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Digital Humanism - Putting people at the centre of the digital transformation
Horizon Europe - Cluster 4 - Destination 6: A Human-centred and Ethical Development of Digital and Industrial Technologies
Estimated EU contribution per project
around € 1,500,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
A horizontal and holistic approach is needed for creating a more resilient, inclusive and democratic European society, prepared and responsive to opportunities, societal changes, threats and disasters, addressing inequalities and providing protection and high-quality public services such as health care, and empowering all citizens to act in the green and digital transitions.
While digital technologies bring strong advantages coming along with a promise of freedom and innovation, negative aspects have also become visible in the last years. These include the monopolization of the information space, increasing levels of fake news and disinformation, strong power of online platforms, cyber threats and crimes, privacy breaches, strong market disparities as well as an economic order that claims human experience as free raw material for commercial practices of extraction, prediction and sales (Zuboff, 2019).
Digital Humanism is here defined as the continuing search for a European answer to keep up high civilization standards stemming from enlightenment and the humanist era, and to further develop them in the digital world. In line with European values, such a digital environment should enable all Europeans to make full use of digital and technologies, to have a society where geographical distance matters less, so that all Europeans can benefit from the digitalisation in their daily activities (ranging from work, learning, to enjoying culture or leisure activities) but also in their interactions with governments, and participation in democratic processes.
This requires intense, cross-disciplinary work of computer (and technology) sciences with legal, economic, sociological, philosophical and other kinds of expertise as a co-development exercise. To support in-depth, early-on collaboration between computer sciences and the whole wealth of humanities and social sciences to put new algorithms and models into a broader context, proposals under this topic should:
- Support the development of cross-disciplinary communities and networks in relation to digital transformation of society. It is thus critical to foster greater exchanges between social sciences and technological communities.
- Support the cross-disciplinary co-development of new theoretical models and approaches of the impact of digital technologies in our societies, starting with human and societal needs.
- Showcasing success stories and examples of engagement of the digital community seeking to develop concrete ways to progress toward a more human-centred digital world and draw concrete conclusions from these.
- Mapping out collaborative research to develop concrete tools and frameworks for ensuring that all actors of the European digital ecosystem (policy makers, business, startup developers, investors, NGOs) can integrate in their work and activities the values that form a human centred digital transformation and develop a roadmap for the possible development of research activities
- Develop a conceptual framework as well as tools and indicators to monitor and promote the progress of the ‘declaration on digital rights and principles’ and its six chapters (putting people at the centre of the digital transformation; solidarity and inclusion; freedom of choice; participation in the digital public space; safety, security and empowerment; sustainability), notably to feed the review of the Digital Decade Policy Programme and of the solemn declaration in 2026.
This project is also relevant in the policy context of the Digital Decade policy programme (“The Path to the Digital Decade”), which sets a European approach for its digital transformation based on values and technological leadership. For the first time, societal and human centred objectives are fully integrated into a comprehensive governance mechanism at EU level including monitoring of the progress made by the digital transformation in reaching our collective values and quantitative digital targets (skills, infrastructures, digitalisation of business and public services).
- Create an active network and cross disciplinary communities on digital humanism bringing together ICT experts, ethnologists, sociologists and experts in fundamental rights
- Help defining and strengthening EU’s approach to a human-centred digital transformation through cross-disciplinary, world class foundational and application oriented research
- Formulate approaches how to transform and strengthen European standards (rule of law, social market economy, fundamental rights, social standards and social partnership) into the digital realm including the take up of those standards by digital actors and in particular those developing new digital environment (e.g. data scientists, start-ups, investors)
- Formulate a list of recommendations and roadmaps to address current gaps or issues that are preventing the development of digital solutions that will reinforce - and not undermine - digital humanism across the society
- Propose a concrete framework for measuring and promoting progress of the promotion and putting into practice of the digital rights and principles declaration in the context of the Digital Decade policy programme. This will include concrete indicators, source of information at national and European level, as well as the identification of existing, and development of new, capacity tools to support the uptake of identified best practice uses of digital technologies in support of digital humanism. This work will notably feed the review of the Digital Decade Policy Programme and of the solemn declaration in 2026.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Bosnia and Herzegovina (Bosna i Hercegovina / Босна и Херцеговина), Faeroes (Føroyar / Færøerne), Georgia (საქართველო), Island (Ísland), Israel (ישראל / إِسْرَائِيل), Kosovo (Kosova/Kosovë / Косово), Montenegro (Црна Гора), Morocco (المغرب), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
EU Body, Education and training institution, International organization, Natural Person, Non-Profit Organisation (NPO) / Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), Other, Private institution, incl. private company (private for profit), Public Body (national, regional and local; incl. EGTCs), Research Institution incl. University, Small and medium-sized enterprise (SME)
To be eligible for funding, applicants must be established in one of the following countries:
- the Member States of the European Union, including their outermost regions
- the Overseas Countries and Territories (OCTs) linked to the Member States
- third countries associated to Horizon Europe - see list of particpating countries
Applications may be submitted by one or more legal entities, which may be established in a Member State, Associated Country or, in exceptional cases and if provided for in the specific call conditions, in another third country.
Any legal entity, regardless of its place of establishment, including legal entities from non-associated third countries or international organisations (including international European research organisations) is eligible to participate (whether it is eligible for funding or not), provided that the conditions laid down in the Horizon Europe Regulation have been met, along with any other conditions laid down in the specific call topic.
A ‘legal entity’ means any natural or legal person created and recognised as such under national law, EU law or international law, which has legal personality and which may, acting in its own name, exercise rights and be subject to obligations, or an entity without legal personality.
- Affiliated entities — Affiliated entities (i.e. entities with a legal or capital link to a beneficiary which participate in the action with similar rights and obligations to the beneficiaries, but which do not sign the grant agreement and therefore do not become beneficiaries themselves) are allowed, if they are eligible for participation and funding.
- Associated partners — Associated partners (i.e. entities which participate in the action without signing the grant agreement, and without the right to charge costs or claim contributions) are allowed, subject to any conditions regarding associated partners set out in the specific call conditions.
- Entities without legal personality — Entities which do not have legal personality under their national law may exceptionally participate, provided that their representatives have the capacity to undertake legal obligations on their behalf, and offer guarantees to protect the EU’s financial interests equivalent to those offered by legal persons.
- EU bodies — Legal entities created under EU law including decentralised agencies may be part of the consortium, unless provided for otherwise in their basic act.
- Joint Research Centre (‘JRC’)— Where provided for in the specific call conditions, applicants may include in their proposals the possible contribution of the JRC but the JRC will not participate in the preparation and submission of the proposal. Applicants will indicate the contribution that the JRC could bring to the project based on the scope of the topic text. After the evaluation process, the JRC and the consortium selected for funding may come to an agreement on the specific terms of the participation of the JRC. If an agreement is found, the JRC may accede to the grant agreement as beneficiary requesting zero funding or participate as an associated partner, and would accede to the consortium as a member.
- Associations and interest groupings — Entities composed of members (e.g. European research infrastructure consortia (ERICs)) may participate as ‘sole beneficiaries’ or ‘beneficiaries without legal personality’. However, if the action is in practice implemented by the individual members, those members should also participate (either as beneficiaries or as affiliated entities, otherwise their costs will NOT be eligible
Relevance for EU Macro-Region
EUSAIR - EU Strategy for the Adriatic and Ionian Region, EUSALP - EU Strategy for the Alpine Space, EUSBSR - EU Strategy for the Baltic Sea Region, EUSDR - EU Strategy for the Danube Region
UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN-SDGs)
All proposals must be submitted electronically via the Funders & Tenders Portal electronic submission system (accessible via the topic page in the Search Funding & Tenders section). Paper submissions are NOT possible.
Proposals must be complete and contain all parts and mandatory annexes and supporting documents, e.g. plan for the exploitation and dissemination of the results including communication activities, etc.
The application form will have two parts:
- Part A (to be filled in directly online) contains administrative information about the applicant organisations (future coordinator and beneficiaries and affiliated entities), the summarised budget for the proposal and call-specific questions;
- Part B (to be downloaded from the Portal submission system, completed and then assembled and re-uploaded as a PDF in the system) contains the technical description of the project.
Annexes and supporting documents will be directly available in the submission system and must be uploaded as PDF files (or other formats allowed by the system).
The limit for a full application (Part B) is 33 pages.
Eligible costs will take the form of a lump sum.