Communications Networks, Content and Technology

Collective Awareness Platforms

Collective Awareness Platforms

Net Innovation (Unit E.3)

Our goal is to encourage more collective awareness platforms across Europe, aiming at a broader involvement of people in addressing societal challenges.    

  • Develop Collective Awareness Platforms for sustainability and social innovation, through pilots and RTD, in diverse areas (health, food, environment, inclusion, e-democracy, finance, journalism, art, digital common good production etc.)
  • Incentives for social innovation actions exploiting Internet network effects at any scale and of any size (seed money funding, open calls, etc.);
  • Coordination actions and studies, to strengthen a European constituency so far dispersed and to make public and private actors aware of the potential of such platforms;
  • Multidisciplinary research on techno-socio-political issues which are key for the development of such platforms (regulatory aspects, incentives for collaboration, trust, reputation, privacy, neutrality, governance, etc.), in line with the Internet Science approach.

The Internet opens up new possibilities for innovation addressing societal and sustainability challenges. Digital networks enable more bottom-up, direct and inclusive ways in which citizens respond to pressing societal challenges. This work is linked to the activities on Digital Social Platforms, inclusion, public services and digital social science and humanities. Both CAPS and Digital Social Platforms aim at a broader involvement of people to address societal challenges. Digital Social Platforms build on established multi-stakeholder communities, such as European Innovation Partnerships, whereas Collective Awareness Platforms aim at a more direct, grassroots engagement of citizensCollective Awareness Platforms (CAPS) are Internet-based platforms that enable this grassroots involvement of citizens to:

  • provide bottom-up, collaborative solutions to societal challenges such as social inclusion, health, or environmental preservation,
  • enable innovation in the public sector, creating new forms of citizen's engagement in political processes and advancing our vision of government and democracy,
  • support new cooperative production and consumption patterns and explore new economic models beyond monetisation.
  • Assess the potential policy and regulatory implications of the take-up of emerging distributed bottom up initiatives (e.g. new forms of service delivery, new currencies, etc.)

Today, citizens' responses to sustainability issues (at environmental, economic or social levels) are non-coordinated, slow and often ineffective. Digital networks (networks of people, of knowledge, and of sensors) create new mechanisms for collective awareness - and action. Some existing Internet websites act as platforms to connect applications that can raise awareness for change. However it is necessary  to create truly open platforms that integrate data from people and sensors, grounded on civil society values, trusted by citizens and independent of big commercial interests.Developing CAPS as distributed decentralised systems that empower citizens provides  alternatives to the increasing concentration of power in the large Internet corporations (e.g. in data searches, social network or online commerce). Distributed and participatory mechanisms may become the pillars for new and sustainable economic models (e.g. Low Carbon Economy, ethics and CSR), whose business and social potential is still largely untapped.

Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-15 5, Leadership in enabling and industrial technologies, Information and Communication Technologies, European Commission Decision C (2013)8631 of 10 December 2013


Full-Time Equivalent: 
Euro 19 million invested in 2013 into 12 projects, Euro 500.000 for a Study on "Social Innovation in Digital Agenda". Euro 37 million will be invested in 2015 by an open call under the Horizon 2020 programme (ICT 10 of the ICT work programme 2014/15).

Information resources: Technology and Society Magazine, IEEE (Volume: 31, Issue: 4 ): "Collective Awareness Platforms: Engines for Sustainability and Ethics".Digital Agenda website on "Collective Awareness"Recently launched study on Social Innovation in the Digital Agenda.Support and coordination measures provide seed funding for digital social innovation activities, develop an impact assessment for collective awareness platforms and raise overall awareness.


Involvement of new actors

Involvement of and collaboration of actors, social entrepreneurs and hackers in collective innovation actions who so far have not participated in European initiatves.

Timeframe: 2015



Number of new actors

Target 500 (2015)
Baseline 0 (2014)

To be measured by the participating pilots as part of their reporting in 2015.

Cumulative number of pilots of CAPS

A series of pilots of CAPS in domains including inclusion, environmental challenges, direct democracy, participation, new economic models, rating companies on corporate social responsibility and more.

Timeframe: 2014-2015



Cumulated number of pilots (lead indicator)

Target 37 (2015)
Baseline 0 (2013)
Current 12 (2014)

To be measured by counting the number of pilots within the projects running. The indicator will be computed each year for the year x-1.


Internet use

Taking part in on-line consultations or voting to define civic or political issues (e.g. urban planning, signing a petition).



Internet use

Target Increase by 10% (2013-2015)

EUROSTAT indicators tracked as part of the DAE scoreboard (Keygroup C5, Expvariable I_IUVOTE)

Demonstration of possible behavioural changes

Pilots exploring how to achieve behavioural changes towards sustainability in different fields, such as food, health, climate, environment, democratic processes, lifestyles, public services and public sector.



The actual indicators will depend on the projects' specific targets and objectives, will be defined at the start of the pilots and specified in the deliverables of CAPS projects.

Target Showing improvement in at least 5 different areas related to sustainability (2015)

To be measured by the participating pilots as part of their reporting in 2015.

Innovation and piloting

Impact on innovation from the understanding of new participatory paradigms, from the exploration of new bottom-up ICT-based solutions and from the effective multidisciplinary collaboration of new actors in concrete application areas.

Timeframe: 2015



Assessment of the effectiveness of CAPS in different application areas by 2015

Target 30% of the pilots prove the effectiveness of different participatory innovation paradigms (2015)

To be measured by the participating pilots as part of their reporting in 2015.

Link to DG CONNECT's Top Level Targets

The expected longer term impact is to achieve active citizen participation in decision making, collective governance, self-regulation, new business and economic models. CAPS are expected to provide new ways to strengthen inclusion, civic and political participation, and direct involvement in social and political processes.