Representatives of the 10 institutions in the WeLaR research consortium met in Brussels on 8 November to kick off their three-year mission to explore how digitalisation, globalisation, demographic shifts and climate change affect labour markets and the welfare state.
The meeting started with welcoming speeches from project coordinator Karolien Lenaerts of KU Leuven’s HIVA institute, which is leading WeLaR. Giuliana Sicolo, a project officer at the European Commission Research Executive Agency, gave a brief but important presentation on the Agency’s expectations, including how WeLaR should be managed in areas such as relations with the Commission, periodic reporting, collaboration with other projects and impact.
This was followed by three sessions devoted to work packages. The first session featured presentations from Mikkel Barslund, the leader of Work Package 2: Framework of joint infrastructure and Ludivine Martin, the leader of Work Package 3: Labour supply trends. After a break, Piotr Lewandowski presented the plan for Work Package 4: Labour demand trends, Cristiano Perugini talked about the research strategy for Work Package 5: Labour market institutions and risk, and Martin Streng discussed the aims of Work Package 6: Welfare states and public finance.
During the last session Ursula Holtgrewe, leader of Work Package 8: Stakeholder engagement, talked about the events and initiatives planned to ensure close contact with stakeholders. Olga Markiewicz and Nathaniel Espino presented the visual identity of WeLaR and communication plans envisaged by Work Package 9: Dissemination and communication. The final presenter, Ramon Pena-Casa, discussed the plan for Work Package 7: Preferences, policies and social innovation, which merges the knowledge gathered during the project and aims to formulate policy conclusions and recommendations.