Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPS)

The objective of the research in this field is to harness the collaborative power of ICT networks to create collective awareness of sustainability threats and enable collective solutions.

Collective awareness platforms include several areas, such as collaborative consumption, getting facts/evidence from citizens for better decision making, driving sustainable behaviours and lifestyles, or developing alternative collaborative approaches to problem solving.

The call in this field includes four main areas:

  • Collective awareness pilots for bottom-up participatory innovation paradigms (R&I small actions – 24 M€)
  • Multidisciplinary research on collective awareness platforms (Internet Science) (R&I small actions – 4 M€)
  • Digital Social Platforms (R&I small actions – 7 M€)
  • Coordinating activities in CAPS (CSAs – 1 M€)

Background information

Internet is bringing about some very powerful tools for citizens and society:

  • Unprecedented connectivity and networking, which means new possibilities for competition but also for cooperation, for instance increasing direct participation in social and democratic life;
  • Global awareness (e.g. about climate change), thanks to information from other citizens and sensors alike, which can facilitate access to culture and inclusion;
  • New solutions for sustainability, based on collective intelligence, including not only new financial and economic models , but also support for a true low-carbon economy, and renewable energy production.

Emerging and grassroots distributed approaches can also mitigate or reverse the increasing concentration of power and economic value in the few dominant Internet actors, for instance in social networks, searches, e-commerce or content distribution.

The approach proposed for the development of Collective Awareness Platforms is based upon:

  • Harnessing the ICT network effects, for instance using crowdsourcing or crowdfunding, to achieve collective intelligence, by integrating networks of people, of knowledge (e.g. wikis), and of sensors (Internet of Things);
  • Setting Sustainability as a goal, for instance targeting beyond GDP solutions, Low Carbon economy, preservation of natural resources, increasing social equality or inclusion, in initiatives grounded on real communities of people and real challenges;
  • Driving behavioural changes and sustainability-aware decisions at personal, collective and corporate levels, eventually leading  to new forms of self-regulation based on collective awareness;
  • Bottom-up, grassroots developments grounded on open data, open source and open hardware, enabling new participatory innovation paradigms, going beyond commercially-driven platforms, but at the same time producing new business models and (social) innovation


Please find the last presentation given at the ICT Proposer's Day 2014 in Florence.