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Call key data
Computational Social Science approaches in research on democracy
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 are expected to propose new strategies and approaches on how to deal with data, and the lack thereof, in a way that fully complies with the EU’s notion of privacy and personal data. Thematically, proposals may choose whichever research focus, in the area of democracy, deemed relevant to exploit the potential of CCS.
Social sciences have not yet fully embraced the breakthrough of computational science that took place in past years with costs for data transport and data storage ceasing to be a limiting factor for data-driven social science. Developing new crosscutting tools of social and computational science will indeed contribute to better understanding how the EU society acts.
At the same time, although big data (including personal data) has become widespread and minable, datasets available to researchers for scientific enquiry are not so easily available, only under restricted regimes, or they vary in quality. Another important limitation to using these datasets is the respect of data protection regulations put in place by the European Union legislation (for instance GDPR). With CSS it could be critically examined where there is need for more data access to what kind of data, and also where there is not enough high-quality data at all. Proposals are therefore expected to propose new strategies and approaches on how to deal with data, and the lack thereof, in a way that fully complies with the EU’s notion of privacy and personal data.
A promising avenue in this respect is the creation and use for research of synthetic data sets, including full-scale synthetic reference populations. Those can link, while not interfering with personal data use restrictions, highly granular data set. As a result, empirical analysis can much better cater for distributional impacts across a wide range of types of households, and individual socio-economic backgrounds, and the impact of socio-economic policies in different geographical settings can be studied at the same level of detail as currently the case in environmental studies.
Thematically, proposals may choose whichever research focus, in the area of democracy, deemed relevant to exploit the potential of CCS. They may concentrate on testing age-old questions of political economy and political sociology and see how they change or survive when tested in a highly granular simulation environment, as synthetic population data allows to do, or they may identify more recent topics such as political communication, political participation, or resilience of democracies, in relation to structural socio-economic patterns. They may also do methodological research with access to new data sources, develop new methods, or refine existing ones, like social network analysis.
Concrete efforts should be made to ensure that the data produced in the context of the funded projects is FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable and Re-usable), particularly in the context of real-time data feeds, exploring workflows that can provide “FAIR-by-design” data, i.e., data that is FAIR from its generation. Proposals should leverage the data and services available through European Research Infrastructures federated under the European Open Science Cloud, as well as data from relevant Data Spaces in the data-driven analyses. Additionally, efforts should be made to increase the data availability in European Research Infrastructures federated under the European Open Science Cloud by depositing generated data in relevant infrastructures.
Clustering and cooperation with other selected projects under this topic and other relevant projects are strongly encouraged.
Proposals are encouraged to collaborate with the JRC and its Centre for Advance Studies and project on Computational Social Science for Policy.
Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Insights into various aspects of democracy, its institutions, its capacity to adapt to changing circumstances, interaction with structural socio-economic patterns utilising Computational Social Science (CSS) to identify systematic patterns to test working hypotheses.
- Develop and test methodologies that combine and integrate CSS and other Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) methods to study democratic governance, overcoming traditional academic boundaries in the field and producing synthetic data and simulation environments to stage full scale experiments which otherwise are reserved to historical study.
- Use of critical approaches to data and datafication of social data, the development of alternative approaches to research including critical software studies, digital studies, and critical media studies, and development of clear and concise policy recommendations for harmonising CSS approaches with GDPR guidelines in order to encourage and facilitate such studies.
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.