User Research Visits

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The European Community Household Panel (ECHP) is a complex dataset that contains both cross-sectional and longitudinal micro-data. Since 1999, the Eurostat ECHP Users' Database (UDB) has become available to the scientific community. Interested institutions can now buy the UDB after signing an ECHP research contract stipulating in detail the data use conditions, and in particular the strict confidentiality rules to be applied by any ECHP data users.

However, the price of the UDB has remained quite high, thereby limiting access to, and hence analysis, of this unique comparative EU dataset. Academics interested in carrying out a small research project or in running a handful of tables, perhaps to see whether the data are likely to meet the longer-term needs of their institutions, are effectively excluded.

The objective of EPUNet Research Visits is to offer the opportunity to researchers with no access to the ECHP in their home institution to work with the data on a small research project and, hopefully, have them become major users of ECHP data and other longitudinal data-sets. The prime aim is thus to increase awareness and use of ECHP data rather than fund research as such.
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What are EPUNet Research Visits?
Researchers are offered access to the ECHP-UDB to carry out their own analyses at one of four EPUNet partner institutions that are ECHP National Data collection Units (see below).

Visitors are provided with the required computing and office facilities, as well as technical and scientific support. (Note that Research Visits are not training sessions. The latter are organised by EPUNet under the separate heading of Training Sessions.)

EPUNet Research Visits are short-term visits. The duration of a visit is generally about three weeks. Funding is available to cover travel and subsistence expenses of visitors.

The ECHP offers opportunities to carry out research in fields such as income distribution and welfare, income and poverty dynamics, child well-being/poverty, multi-dimensional indicators of poverty and deprivation, gender and social inequality, unemployment and labour supply behaviour, education and training, social protection, fertility and family structures, survey and panel data methodology, …. For an overview of the areas covered by the ECHP, see the User Guide developed by EPUNet.

The Four EPUNet Host Institutions
EPUNet visits may be hosted by one of the four EPUNet partner institutes that are ECHP National Data Collection Units, namely
  • CEPS/INSTEAD: the Centre for the Study of Populations, Poverty and Socio-Economic Policy(Differdange,  G.-D. Luxembourg);
  • DIW: the German Institute for Economic Research (Berlin, Germany);
  • ESRI: the Economic and Social Research Institute (Dublin, Ireland);
  • ISER: the Institute for Social and Economic Research (University of Essex, Colchester, UK).

By default, visits will be allocated across hosts by the selection committee according to availability at the various hosting institutions, geographical location of the visitors, and research interest. Applicants are, however, invited to express a preference if some particular institution(s) appear(s) more appropriate. To the extent possible, we will accommodate applicants' preferences.

CEPS/INSTEAD is a policy and research centre based in Differdange (Luxembourg):

  • Since 1998, CEPS/INSTEAD has been identified by the European Commission as one of the few EU Large Scale Facilities in the social sciences. In this context, it has provided EU grants to many researchers to come to its premises and carry out their own research using the local research facilities.
  • CEPS/INSTEAD offers a multi-lingual, multi-national environment where you can ask questions to staff in English, French or German. CEPS/INSTEAD has a long-standing experience in the development of panel surveys (the Panel Study Living in Luxembourg (PSELL) is running since 1985) and production of cross-nationally comparative databases.
  • CEPS/INSTEAD is located in Differdange, a short train ride from Luxembourg City which home to many EU departments including the Statistical office of the European Communities. It is only 200 km from Brussels, the capital of the European Union.
  • Visits can be organised at CEPS/INSTEAD at any time of the year. Accommodation is provided on site and access to computing facilities is granted 24h/day 7 days/week.
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DIW Berlin is the largest economic research institute in Germany and host of Europe's longest running household panel survey, the German Socio-Economic Panel Study (SOEP) which started in 1984:

  • DIW/SOEP staff is highly experienced in the development of panel surveys and the production of cross-nationally comparative panel databases. SOEP data contributes to the comparative panel databases ECHP, CNEF and CHER as well as to the cross-sectional LIS database.
  • DIW/SOEP staff is highly experienced in the analysis of panel data, also in a cross-national setting. Staff members are fluent in English, also resulting from the continuous interaction with international scholars visiting DIW over the year and providing an inspiring research atmosphere.
  • Being Germany's capital, Berlin is easily accessible from any major European city by air or fast train connection.
  • Visits can be organised at DIW Berlin throughout the year. We can assist in organising nearby accommodation. Access to computing facilities is granted 24/7, though "normal" working hours are 8:00am to 5:00pm Monday to Friday.
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ESRI is a social and economic research centre based in Dublin (Ireland):

  • ESRI was founded in 1960 and its mission is to produce high quality research, with a core focus on Ireland’s economic and social development, in order to inform policy-making and societal understanding.
  • The Living in Ireland Survey – the Irish component of the ECHP – was produced by ESRI, and its researchers have published extensively using the ECHP data.
  • The working language in the ESRI is English It is located close to the centre of Dublin. We can assist with finding nearby Bed and Breakfast or Hotel accommodation.
  • Visits to the ESRI can be organised at any time of the year. Access to computing facilities is normally available five days per week, from 8:00am until 8:00pm. If access is needed outside of these hours, special arrangements can be made.
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ISER is a major interdisciplinary institute with an international reputation for research on economic and social policy issues using panel data methods located at the University of Essex (UK):

  • ISER offers an active research environment to over 50 junior and senior research visitors each year; since 1996, it has been recognised as a Large-Scale Facility in the social sciences by the European Commission.
  • ISER researchers are widely experienced in the collection and analysis of longitudinal and panel data; ISER is the home of the British Household Panel Survey among many other surveys and contributes to many cross-national databases and projects. ISER staff has an active publication programme, with many papers based on ECHP data.
  • ISER offers a stimulating research environment with its own library and access to all of the facilities of the University of Essex, which has three highly rated social departments. The University is located an hour from London and is easily accessible from all parts of Europe.
  • Access to research and computing facilities is available 7 days per week, 24 hours per day. Local accommodation can be found, either on campus or in the close vicinity.
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Who may apply?
All individuals conducting research in an Institution within the EU or FP5 Associated States are eligible (that is EU-25 member states plus Bulgaria, Iceland, Israel, Liechtenstein, Norway and Romania). Only researchers using, or intending to use, the ECHP data for non proprietary research (who are entitled to publish the results of their work in the open literature) may apply.

How to apply?

Two to three calls for proposals will be launched in the course of the project. Each call for proposals will fix a deadline for submission of applications for visits falling in specific time periods.

Applications to the open call are submitted on-line by filling the EPUNet Research Visits application form (a CV and a research project description are required).

Applicants are informed of the decision of the selection committee within four weeks after the deadline.

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