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Call key data
Protest politics and cultures of opposition in 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
Research proposals under this topic should analyse further the shift towards politics of collective action, and their impact on European democracies, including their role in resisting the rise of authoritarian tendencies and in taking down authoritarian regimes.
Citizens increasingly disengage from traditional party politics and voting as a way to express political views, values and beliefs. On the other hand, recent years have seen diverse forms of political protest, social and artistic movements and activism, flourish both offline and online. In fact, the Eurobarometer Youth Survey 2021 showed that a majority of young people in Ireland, Spain and Belgium, amongst others, consider participating in forms of street politics equal to, or more effective, than voting.
Research proposals under this topic should analyse further the shift towards politics of collective action, and their impact on European democracies, including their role in resisting the rise of authoritarian tendencies and in taking down authoritarian regimes. This could refer to both online and offline forms of collective political action, including artistic forms of protest (audiovisual art, literature, music, etc.). Proposals should consider drivers and factors that play a role in fostering such forms of politics (emotional, gender, socioeconomic, cultural, historical, generational, geopolitical, geographical etc.), including the role of social media platforms. This should be contextualised in a historical study of the role of protest movements and their impact on democracy. Proposals may analyse local, regional, national as well as transnational movements, mobilisation, and democracy within the European Union.
Proposals should consider the relationship between (i) collective action as a way to channel democratic grievances and (ii) limited channels for citizen participation, thus analysing the implications of further citizen support for democracy combined with the dissatisfaction with the current democratic channels (with a special focus on accessibility and inclusiveness of democratic channels such as voting for vulnerable people, mobile citizens, migrants, etc.). This could also mean exploring self-organised alternative forms of citizen participation (such as assemblies) and other innovative forms of non-conflictual constructive engagement.
The growing defiance towards the ‘usefulness’ of voting and electoral processes should also be addressed. Voting abstention as a mean to protest against a perceived lack of options, and how to remediate disengagement with electoral processes, can be a particular focus. Proposals should propose concrete paths to rebuild citizens’ trust in the impact and validity of electoral processes at various level, from local to European.
Special attention could be put on younger generations, who have vastly participated in shaping the public sphere with their activism in movements such as Pride, Fridays for Future and feminist mobilisations. A focus could also be on violence and extremist movements’ influence, for instance on protests against COVID-19 public health measures. How social networks act as a factor to increase societal resilience and as a way to pressure political change could also be investigated. Finally, how formal education contexts are integrating these new manifestations into citizenship education could also be explored. As new forms of political participation are still very much urban-based, proposals should include a specific focus on how to constructively channel rural youth’s discontent.
Proposals are encouraged to make use of participative methodologies and to draw on a combination of methods and literature.
In order to achieve the expected outcomes, international cooperation is encouraged in particular with countries from the MENA region.
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 Competence Centre on Participatory and Deliberative Democracy, particularly in respect to innovative forms of non-conflictual constructive engagement and its potential to transform democracies and democratic systems.
Projects should contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
- Practical understanding of the role and evolution of all forms of opposition (protest, cultural opposition, non-compliance, subversion, activism), their different platforms (physical and online), and their impact on democracy, including in resisting the rise of authoritarian tendencies and in taking down authoritarian regimes.
- Policy recommendations based on a deep analysis of the potential shift from traditional party structures to social mobilisation and activism as means for democratic participation, including drivers and factors that might play a role in fostering such forms of politics.
- Innovative forms of non-conflictual constructive engagement, which can channel social and community mobilisation and protest resulting from lack of/limited channels for democratic civic engagement and collective political action.
- Rebuilding citizens’ trust in the impact and validity of electoral processes at various levels.
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.