Last January 19-20, the Mapineq consortium held its first meeting at the beautiful Music House in Helsinki to kick off the ‘Mapping inequalities through the life course’ Horizon Europe project.
The project coordinator, Jani Erola from the University of Turku, welcomed the 33 participants representing 8 institutions, and the members of the Advisory Board who joined both in person and online. Jani Erola remembered how the project first began to be conceived in the late spring of 2021 and was later submitted for evaluation in October. Daniela Vono de Vilhena quoted Jani’s words to frame the need to join efforts and apply to the Horizon Europe call. He said, “I think we kind of have a responsibility to apply when the topic is like this.”
During the meeting, Jani Erola presented a summary of the project for the members of the Advisory Board. This was followed by a presentation of the nine work packages in which the project is organised. The first one compiles, curates and distributes a unique open-access geo-located inequality database. Work packages 2 to 6 will study inequalities at different stages of the lifetime from early childhood, education and school-to-work transitions to mid-careers and labour market exits. The synthesis across the life course will come in WP7. Finally, in WP8 we aim to establish a dialogue with stakeholders and citizens to maximise the impact of the project.
Members of the Advisory Board (AB) provided feedback about our research plans. They also stressed the importance of one of the innovative aspects of the project, namely, offering a geolocated database that focuses on providing sub-national indicators and the possibility of linking it to secondary databases to provide finer-grained insights about the drivers of social inequality trends. In fact, much of the discussion during the meeting focused on the development of the Mapineq Inequality database. Work package leaders shared their thoughts about the geo-located indicators needed to address the multiple research questions of the project.
The kick-off meeting set the ground for researchers from different institutions and work packages to come together for establishing concrete collaboration plans.
Finally, we also welcomed the project officer from the European Research Agency, Andrea Rotondo, who emphasised the need for collaboration between the sister projects funded through the same call and announced a joint meeting between the three projects later in spring 2023.
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