The Horizon 2020 Program, the world’s largest civil research fund with a budget of 80 billion Euros and managed by the European Commission, offers a significant source of funding for universities and research institutes. Initiated to harmonize Europe’s science, technology and policy practices, Horizon 2020 is carried out to strengthen research and technology development capacity, encourage university-industry cooperation, develop joint projects among EU countries with prospective EU countries or EU cooperating countries on EU policies.
Three faculty members from different departments of Kadir Has University (KHAS) are the coordinators of three Horizon 2020-funded projects with international participants. GenderEX (Gender for Excellence in Research), under the coordination of Prof. Mary Lou O'Neil, the Director of Gender and Women’s Studies Research Center (GWSRC-KHAS) and KHAS Political Science and Public Administration Department faculty member, started as of January 2021. AI4LABOUR (Reshaping Labour Force Participation with Artificial Intelligence), coordinated by Prof. Meltem Ucal from KHAS Economics Department, will start in May 2021. CONSIDER (Sustainable Management of Industrial Heritage as a Resource for Urban Development), coordinated by Prof. Yonca Erkan, faculty member of KHAS Architecture Department and Head of UNESCO Chair on Management and Promotion of World Heritage Sites, will be launched in October 2021.
Gender for Excellence in Research
Our first project funded by the Horizon 2020 Program is GenderEX (Gender for Excellence in Research). Coordinated by Prof. Mary Lou O’Neil and GWSRC-KHAS, the project is carried out between January 1, 2021, and December 31, 2023. The international participants of the project are three leading universities: Lunds Universitet (Sweden), Università degli Studi di Genova (Italy), and Technological University Dublin (Ireland). The overall budget is 893,146.25 Euros.
Prof. O’Neil, the Director of GWSRC-KHAS, states that the GenderEX project aims to build capacity and develop resources by adding gender dimension and to achieve high quality in research conducted in Turkey.
Prof. O’Neil points out that “Gender studies, as a field, is not yet well established in Turkey and a sex/gender dimension is not often integrated into research content. But we know that researchers and their studies can play a vital role in identifying the structures and producing solutions that will enhance Turkey’s advancement toward gender equality,” and adds that GenderEX will open unexplored areas for research and production.
Stating that integration of the gender dimension into all research fields is an important component in the progress toward equality, Prof. O’Neil lists four main goals of GenderEX as follows:
- Integrating sex and gender dimensions into multiple scientific disciplines and raising awareness,
- Focusing especially on Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs), and widening the capacity and repository of researchers who will integrate sex and gender dimensions into their studies,
- Creating networking opportunities for future partnerships in academic production involving sex and gender dimensions,
- Strengthening research management, management skills, and research reputation at GWSRC-KHAS.
Creating a collaborative learning model with leading international partners, GenderEX will enable GWSRC-KHAS to both develop its expertise and take a leadership position in the field of gender studies.
Reshaping Labour Force Participation with Artificial Intelligence
A new era called Industry 4.0 has been triggered in the last decade, thanks to the tremendous progress of computing power. This new revolutionary progress in manufacturing systems also creates a huge impact on the socio-economic dynamics of society. Moreover, very recent pandemic conditions caused by the COVID-19 disease show that the modern labour force is highly sensitive to these conditions and they are subject to change.
Prof. Meltem Ucal, the faculty member of KHAS Economics Department and the coordinator of AI4LABOUR (Reshaping Labour Force Participation with Artificial Intelligence) project, states that technologies based on data processing are changing not only the manufacturing standards but also the daily life of the people: “Given that studies on future of work mentioned the possibility of automation of 30% of global working hours by 2030, it is important to take into account that Artificial Intelligence (AI) can take on the monotonous and repetitive aspects of works that are done by humans when some jobs are automated. It is also predicted that AI will create new job fields that may require different skills all over the world, and it is expected that people will change their jobs or gain new skills to support the use of AI in the future.”
AI4LABOUR, our second project funded by Horizon 2020, aims to shed a light on future developments in the field of employment. Prof. Ucal seeks to bring a new perspective to employment studies and believes that focusing on more strategic or analytical works will be inevitable.
AI4LABOUR is one of two successfully funded projects in the field of Economics under H2020-MSCA-RISE-2020 Call. The project’s overall budget is 713,000 Euros. Coordinated by KHAS, the project’s participants are Universidad Politécnica de Madrid (Spain), University of Limerick (Ireland), University of Wolverhampton (UK), Instituto Tecnológico de Castilla y León (Spain), Arçelik A.S. (Turkey), The Irish Center for Business Excellence (Ireland), and Jonathan Lee Recruitment (UK). The 48-month project will start on May 1, 2021, and last until April 30, 2025.
Emphasizing the necessity to focus on studies that are more strategic and following the needs of the time, and to design and plan the training which upskills human resources, Prof. Ucal says that AI4LABOUR will offer solutions to problems that may arise in the labour market: “AI4LABOUR aims to predict which kind of new occupations will appear in near future and which kind of skills will be needed to get these new occupations. The project will also design an innovative skill-based modeling and skills development methodology for the labour force, equipped with AI techniques. This methodology will be the building block of a web portal, which will serve as a recommendation tool for all parties – individuals, companies, institutions, and policymakers.”
Sustainable Management of Industrial Heritage as a Resource for Urban Development
Abandoned industrial buildings in many European cities have been causing economic, environmental, and cultural losses. Industrial heritage sites need pairing with urban development plans, and a sustainable management model should be developed to protect these sites and to turn them into resources for the cities.
CONSIDER (Sustainable Management of Industrial Heritage as a Resource for Urban Development), our third project funded by the Horizon 2020 Program, regards it as a constraint that the industrial heritage studies focus on Western Europe and North America. The project aims to enrich the conceptual discussions on the preservation of developing industrialization and the industrial heritage of the Eastern Mediterranean and East Asia. Therefore, it is planned to document the contribution of industrial heritage areas in the cities of Istanbul, Vienna, Newcastle, and Haifa to urban development in architectural, social, and economic fields, and to integrate the extensive research into the European Route of Industrial Heritage.
Prof. Yonca Erkan, the coordinator of the CONSIDER project, the faculty member of KHAS Architecture Department, and Head of UNESCO Chair on Management and Promotion of World Heritage Sites, states that CONSIDER aims to develop a sustainable management model to protect the industrial heritage sites and contribute to urban development: “CONSIDER aims to develop sustainable management model (SMM) for industrial heritage sites for the benefits of the local communities as a resource for strengthening collective identities, improving the urban landscape, promoting eco-friendly solutions, and contributing to the urban economy and sustainable future of the city. The solutions will be designed in partnership with academia (universities), practitioners (SME / NGO), and policymakers (municipalities).”
The participants of CONSIDER project consortium are as follows: Academic institutions – Kadir Has University (Turkey), University of Newcastle upon Tyne (UK), Ruhr-Universität Bochum (Germany), Central European University (Austria), University of Hong Kong, and Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design (Israel); Policymakers – Kadıköy Municipality (Turkey), Haifa Municipality (Israel) and Newcastle City Council (UK); Practitioners – Tyne & Wear Building Preservation Trust (UK), EUTROPIAN GMBH (Austria), and UNESCO World Heritage Site Stiftung Zollverein (Germany). 76 researchers will work on the project which has an EU contribution of 1.196.000 Euros. The project will be run from October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2025.