Research & Innovation - Participant Portal


TOPIC : Ethics of Innovation: the challenge of new interaction modes

Topic identifier: SwafS-16-2019
Publication date: 27 October 2017

Types of action: CSA Coordination and support action
Opening date:
11 December 2018
Deadline: 02 April 2019 17:00:00

Time Zone : (Brussels time)
  Horizon 2020 H2020 website
Pillar: Science with and for Society
Work Programme Year: H2020-2018-2020
Work Programme Part: Science with and for Society
Topic Updates
  • 20 December 2018 16:36

     A policy briefing recording for this topic is available together with the slides under 'Topic conditions' (section 8. additional documents).

Topic Description
Specific Challenge:

Innovation, from idea to product, and including social innovation[1], is a main driver for change, a pillar of EU growth and globally for socio-economic development. It addresses key challenges in fields such as the environment and health and improving the quality of life and well-being of citizens.

Over the past years, the modes of interaction between the different stakeholders have evolved significantly. Active participation of citizens in science and innovation has gained prominence. At the same time, new IT tools have profoundly impacted the way in which researchers work and interact. These developments are promising and have numerous advantages. At the same time, however, these new modes of innovation also raise ethical and regulatory considerations, including concerns regarding the protection of participating citizens, their potential exploitation, the collection of big data and related privacy considerations, as well as intellectual property issues.


In order to maximise the social benefits derived from innovation, the action will assess the ethical, regulatory and governance issues potentially arising in this context. The action should identify what the distinctive elements of innovation ethics would be in this dynamic context.

The role of citizen participation in innovation (including social innovation[2]) must be analysed in order to maximise the effectiveness of this participation for all stakeholders, taking into account possible gender differences. Best practices for an active involvement of citizens and relevant stakeholders in the innovation processes should be identified. The design and use of IT tools should also be considered in order to optimise stakeholder participation.

In addition, the existing legal environment applicable to citizen participation in research and innovation should be identified, mapped and analysed. Potential regulatory and legal gaps (concerning for example IP rights and ownership of data) should be described and concrete proposals should be presented to address the highlighted gaps.

The analytical work should not be limited to the legal aspects, but also cover current practices (in the EU and beyond) with a view to discussing their ethics and values dimensions and taking into account the lessons learned so as to be able to identify best practices. In doing so, business ethics practices should also be considered.

The action must propose an ethics framework, based on accepted principles[3], which aim to ensure that innovation remains a process which responds to citizens' needs and values, improves access and avoids a technological divide. Such a framework should focus on the elaboration and implementation of publicly funded research and innovation programmes, as well as public–private partnerships. It should be developed, validated and translated into a set of practical guidelines that enable the effective handling of the identified ethical and regulatory issues.

Such a framework and guidelines must be compatible with and aim to complement the new European code of conduct for research integrity[4] and include, where applicable, measures for benefit sharing. This process necessitates the active involvement of relevant stakeholders to ensure an effective take-up. The effectiveness of the guidelines should be assessed and tested, notably via workshops and focus groups (such science cafes, etc.) involving citizens, industry, researchers and policy makers. In addition, the resulting guidelines should be applied in real-life pilots with quantifiable results. Piloting needs to be carried out in a representative set of Member States in order to test different cultural/socio-political context.

The action should involve innovation agencies and/or research and innovation funding organisations, which are called to apply the results of the project into their internal procedures.

In line with the strategy for EU international cooperation in research and innovation (COM(2012)497), international cooperation is encouraged.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of the order of EUR 3.00 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:

Overall, this action will enable more effective handling of the ethical dimension of innovation, in particular regarding the new modes of interaction and participation. It will offer a practical and operative tool for all stakeholders confronted with the challenges related to co-design[5] and to new (IT-based) interaction modes. It will practically support the work of a) the designers and funders of research and innovation policies/programmes, b) the ethics committees tasked with evaluating and monitoring innovative programmes and projects, and c) the research integrity bodies responsible for promoting research integrity and research quality. The implementation of the guidelines in pilots are expected to increase their uptake and overall the impact of the action.

Cross-cutting Priorities:

International cooperation
Open Science

[1]Social innovation as defined and addressed by the 2014 BEPA report "Social innovation: a decade of changes" (pdf version: ISBN 978-92-79-39417-1). For this topic, innovation should be understood as explicitly covering social innovation.

[2]Social innovation as defined and addressed by the 2014 BEPA report "Social innovation: a decade of changes" (pdf version: ISBN 978-92-79-39417-1). For this topic, innovation should be understood as explicitly covering social innovation.

[3]Including but not limited to sustainability, user and values lead design, duty of care, data quality and trust.


[5]In particular, the involvement of citizens/stakeholders and the agreement on shared priorities.

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.

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.


8. Additional documents:


Applicants are advised to view the policy briefing recording as well as the accompanying slides and to read carefully the introduction to '16. Science with and for Society WP 2018-20'. Please note that this material will also be part of the evaluator briefing.

SwafS-16-2019 policy briefing recording

SwafS-16-2019 policy briefing slides

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) H2020-SwafS-2018-2020


1. Introduction WP 2018-20
16. Science with and for society WP 2018-20
18. Dissemination, Exploitation and Evaluation WP 2018-20

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


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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 Ethics of Innovation: the challenge of new interaction modes - SwafS-16-2019
Guidance on proposal submission: H2020 online manual
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