Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Contribution to behavioural changes for a more resilient and just society.
- Information on key aspects of the impacts of loneliness in Europe by pooling of socio-economic data to existing data.
- Evidence-based recommendations for social and economic policies to prevent, counter, and manage loneliness in Europe at individual and population levels.
- Creation of a framework to monitor loneliness in the long-term.
- Formation of a representative network of experts, stakeholders and policymakers involved in research and policy actions addressing the socio-economic impacts of loneliness.
Loneliness is becoming an urgent public health issue that calls for effective policy interventions. In 2016, 12% of EU citizens felt lonely. With the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, the figures have increased to 25%. Although loneliness affects citizens from all age groups, its prevalence is uneven in the Member States. The effects of loneliness are harmful for health, but also have significant impacts on social cohesion and community trust.
Several EU research projects and initiatives, such as the Pilot Project on Loneliness run by the JRC in collaboration with DG EMPL, already focus on loneliness and proposals submitted under this topic should ideally synergise with these and capitalise on available data to support the pooling of socio-economic data to existing data on individual and societal loneliness.
This effort should capitalise on available data to identify commonly agreed socio-economic and geographical risk factors, drivers and trends of loneliness within and across Member States including of specific populations (such as teenagers, unemployed, recently retired people, third country nationals who legally reside in the EU and people with disabilities), as well as gender and intersecting aspects (e.g. socioeconomic background, ethnic/minority background) and provide recommendations to design effective loneliness policies as well as develop tools for the long term monitoring of loneliness at the individual and population levels.
Work is also expected to nurture the public debate on loneliness and in particular on the stigma that is associated to it.
The approach will be based on a FAIR data-sharing culture and will promote the use of new technologies to quantify and assess the social and economic effects of loneliness in Europe.
Data need to meet the FAIR principles: findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable.