Following the release of 23 citizen-based suggestions for Horizon 2020, the CIMULACT project has demonstrated that the up-stream engagement of citizens is possible.
The 23 topics target the different challenges European citizens face in their everyday lives, and specify how research may address these challenges (e.g. how we ensure equal and holistic health services for all; how we develop evidence-based personalised healthcare; how education can be a driver for social innovation and local development or how we achieve smarter consumption).
During the project, more than 1,500 citizens from 30 European countries, together with a variety of other actors, engaged in a large-scale effort to collect the visions, needs and concerns of citizens in a format that has been transformed into concrete research and policy recommendations.
Lars Klüver, the project co-ordinator, said: “Involving so many people with just as many different backgrounds and views has been challenging and we are still trying to optimise these processes.”
However, Klüver also emphasised that although the methodology was not flawless, such activities could and should be implemented in all branches of the EU research system.
He added: “CIMULACT has accomplished something new, which already demarcates a shift in the view on how research can be defined.”
The goal of the 23 research topics is that they will be used by the European Commission when formulating the next round of Horizon 2020 topics. However, it is also the hope that results and the project’s methodology will inspire national research agendas across Europe.