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Enabling citizens to act on climate change, for sustainable development and environmental protection through education, citizen science, observation initiatives, and civic engagement

General Information

Citizen science is a powerful tool for climate action, sustainable development and environmental protection through civic engagement. Citizen science should be understood broadly, covering a range of different levels of participation, from raising public knowledge of science, encouraging citizens to participate in the scientific process by observing, gathering and processing data, right up to setting scientific agenda and co-designing and implementing science-related policies. It could also involve publication of results and teaching science.

Citizen science activities should be based on a robust scientific methodology ensuring the quality of the data collected and a fair representation of all stakeholders involved. Citizen science will help to raise awareness, to educate in science, to increase understanding of scientific processes and scientific literacy. It will also provide new tools and data for environmental monitoring, covering a broad European geography. Citizen science can strongly contribute to the delivery of environmental data with a significant potential for further broad use, including contributing to improving relevant European policies. It will have real-life impact through adaptations in citizen/consumer personal behaviours. Initiatives should be coherent with the objectives of the European Green Deal, the European Climate Pact and the European Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 to engage citizens and communities in action addressing climate change, sustainable development and environmental protection.

The proposed activities will build on existing initiatives and practices that demonstrate at international, European, national, regional and local level innovation in teaching and learning methods and how to engage the wider community in the changes needed for a successful and just transition. For example, experience can be learned from the European Ocean Literacy platform, the European Atlas of the Seas], the Plastic Pirates initiative, the citizen science platform, the Horizon 2020 project TeRRIFICA, Scientix, School Education Gateway, resources for nature-based solutions in education, UNESCO experience in Education for Sustainable Development, as well as cultural, creative and artistic activities as a tool for empowering citizens.

Actions under this topic should address one the following two subtopics:

Subtopic 1: Enabling citizens to act on climate change and for sustainable development through education Based on the recommendations of the European Green Deal Communication, actions will foster the development and implementation of a multidisciplinary European competence framework within the context of lifelong learning for the development and assessment of knowledge, skills and attitudes of citizens and in particular young people on climate change and sustainable development. This framework shall be built on the best available research and rooted in the Council Recommendation on Key Competences for lifelong learning, especially natural science, technology, mathematics, as well as social, personal, entrepreneurial, citizenship and digital competences. The participation of natural scientists, technology specialists, citizen science professionals and social sciences and humanities researchers is essential for the development of the framework. Taking into account the natural resistance to individual behavioural changes and to collective changes in social practices, as well as the gender gap observed in attitudes towards ecology and sustainable practices, contributions and practical knowledge provided by non-academic practitioners, NGOs and stakeholders, and international best practices, will be important. The European competence framework will be tested and validated through demonstration activities, in particular in schools, training institutions and universities, as for example through the implementation of nature-based solutions (e.g. green walls, green ponds for natural water filtering, green roofs, air quality sensors, green mobility, etc.), actions for biodiversity conservation, education on natural disasters, waste management including marine and riverside litter, sustainable energy and food production and consumption, educational activities supporting the refurbishment of school buildings, etc. Under this subtopic, clustering activities among the selected projects should be ensured through regular exchanges (e.g. meetings, peer-learning and peer-counselling activities, etc.) in order to share the educational outcomes on the competence framework, best practices and results of the different demonstration sites. To this end, proposals should earmark the appropriate resources for coordination activities accordingly. Each proposal should also reflect a balanced geographical representation of the demonstration sites covering different regions in Europe.

Subtopic 2: Enabling citizens to act on climate change and for sustainable development through better monitoring and observing of the environment and their environmental impacts. Actions in this subtopic will target the involvement of citizens in climate- and environment-related issues and domains, such as biodiversity, marine and freshwater pollution, water scarcity and sustainable transport and food production. They will focus on the active participation of citizens through citizen science, environmental observation and civic consortia. Projects should be conducted on a broad scale, i.e. in cooperation with businesses, civil society organisations, public authorities and existing initiatives (such as the Climate Adapt platform and the Covenant of Mayors), to ensure that these actions will lead to examples on how to engage the wider community in the effective behavioural changes and changes in social practices needed for a successful and just transition. The key component of this subtopic is to raise awareness, engage and empower citizens and consumers with concrete tools to monitor their impacts on the environment, to collect information enabling them to change their behaviour and to reduce their personal carbon and environmental footprint as user and consumer through individual and social innovation. Actions should include the development and/or improvement of devices (low-cost sensors, consumer apps, such as wearable sensors, a trusted user-friendly app with robust carbon footprint calculations, extreme weather community app, for the purposes of early warning, marine and freshwater litter watch) taking into account the interoperability and exchange of future and existing data collected. Attention should be paid to promoting gender-equal participation and deconstructing gender stereotypes.

For subtopic 1: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the European Union in the range of EUR 3 to 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

For subtopic 2: The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the European Union in the range of EUR 3 to 5 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Deadline: 
26 January 2021
Type of Project: 
European
Fund: 
Horizon2020
Sector of activity: 
Climate Change