Skip to main content

New project brings together science and policy to promote sustainable well-being

Published on 21.2.2024
Tampere University
Ihmisiä kokoontuneena ryhmäkuvaan puistossa.
Photo: Jenni Kilpi, Demos Helsinki
The EU has set ambitious goals for promoting human well-being within planetary boundaries. A newly launched project coordinated by Tampere University and funded by the EU will bring together new knowledge and a diverse group of stakeholders to accelerate progress towards these goals. The project participants will co-create new policy frameworks and indicators for measuring sustainable well-being and thereby support informed decision-making in the EU and beyond.

MERGE (Measuring what matters: Improving usability and accessibility of policy frameworks and indicators for multidimensional well-being through collaboration) is a three-year project funded by the EU to study and develop policy frameworks and indicators for promoting multidimensional well-being.

Launched under Horizon Europe, MERGE seeks to establish a unified set of indicators for measuring multidimensional well-being. For example, a high GDP says nothing about the sustainability of economic growth or the distribution of income across society. In addition, the current economic indicators and forecasts largely fail to account for planetary boundaries and human well-being.

MERGE aims to provide EU policymakers with rigorous research evidence also during the next parliamentary term to lay a solid foundation for a new sustainable economic paradigm.

“While alternative policy solutions and beyond GDP indicators already exist, the current lack of political consensus and integrated knowledge is preventing their widespread adoption,” says Tuuli Hirvilammi, a senior research fellow at Tampere University.

“The primary goal of MERGE is to support concrete action towards sustainable development goals. All the project participants share the view that a GDP-centric approach to measuring progress is outdated.”

MERGE supports informed decision-making

MERGE will tackle the fragmentation of knowledge by increasing dialogue between policymakers and researchers and improving coordination between different civil society actors. The project combines the latest research with policy practice and provides a forum for dialogue, co-creation and knowledge exchange.

“The project aims to facilitate concrete steps towards the implementation of new policy frameworks and indicators across Europe,” says Professor Liisa Häikiö, dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at Tampere University.

The EU project is led and coordinated by Senior Research Fellow Tuuli Hirvilammi, Professor Liisa Häikiö, Researcher and Project Manager Kaisa Hynynen and Administrative Project Manager Maria Salonen of Tampere University.

Building a network to transfer knowledge into practice

To integrate research into practice, MERGE is building a multiactor network comprising researchers, indicator specialists, policymakers and civil society actors.

“Our goal is to foster mutual understanding and find shared solutions for promoting sustainable well-being. We are looking to build a broad consensus on easy-to-use and acceptable indicators and policies,” Häikiö and Hirvilammi say.

The participants will benefit from collaborative and training events, analyses, indicators, datasets and policy briefings. MERGE brings together a variety of research initiatives as well as key national and EU stakeholders. By engaging with, for example, NGOs, researchers and statistical bureaus, the project aims to translate existing research into actionable strategies.

MERGE will receive more than €3.5 million of funding from the EU over three years.


Tuuli Hirvilammi, tuuli.hirvilammi [at]


MERGE (Measuring what matters: Improving usability and accessibility of policy frameworks and indicators for multidimensional well-being through collaboration)

Project details  - European Comission (

The project type is Coordination and Support Action (CSA). Besides pursuing cutting-edge research, the participants are looking to identify and leverage synergies between other ongoing projects and incorporate their results into practice. The project combines the expertise of three research consortia funded under Horizon Europe (SPES, ToBe, WISE Horizons) and an ERC-funded project (REAL).

MERGE (Tampere University) 

The project participants are:

  • Tampere University (coordinator),
  • Zoe Institute for Future-fit Economies
  • European Policy Centre
  • Demos Research Institute Oy
  • Universiteit Leiden
  • PIN SOC.CONS A R.L. - Servizi Didattici e Scientifici per l'Universita di Firenze
  • Universitat de Barcelona
  • Universiteit Gent
  • University College London
  • Universita Degli Studi di Ferrara IT
  • Wellbeing Economy Alliance
  • Research and Degrowth International
  • UK Office for National Statistics
  • Institut d'Estadística de Catalunya
  • Plateforme des ONG européennes du secteur social
  • Joint Research Centre - European Commission