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Integrating Society in Science and Innovation - An approach to co-creation - SwafS-13-2017
Deadline: Aug 30, 2017  

 Smart Cities
 Horizon Europe

Topic Description

Specific Challenge:

There is increasing interest, and occasional experiments in processes of co-construction (e.g. agenda-building and policy inputs, co-evaluation, co-funding) and co-production (e.g. citizen science). Sometimes, it is deemed sufficient to have such processes occur, but one could also consider their content and how society would be integrated through approaches like value-sensitive design and gender-sensitive design. There are also combinations of process and content, as with place-based activities involving smart cities, living labs, and the regional dimension linked to Smart Specialization Strategies. For the gender dimension, research has already been funded to outline the loss to society and economy of not taking gender aspects into account in research organization and research design. Such questions can be raised for other dimensions of RRI as well.

While traditional approaches to public engagement will remain, this topic constitutes an opening towards the ‘new wave’ of public engagement where ‘co-creation’ is a key notion. It will provide innovative solutions to the more heavily technology and/or systems oriented approaches in other parts of Horizon2020.

Approaches and openings to the “creation of spaces for public engagement” (Rome Declaration), including the development and use of temporary and permanent physical spaces (e.g. exhibitions, events), will contribute towards the processes of involving European citizens and the co-creation of knowledge


The topic could become an umbrella for all sorts of projects, allowing benchmarking and comparisons.

An important focus for study in this topic is the question of what outcomes are being realised. Co-construction and society sensitive design are well intentioned, but what happens will be refracted through practicalities embedded in existing institutions and interests. This has been documented extensively for ICT. There is a structural element here, in the sense that co-construction and design necessarily take place at an early stage, while there are many other factors and circumstances at play in the later stages which co-determine outcomes.

There is a similar structural problem with regulation: good intentions, but actual implementation on the ground falls short. There have been calls for ‘implementable regulation’, where one would start with what are achievable effects in practice, rather than good intentions.

The present topic, on possible outcomes of integration of society in science, shall include the aspect of ‘implementable integration’. This requires study of dynamics of such initiatives, and will definitely improve their reflexivity.

The topic can also consider the role of science communication in improving the quality and effectiveness of the interactions between stakeholders.

To address this specific challenge, proposals should have a wide geographical coverage. It is therefore expected that consortia would include at least entities from 10 different Member States or Associated Countries, although smaller consortia will also be eligible and may be selected.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 4 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

This action allows for the provision of financial support to third parties in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

Expected Impact:

This action aims at developing a better understanding of co-creation processes and outcomes under various cultural, societal and regulatory backgrounds. It will allow better-targeted policy support in the future.

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