The So.Re.Com. THEmatic NETwork will further expand the Euro PhD centre's already extensive international scope and provide the benefits of physical and virtual mobility and open distance learning to similarly equipped research centres in and outside Europe. In addition to the cultural/linguistic benefits for researchers and instructors, open dialogue with people and institutions responsible for decisions that have an impact on EU social policies will add value to training and research. Administration and management of the human and technical resources of institutions involved can benefit by these exchanges and the European dimension of international fellows' doctoral training will produce a positive ”parabola” effect on the process of internationalisation of higher education institutes and research centres. Non-academic specialists and organizations participating in the So.Re.Com. THEmatic NETwork can gain easy access to the learning resources produced by this "network of networks". Due to the expanding level of complexity, the thematic network will also need to actively engage external experts in the programme's Core Executive Committee (currently limited to scientists from outside the network) which will bring into the network the viewpoints and expertise of representatives of governmental and international political organizations, as well as industries dedicated to communications and technological innovation.
Inspired by the logic of "network of networks", this large scientific and institutional network will not only permit the production of the expected outputs, but their validation according different target perspectives as well. The project will therefore achieve the maximum degree of free dissemination for those products aimed at curricula harmonisation, such as best practice management for joint European doctoral programmes. It will also guarantee its own long term life after the initial project by marketing and allowing access to the multi-media products developed via registration fees.
The So.Re.Com. THEmatic NETwork will give social policy researchers and experts the possibility to exchange ideas without limits of time and space and encourage cross-fertilisation of ideas between the academic and the political and socio-economic world. A basic goal is to expand the dialogue between the scientific community and society, allowing the academic world, the private sector and political institutions to no longer work in isolation but rather, together to meet the challenges that our societies are facing. Although based in Social Representations and Communication, the network covers a wide array of fields including Social Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Education, Economics, Linguistics, Semiotics and Communication and Media Studies. These are all disciplines that are extremely relevant to social policy issues raised by the ever-deepening integration and upcoming enlargement of the European Union. In this perspective, the network can help pool the knowledge and expertise of social scientists and European political institutions and increase the value and impact of comparative studies in social sciences in areas important for EU citizens. In a longer term perspective, this intercultural dialogue and systematic physical and on-line co-operation among European and non-European experts from who are open to a global scientific community can contribute information and concrete solutions to promote social and economic cohesion and therefore, can ultimately play a role in the struggle to eliminate racism and xenophobia.
Putting to full use the opportunities created by new communication technologies can have an innovating effect on the administration and management of human and technical resources of European academic institutions. As well as the obvious cultural/linguistic benefits, the physical and virtual mobility of students and researchers made possible by the So.Re.Com.THEmatic NETwork will enable them to reflect on and refine their own research approaches which can have a beneficial effect on the quality and scope of their work. With cross-national research teams working in different cultural settings, it can also augment and enhance the already growing "internationalisation" of higher education institutes and research centres, help identify "poles of excellence" in the social sciences and extend the impact of ICT on co-operative research outside European borders. The network is highly relevant to EC programmes led by DG-Education and Culture that focus on advanced training and joint curriculum in Higher Education (like Socrates) with links and synergies with other projects supported by the Framework programmes for Research and Technological Development in thematic areas with a strong societal impact.
Access to the So.Re.Com. THEmatic NETwork's multimedia products and internet-based services not only provides for more efficient dissemination of research but for a more equitable dissemination. It brings a notable advantage, for example, to special target groups, such as women, motor-disadvantaged researchers and researchers from the less-favoured EU regions, as well as researchers in Asia, Africa and Latin America who might otherwise have access difficulties and can profit from the network's multimedia products and the ODL training system. They also enhance co-operation between the more advanced scientific community working in Europe, the United States, and Canada and research groups working in under-developed regions.