions will be made available to participants very soon.

How much is the participation fee?

Net4Society does not charge any participation fee. Our events are open to everyone who want to take part in this important discussion.

Who is Net4Society?

Net4Society is the international network of National Contact Points for the Societal Challenge 6 “Europe in a changing world: inclusive, innovative and reflective societies” in Horizon 2020. National Contact Points (NCPs) are set up to guide researchers in their quest for securing EU funding.





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Pavilion of Knowledge

Largo José Mariano Gago, 1990-223

Lisboa, Portugal







If you have any question just feel free to contact us.



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