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Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation

Harnessing collective intelligence for taking better informed and sustainability-aware decisions.

The Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPS) are ICT systems leveraging the emerging "network effect" by combining open online social media, distributed knowledge creation and data from real environments ("Internet of Things") in order to create awareness of problems and possible solutions requesting collective efforts, enabling new forms of social innovation.

The Collective Awareness Platforms are expected to support environmentally aware, grassroots processes and practices to share knowledge, to achieve changes in lifestyle, production and consumption patterns, and to set up more participatory democratic processes. Although there is consensus about the global span of the sustainability problems that are affecting our current society, including the economic models and the environment, there is little awareness of the role that each and every one of us can play to ease such problems, in a grassroots manner.

What for?

The distributed situational awareness enabled by such platforms can have very concrete impacts, for instance in empowering (and motivating) citizens to make informed decisions as consumers, or in fostering collective environmentally-savvy behavioural changes and a more direct democratic participation. These platforms are collective tools of social innovation, to design new visions of sustainable societies and environmentally sound solutions.

Concrete examples of technical functionalities would include:

  • accessing real-time and easily understandable information on resource consumption
  • comparing individual lifestyles against some ecological / environmental benchmark
  • defining and accessing complex environmental models and simulations
  • promoting sustainable and collaborative consumption, as a basis for an effective Low-Carbon economy

Ultimately, these platforms will enable dialogues and discussions in the civil society to collectively orchestrate the most appropriate actions in a truly democratic, informed and non-mediated manner.

How to build platforms for Collective Awareness and Action?

To implement this vision, DG CNECT has launched in 2012 a first call for proposals with a total budget of 15 million €. 10 European research projects have been selected and will start around October 1st, 2013 (see details on the projects page). A new call is under preparation within the framework of the forthcoming Horizon 2020 Research Programme. More information on the Horizon 2020 Work Programme 2014-2015.

Here you can download the latest presentation describing the last call  for proposals (Paris, 16 October 2012).

  • CAPS Events  - you can find a list of future and past events related to the area.
  • CAPS Examples : a list of related activities and projects worldwide, providing examples of the CAPS concept
  • CAPS projects : a list of the EU projects selected under the first call of CAPS
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