Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Democratic crisis? Resolving socio-economic and political challenges to reinvigorate democracies

Topic identifier: GOVERNANCE-17-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
06 November 2018
Deadline: 14 March 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Societal Challenges
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Almost three decades after the End of History essay and debates democracy faces significant challenges. Political developments have been marked by the rise of political forces and discourses promoting populism and nationalism and questioning liberalism. These are often couched in a language of anti-elitism and anti-cosmopolitanism as they seek to profit from citizens’ frustration at their socio-economic situation and political shortcomings of democracies. Social, cultural, economic, technological and political challenges related to the legitimacy, accountability, transparency, levels of engagement and effectiveness of democracies need to be addressed normatively and empirically with a view to averting a fundamental crisis in democratic standards.


The coordination and support action should bring together the relevant research community with representatives of civil society, as well as socio-economic and policy stakeholders (at European, national and sub-national levels). Proposals should adopt a holistic approach and ensure broad geographic coverage. The network should consider the altering capacity of parties, parliaments and executives to represent citizens. At the same time, it should address changes in voting behaviour such as growing abstention, increasing volatility and preference for extreme political discourses and their potential to sap the foundations of democracy. The role of referenda, also in relation to traditional and social media, should be part of the reflection. Moreover, the network should deliberate to what extent higher levels of distrust towards elected bodies and institutions and the political class could be signalling a more deep rooted shift towards a popular preference for outcomes over political participation and rights. Consideration should be given to political processes that may lead to a weakening of the institutions and laws that guarantee checks and balances, civil liberties, human rights and the rule of law. Different democratic traditions and pathways and how they affect policy responses should also be examined. A historical perspective should be adopted in tracing the political and sociological roots of current populist movements and parties.

Attention should be given to the role of supranational institutions and the ways in which they affect democracies. The role of identities, including European identity, for democratic governance could also be considered. Gender aspects should be taken into account. Moreover, the interaction between corporations and democratic institutions, including various forms of lobbying, needs to be better understood normatively and empirically. Additionally, the ways high levels of inequality impact political engagement and disenfranchisement should be part of the reflection and policy answers. Lastly, attention should be paid to the opportunities for participation and openness generated by new technologies and how these could connect to citizens’ movements.

Proposals should adopt a forward-looking perspective. The network should organise dialogues over the long-term dynamics of modern democracies. These dynamics should be examined against the backdrop of technological transformations and their impact on transparency, participation, the media and accountability. Moreover, developments should be considered in relation to the need for greater social and ecologic sustainability. Proposals should equally build on democratic theory and innovation in order to enhance participation and engagement and where appropriate go beyond traditional notions of representative democracy. The network should also synthesise and evaluate the research conducted under the ERA-NET “Renegotiating democratic governance in times of disruptions” (H2020-SC6-GOVERNANCE-14-2018).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 1.5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

The network will take stock of research findings and promote wide trans- and interdisciplinary dialogues with a view to re-invigorating, modernising and enhancing democracies. The narratives, discourses and scientifically robust recommendations generated will enhance public policy debates and decision making on democracy. The network will equally propose new research agendas.

Delegation Exception Footnote:

This activity directly aimed at supporting the development and implementation of evidence base for R&I policies and supporting various groups of stakeholders is excluded from the delegation to the Research Executive Agency and will be implemented by the Commission services.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

Socio-economic science and humanities

Topic conditions and documents

1. Eligible countries: described in Annex A of the Work Programme.
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. See the information in the Online Manual.


2. Eligibility and admissibility conditions: described in Annex B and Annex C of the Work Programme.

Proposal page limits and layout: please refer to Part B of the proposal template in the submission system below.


3. Evaluation:

  • Evaluation criteria, scoring and thresholds are described in Annex H of the Work Programme. 
  • Submission and evaluation processes are described in the Online Manual.

4. Indicative time for evaluation and grant agreements:

Information on the outcome of evaluation (single-stage call): maximum 5 months from the deadline for submission.
Signature of grant agreements: maximum 8 months from the deadline for submission.


5. Proposal templates, evaluation forms and model grant agreements (MGA):

Coordination and Support Action:

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

6. Additional provisions:

Horizon 2020 budget flexibility


Members of consortium are required to conclude a consortium agreement, in principle prior to the signature of the grant agreement.

8. Additional documents:

1. Introduction WP 2018-2020
2. Europe in a changing world - inclusive, innovative and reflective societies WP 2018-2020
3. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-2020

General annexes to the Work Programme 2018-2020

Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Regulation of Establishment
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Rules for Participation
Legal basis: Horizon 2020 Specific Programme

7. Open access must be granted to all scientific publications resulting from Horizon 2020 actions.

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.

Open access to research data
The Open Research Data Pilot has been extended to cover all Horizon 2020 topics for which the submission is opened on 26 July 2016 or later. Projects funded under this topic will therefore by default provide open access to the research data they generate, except if they decide to opt-out under the conditions described in Annex L of the Work Programme. Projects can opt-out at any stage, that is both before and after the grant signature.

Note that the evaluation phase proposals will not be evaluated more favourably because they plan to open or share their data, and will not be penalised for opting out.

Open research data sharing applies to the data needed to validate the results presented in scientific publications. Additionally, projects can choose to make other data available open access and need to describe their approach in a Data Management Plan.

Projects need to create a Data Management Plan (DMP), except if they opt-out of making their research data open access. A first version of the DMP must be provided as an early deliverable within six months of the project and should be updated during the project as appropriate. The Commission already provides guidance documents, including a template for DMPs. See the Online Manual.

Eligibility of costs: costs related to data management and data sharing are eligible for reimbursement during the project duration.

The legal requirements for projects participating in this pilot are in the article 29.3 of the Model Grant Agreement.


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Submission Service

To access the Electronic Sumission Service, please click on the submission-button next to the type of action that corresponds to your proposal. You will then be asked to confirm your choice of the type of action and topic, as these cannot be changed in the submission system. Upon confirmation, you will be linked to the correct entry point.

To access existing draft proposals for this topic, please login to the Participant Portal and select the My Proposals page of the My Area section.

Type of Action Coordination & support action [CSA]
Topic Democratic crisis? Resolving socio-economic and political challenges to reinvigorate democracies - GOVERNANCE-17-2019
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