Research & Innovation - Participant Portal

TOPIC : Applied co-creation to deliver public services

Topic identifier: CO-CREATION-04-2017
Publication date: 14 October 2015

Types of action: IA Innovation action
Planned opening date:
04 October 2016
Deadline: 02 February 2017 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2016-2017
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

While efforts have been made to make public services user-friendly and reduce the administrative burden, for example by making them increasingly available online, studies show that service design often does not meet the expectations of citizens and businesses, who require more usability, responsiveness and transparency, reflecting the different needs of users - some of whom may not be computer literate - and the variety of activities public services encompasses. Weak service design and high administrative burden often lead to non-use or non-take up by citizens and businesses of the public services and benefits available to them.

The profound understanding of end users including specific groups, like disabled elderly people, single parent families, disadvantaged citizens or immigrants, the re-design of services to respond to their capacities, needs and preferred delivery channels are important elements for governments to prove their ability to fulfil the needs of citizens and businesses. The old ‘one-size-fits-all’ approach is not appropriate for all spheres of the public sector; complex and varied service delivery; historical, cultural and socio-economic backgrounds play an important role in the expectations of interactions with public services.

The steady integration of new technologies into the everyday lives of people, businesses and governments is helping to open up public administrations, offering opportunities for more collaborative and participatory relationships that allow relevant stakeholders (i.e. citizens, business and non-governmental organisations) to actively shape political priorities, collaborate in the design of public services and participate in their delivery to provide more coherent and integrated solutions to complex challenges[1]. Co-creation of public services in this context is a public service that is provided by government, citizens, NGOs, private companies or individual civil servants, in collaboration or not with government institutions, based on government or non-government data or services.

Collaborative service creation (co-creation) requires public service actors to engage with stakeholders in the design, production and delivery phases, to gather the necessary user insight, re-define their operational processes and identify appropriate sustainability models to deliver an effective high quality service.

Given the opportunity to actively participate in service delivery, stakeholders (citizens, businesses, civil society organisations, social partners, etc.) can contribute distinctive resources (time, effort, ideas and expertise) and can keep public officials accountable[2]. The increased sense of ownership, greater efforts for the sustainability of public initiatives, as well as more creative ideas lead to an important shift in the role that civil society and the private sector can play in contributing to good governance[2]. It is also expected to help better prioritise and target public spending to the most important purposes and urgent needs.


Innovation actions will pilot the co-designing and co-creation of public services, using ICT and relying on open data or open public services. They need to bring together a variety of actors in society, such as for example public authorities, citizens, businesses, researchers, civil society organisations, social innovators, social entrepreneurs, social partners, artists and designers, to co-create demand-driven, user-friendly, personalised public services and make effective decisions. Proposals need to identify the particular policy area, public institution or function to assess the suitability of incorporating co-creation and the transferability of good practices. Piloting needs to be carried out in a representative set of Member States in order to test different cultural/socio-political context for co-creating public services.

Proposals need to address several of the below aspects:

  • Using open services provided by public administrations and allowing third parties to design, aggregate, produce and deliver in collaboration with or without government value added complementary or new public services;
  • Demonstrating how government can act as a broad, open collaboration 'platform' in practice by demonstrating and/or piloting use cases for sharing data, services, tools, cloud infrastructures and assets between public administrations (e.g. experiments of hybrid teams in government) and resulting in re-usable services or processes;
  • Demonstrating how government can act as a broad, open collaboration 'platform' in practice by demonstrating and/or piloting use cases for sharing data, services, tools and assets with third parties and generating new or complementary services or making decisions;
  • Demonstrating how the perspectives of citizens, service users, and others can be taken on board through, for example, the use of design principles or behavioural analysis, in the creation of new public services or policies;
  • Demonstrating how transparency of government data, information or processes and the engagement of relevant stakeholders can lead to accountability and trust;
  • Developing business models that would enable financial remuneration for the public as data (or other asset) providers.

Proposals need to ensure that privacy and data protection issues have been appropriately addressed and that the tools piloted could be re-used. Any policy area may be subject to the piloting, including social policies and those addressing the vulnerable.

Proposals need to demonstrate the feasibility of their service or solution through a number of real-life pilots, demonstrate the concrete commitment of the piloting sites and need to propose a sustainability approach or model for the period beyond the project.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of between EUR 4 and 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

Proposals need to demonstrate that they can achieve impact beyond the project phase, inter alia, in terms of efficiency and effectiveness gains, transactional cost reduction, productivity growth, stimulating the growth of new businesses, greater transparency leading to reduced errors and less public spending, administrative burden reduction, improved societal evidence, increased take-up of electronic public services by citizens, user satisfaction as well as in terms of the democratic dimension, such as increasing level of civic participation and social inclusion. Quantitative and qualitative aspects are to be taken into account. Additional impact may be improving the skills and adding new skills of public sector employees as well as third parties being agents and enablers of change and acting as innovation actors.

[1]OECD Recommendation of the Council on Digital Government Strategies, 2014.

[2]United Nations eGovernment Survey 2014.

[3]United Nations eGovernment Survey 2014.

Topic conditions and documents

Please read carefully all provisions below before the preparation of your application.

  1. List of countries and applicable rules for funding: described in part A of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme.
    Note also that a number of non-EU/non-Associated Countries that are not automatically eligible for funding have made specific provisions for making funding available for their participants in Horizon 2020 projects (follow the links to Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Hong Kong & Macau, India, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Taiwan).

  2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in part B and C of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    Proposal page limits and layout: Please refer to Part B of the standard proposal template.

  3. Evaluation

    3.1  Evaluation criteria and procedure, scoring and threshold: described in part H of the General Annexes of the General Work Programme

    3.2 Submission and evaluation process: Guide to the submission and evaluation process

  4. Indicative timetable for evaluation and grant agreement:

    Information on the outcome of single-stage evaluation: maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
    Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.
    Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.
  5. Provisions, proposal templates and evaluation forms for the type(s) of action(s) under this topic:

    Innovation Action:

    Specific provisions and funding rates
    Standard proposal template
    Standard evaluation form
    H2020 General MGA -Multi-Beneficiary
    Annotated Grant Agreement

  6. Additional provisions:

    Horizon 2020 budget flexibility

    Classified information

    Technology readiness levels (TRL) – where a topic description refers to TRL, these definitions apply.

    Financial support to Third Parties – where a topic description foresees financial support to Third Parties, these provisions apply.

  7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions, and proposals must refer to measures envisaged. Where relevant, proposals should also provide information on how the participants will manage the research data generated and/or collected during the project, such as details on what types of data the project will generate, whether and how this data will be exploited or made accessible for verification and re-use, and how it will be curated and preserved.

    This topic participates per default in the open access to research data pilot which aims to improve and maximise access to and re-use of research data generated by projects:
    • The pilot applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available for open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan (to be provided within six months after the project start).
    • Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they are part of the Pilot, and will not be penalised for opting out of the Pilot.
    • Projects can at any stage opt-out of the pilot.
    The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.
    Further information on the Open Research Data Pilot is made available in the H2020 Online Manual.

  8. Additional documents

    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Introduction
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies
    H2020 Work Programme 2017-17: Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation
    H2020 Work Programme 2016-17: General Annexes
    Legal basis - Framework Programme
    Legal basis - Rules for Participation
    Legal basis - Specific Programme


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