All participating countries are required to contribute to the central coordination costs, composed of a basic membership fee and an additional amount, calculated according to the GDP of each country. In addition, each country covers the cost of fieldwork and national coordination.

Prior to the award of ERIC status, the ESS was funded on a round-by-round basis. The central coordination and design was funded through the European Commission, the European Science Foundation (ESF) and national funding councils.

The Statutes of the ESS ERIC provide comprehensive details of the funding arrangements.

Active Horizon 2020 projects

Pilot Application in Urban Landscapes - towards integrated city observatories for greenhouse gases (PAUL)

The ESS is a partner in this Horizon 2020 project that aims to develop a systematic greenhouse gas measurement system for urban areas. Coordinated by ICOS - Integrated Carbon Observation System, it will bring together and evaluate the most innovative measurement approaches of greenhouse gas emissions in urban areas and will develop useful tools and services for cities to support their local climate action plans. ESS ERIC is the only social survey research project involved in the PAUL project, as part of a consortium of 31 partners from a range of scientific disciplines. The ESS ERIC will lead Task 1.3: The human dimension of climate policies: economic and behavioural impacts. The project will run until 30 September 2025.

Next Steps in Securing the Sustainability of the European Social Survey (ESS-SUSTAIN-2)

Following the success of implementing ESS-SUSTAIN (grant agreement number 871063), ESS-SUSTAIN-2 began in January 2020 and was expected to run for three years, until December 2022. Following successful applications by the European Social Survey ERIC for an extension to the project, ESS-SUSTAIN will now run until 31 March 2024.

The €4.9m project is being coordinated by the ESS and includes 16 other partners based across Europe. These are CentERdata (The Netherlands); Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Hungary); Institute for Advance Studies (IHS) (Austria); Institute of Social Sciences (Serbia); Institute of Sociology of the Academy of Sciences (Czechia); Catholic University of Leuven (KU Leuven) (Belgium); NatCen Social Research (United Kingdom); National Institute for Public Policy Analysis (INAPP) (Italy); Sciences Po (France); Tilburg University (The Netherlands); Umeå University (Sweden); University of Belgrade (Serbia); University of Iceland (Iceland); University of Lisbon (Portugal); University of Milan (Italy); and University of Turku (Finland).

More information on SUSTAIN 2

Enhancing links with other infrastructures

SUSTAIN 2 will explore a potential partnership with the European Values Study (EVS), to consider whether EVS questions could be included in ESS data collection. This will include the development of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the ESS and EVS. Work is already underway on comparing questionnaire items included in both surveys, and if any EVS items could potentially be fielded in the ESS. Possible formal and informal collaborations with other large-scale or cross-national surveys will be explored, and a strategy developed for closer working in future.

Promoting ESS data among key European policy makers

Three Impact Showcase Workshops – where ESS ERIC member countries present examples of successful pathways to impact using ESS data – will be held. These events will be supported by the publication of a report to mark the 20th anniversary of the ESS, highlighting a selection of academic findings from analysis of 10 rounds of data collection. Technopolis Group (UK) will also update country reports, non-academic case study examples, user data and bibliometric analysis of published articles initially included in the Impact Study report published as part of the SUSTAIN project in 2017.

Membership development and consolidation

As part of ESS ERIC’s ambition to maintain and increase the number of participating countries, SUSTAIN 2 will appoint roaming ambassadors to make and maintain regular contact with funding agencies. Each ambassador will be assigned to a cluster of countries, with the first appointment covering southern Europe. To support expansion in south east Europe, SUSTAIN 2 will support activities for the Western Balkans ESS regional network. For countries who join the ESS for the first time (or re-join after a period of absence), national coordinators will be given a full country briefing by the ESS core scientific team.

Optimising realisation of the ESS specifications

The use of tools developed over the past few years has significantly improved the implementation of the survey lifecycle. SUSTAIN 2 will allow the ESS to further progress these, specifically through the development of a centrally programmed version of a Computer-assisted personal interviewing (CAPI) source questionnaire and contact form. The use of the translation management tool (TMT) – developed under the Synergies for Europe's Research Infrastructures in the Social Sciences (SERISS) project – will be refined and expanded. SUSTAIN 2 will also facilitate the collection of paradata via CAPI to monitor fieldwork in real time. Training materials for all tools will also be implemented.

Laying the foundations for a ESS web panel

The majority of SUSTAIN 2 funding will be allocated to preparing and implementing an ESS web panel in 12 countries. Firstly, the methodology for a harmonised probability-based web panel will be outlined. Secondly, sample management and questionnaire administration will be developed to coordinate the 12-country online survey. This harmonised, probability-based web panel has been fielded in Austria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, France, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Portugal, Slovenia, Sweden and the UK, with detailed implementation guides provided to all national teams. This part of the project is a progression from the three-country web panel (CRONOS) implemented as part of the SERISS project.

Finance and governance for a ESS web panel

Once the 12-country web panel is implemented and successfully collects data, the ESS team working on SUSTAIN 2 will develop a specification for a web panel to be administered across all ESS participating countries. This specification will outline the costs of a future operation of the panel and include a fully costed funding model based on the experiences of implementing the 12-country panel. These specifications will form the basis for a formal prospectus, outlining the information for potential national funders of online data collection.

Icon of ESS logo on a map marker placed on an unfolded generic map.


ESS ERIC Headquarters
T: +44 (0)207 0404901