Horizon Europe is the EU’s key funding programme for research and innovation. Read more about the Horizon Europe programme here.
This call aims to provide data on the impact that changes in the workplace are having on the mental and physical health of workers and working sectors.
This topic aims at supporting activities that are enabling or contributing to one or several expected impacts of destination 2 ‘Living and working in a health-promoting environment’.
To that end, proposals under this topic should aim for delivering results that are directed, tailored towards and contributing to most of the following expected outcomes:
The digital and green transitions (referred to as ‘twin transition’) have been changing the workplace at a rapid pace, leading to new forms of work (e.g. hybrid work, gig economy jobs) or changes in the forms of management and work organisation (e.g. through algorithmic decision-making and digital worker performance monitoring) for workers across the spectrum. These changes have varying impacts on the working conditions, income and health and occupational safety both for skilled and unskilled workers. Furthermore, they contribute to the high costs of work-related illnesses and accidents for employers and the European economy in general.
Mental health and ergonomic-related problems affect a significant number of EU workers. Musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) are one of the most common work-related health problems in the EU and workers and managers commonly identify stress, depression and anxiety as serious psychosocial outcomes of workplace exposures. Changes in the organisation of work can bring flexibility that allows more people to enter the labour force, but may also lead to psychosocial problems (for example, insecurity, compromised privacy and rest time, inadequate OSH and social protection, as well as stress due to excessive or atypical working hours, performance monitoring by algorithms and similar AI applications).
Some workplaces have either become exclusively virtual or they have evolved into a ‘hybrid’ model (e.g. multilocational working, home office), some work tasks and processes performed virtually and others requiring physical presence. A significant number of jobs are performed at clients’ premises or require workers to commute long distances and/or cross borders regularly. Such workers are facing additional legal, social, environmental and economic issues. Data on how these affect their mental/physical health and well-being is scarce.
The emergence and persistence of the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the pace of change, causing, in some cases, additional challenges for workers’ mental health (differentially affecting certain segments of the working force) and intensifying already existing physical risk factors (e.g. ergonomic risks). The European Pillar of Social Rights Action Plan aims to promote a healthy, safe and well-adapted work environment in the EU and relies on Horizon Europe for research and innovation supporting economic and social resilience and sustainability. The EU strategic framework on health and safety at work 2021-2027 recognises the needs, challenges and opportunities that technological innovation and the pandemic bring for the working population and calls for strengthening the evidence-base for policymaking and implementation.
To address the issues described above, research actions under this topic should include several of the following activities:
This topic requires the effective contribution of social sciences and humanities (SSH) disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities. Researchers should carefully integrate distributive considerations in their analysis by considering, where relevant, disaggregated effects for different socio-economic groups.
Projects are expected to contribute to the New European Bauhaus (NEB) initiative by interacting with the NEB Community, NEBLab and other relevant actions of the NEB initiative through sharing information, best practice, and, where relevant, results.
In order to optimise synergies and increase the impact of the projects, all projects selected for funding from this topic will form a cluster and be required to participate in common networking and joint activities. Without the prerequisite to detail concrete joint activities, proposals should allocate a sufficient budget for the attendance to regular joint meetings and to cover the costs of any other potential common networking and joint activities.
Applicants envisaging to include clinical studies should provide details of their clinical studies in the dedicated annex using the template provided in the submission system. See definition of clinical studies in the introduction to this work programme part.
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
See the full list in the General Annexes.
Unless otherwise provided for in the specific call conditions, only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
The total indicative budget for the topic is EUR 30.00 million.
The Commission estimates that an EU contribution of between EUR 5.00 and 6.00 million would allow these outcomes to be addressed appropriately.