A successful proposal will contribute to the wide deployment of and adding value to environmental observations, by improving the uptake and validation of data collected by citizens and by increasing citizen involvement and engagement, thus contributing to the European Green Deal objectives and a strengthened Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS).
Proposals are expected to contribute to all of the following outcomes:
- A more widespread participation of citizens, (e.g. new and/or existing associations/groupings of citizens observers) in the monitoring, observation, and protection of the urban environment, complementary to governmental measures;
- Greater availability of qualitative and quantitative in-situ data for long time series and better geographical coverage, contributing to the in-situ component of existing observation systems (such as Copernicus, European research infrastructures and GEOSS);
- Broader use of data and information collected by citizens in policy and research, with crowdsourcing and citizen observations acknowledged as valuable information complementary to authoritative observations;
- Increased use of existing toolkits and development of new toolboxes (methodologies, methods, technologies) for broad use, which could include the development of efficient passive sampling systems;
- Leveraged use of wearables for citizens and other low-cost technologies in the domain of environmental observation.
Successful proposals are expected to support citizen engagement, specifically the active role of citizens in the collection and use of data and information within the urban environment to complement the data and information collected through other means of observation (space-based, airborne, etc.). The proposals selected under this topic should increase societal awareness about the urban environment and lead to an increase in actions necessary to protect it. The proposals should contribute to more comprehensive and available data and information of good quality to assess the state of the urban environment in support of the climate transition and the European Green Deal and to the GEO initiatives related to urban environment and urban resilience.
The information derived by the selected projects should help in shaping policies targeting the monitoring and greening of the urban environment, in addition to monitoring schemes already set out by public authorities at different levels (regional, national, European, even global).
Proposals should pay particular attention to encouraging the validation and uptake of citizen observations for policy and compliance use.
The proposals should ensure that the observations/data produced will be available on relevant existing platforms such as GEOSS, European research infrastructures, INSPIRE and EMODNet.
The sustainability of the (existing) validation methods should be ensured for a broader use in the future, through the development of toolboxes, containing tested methodologies, methods and technologies.
The social and cultural dimensions of the citizen observation should be given due consideration within the proposals and therefore be looking into possibilities to engage citizens through e.g. social innovative, cultural or art-related initiatives. This should be in the context of further engaging and raising the interest and awareness of all citizens in observing their environments, but also in looking into the possibilities for co-creation of solutions for the urban environment. Particular attention should be paid to engaging women and marginalised groups, such as ethnic minorities and disabled persons, in co-creation efforts.
Particular attention should be directed to cooperation between different groups of engaged citizen observers, strengthening mutual learning and the exchange of good practices (in particular with respect to data quality). This could include the build-up of skills, capacity and networking possibilities between citizen associations to help them get involved in citizen observations. Applicants should seek cooperation with local, regional, national and European environmental agencies.
Selected projects are expected to be developed in co-creation and to build upon the results of the WeObserve project, as well as demonstrating measures to communicate and cooperate with other relevant citizen science projects funded under Horizon 2020 and Horizon Europe as far as possible.
The Commission Staff Working Document ‘Best Practices in Citizen Science for Environmental Monitoring’ published on 27 July 2020 is of interest in the context of this topic.
This topic should involve the effective contribution of SSH disciplines.
Projects should seek to contribute to the New European Bauhaus initiative by supporting the green and digital transitions in communities’ living environments through merging sustainability, inclusiveness and quality of experience. Projects, by considering the social and cultural dimensions of citizen observation of the urban environment, are well placed to contribute to the objectives of the initiative by bringing the European Green Deal into citizens’ lives and living spaces.
Specific Topic Conditions:
Activities are expected to achieve TRL 6-8 by the end of the project – see General Annex B.
Social InnovationEOSC and FAIR dataArtificial IntelligenceNew European BauhausSocietal EngagementSocial sciences and humanitiesDigital Agenda
The capacity to observe the environment, including space-based, in-situ-based (air, sea, land) observation, and citizen observations
Social innovation is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake.