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Call key data
Horizon Europe - Cluster 2 - Destination 1: Innovative research on democracy and governance
Estimated EU contribution per project
between € 2,000,000.00 and € 3,000,000.00
Link to the call
Link to the submission
Proposals should investigate - building on existing literature and data - the most recent developments, especially as regards the pandemic-induced innovative e-democracy and e-participation solutions at all levels of governance (international, EU, national, regional, local). Based on lessons learnt from existing good practice cases and experiences, proposals should consider the citizens’ perspectives in building digital democracy tools and processes, including related technical aspects (e.g. gamification, artificial intelligence).
The COVID-19 pandemic made e-democracy more relevant and influential than ever before since access to the physical public sphere was limited. Through digital platforms and social media, individuals continue to voice their opinions, expose and mobilise for social movements, fostering change and raising awareness of democracy and fundamental rights. Citizens turned to digital media and collaborative platforms to deal with public affairs, exercising active citizenship virtually. Digital democracy platforms expand the opportunities for democratic deliberations through better and faster political information exchange, public dialogue, engagement in public decision-making and exercising voting rights in political elections. Digital democracy can also play an active role in creating and deepening societal change. However, digital solutions are also more vulnerable to disruption e.g. cybersecurity and privacy threats, misinformation campaigns or digital lobbying, attempting to impact public decision-making, including political election outcomes, and is likely to bring important ethical challenges concerning digital education and digital literacy, access to information, built-in bias, etc.
Increased level of participation between government and citizens requires radical changes and major investment making public administrations more relevant to the social, economic, political and technological environment. To prepare public administrations for increased engagement with the broader public, structures and processes need to be put in place, human and financial resources allocated, an ecosystem of intermediaries and representative organisations defined, most suited technological solutions identified, making public deliberation and moderation in the digital age an integral part of a governmental and also societal ‘culture of participation’.
For this aim, proposals should investigate - building on existing literature and data - the most recent developments, especially as regards the pandemic-induced innovative e-democracy and e-participation solutions at all levels of governance (international, EU, national, regional, local). Historical analysis will allow the consideration of the wider and long-term impacts of e-participation on democracy, political and civic culture, and international cooperation will facilitate the exchange of good practice and success stories. The framework conditions i.e. rules, policies and processes; ways of working (partnerships, structures, collaboration); people (skills, culture and values, leadership); knowledge (data, learning) that support next level democratic participation (emerging and next practices) should be investigated. Research should pay particular attention to digital inclusion as a key challenge and essential element of inclusive citizen participation in public deliberations for a healthy digitally enabled democracy through equal participation irrespective of citizen's income level, education, ethnicity, gender, religion, language used, ability, geographical location, etc., and to the digital divide between generations.
Based on lessons learnt from existing good practice cases and experiences, proposals should consider the citizens’ perspectives in building digital democracy tools and processes, including related technical aspects (e.g. gamification, artificial intelligence). The involvement of different stakeholders, including public administrations, end-users, political actors and the private sector is strongly encouraged to foster dialogue and understanding between diverse interest groups in democratic deliberations, enhance the legal frameworks and safeguards against threats and challenges (e.g. fraud prevention in e-voting), overcoming polarisation and reaching better public policy outcomes.
Proposals are encouraged to collaborate with the JRC Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy, particularly with respect to new emerging forms of democratic participation – through or assisted by – digital means, as well as to the innovative application of frameworks and methods for citizen engagement in building and experiencing digital democracy tools and processes.
Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Policymakers, practitioners and researchers gain increased understanding of digital democracy, the challenges and opportunities involved in digital democratic deliberations, the current state of the art and the framework conditions supporting its successful implementation.
- Informed investment decisions of (any level) government based on mapping future trends, emerging next practices, related participation culture and engagement strategies for building a thriving digitally enhanced public sphere in Europe.
Regions / countries for funding
Moldova (Moldova), Albania (Shqipëria), Armenia (Հայաստան), Azerbaijan (Azərbaycan), Belarus (Беларусь), 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), New Zealand (Aotearoa), North Macedonia (Северна Македонија), Norway (Norge), Serbia (Srbija/Сpбија), Tunisia (تونس /Tūnis), Türkiye, Ukraine (Україна), United Kingdom
Education and training institution, International organization, 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
Only legal entities forming a consortium are eligible to participate in actions provided that the consortium includes, as beneficiaries, three legal entities independent from each other and each established in a different country as follows:
- at least one independent legal entity established in a Member State; and
- at least two other independent legal entities, each established in different Member States or Associated Countries.
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.
other eligibility criteria
The Joint Research Centre (JRC) may participate as member of the consortium selected for funding.
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 45 pages.