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Fundamental scientific research is not the only way to tackle today’s social challenges such as they are set out in the Horizon 2020 project, the European Commission’s ground-breaking research and innovation programme that started two years ago in 2014 and will go on until 2020. Research into the arts also offers a whole range of possible solutions. But it does more than that. It’s actively helping to improve the world we live in. In this dossier, therefore, we will be focusing on the contribution research into the arts is making in four distinct domains: sustainability, health, diversity and beauty. A few particular research projects and interviews will provide an overview of the current status quo in artistic research in Flanders, including ‘Future Footwear’ of Catherine Willems.