What is ACTION?
ACTION (pArticipatory sCience Toolkit for CombatIng PollutiON) is a joint initiative by King’s College London, Cefriel, DRIFT, Dutch Butterfly Conservation, IGB, NILU, SINTEF, T6 ECO, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. We support several citizen science efforts in Europe and worldwide to combat all types of pollution, from air and light pollution to agricultural and noise pollution. ACTION has received funding from the European Commission’s Horizon 2020 programme (824603). We are seeking ideas and initiatives to support citizen science projects to grow our ecosystem and join the ACTION initiative through our open call.
ACTION aims to partner with new, emerging and established European citizen science initiatives to tackle pollution in various forms and develop tools for supporting citizen science in becoming more open, participatory and sustainable. By partnering with citizen science projects and in turn, collaborating with citizens through citizen science, we seek to co-design, implement and evaluate novel methodologies and resources to open citizen science processes further. Furthermore, by engaging the public and citizen scientists in the research process, we will spread further awareness of pollution-related issues and achieve greater impact, in academic, policy and private sector contexts.
Successful applicants will receive €20,000 to help deliver a six-month pilot with the help of the ACTION team. In addition, ACTION will offer a set of services, tailored to the needs of each citizen science project, including:
- Intensive training at the start of the accelerator on: project design, citizen engagement, data management and preservation, sustainability and impact assessment;
- Online mentoring during the pilot and beyond;
- Tools and infrastructure to host projects and their data according to state of the art IT practices in your discipline;
- Tools and methods to facilitate participatory data collection and analysis;
- Bespoke consultancy on a diverse set of citizen science challenges, including: data quality, data preservation, GDPR, research ethics, motivating participation, citizen empowerment, EDI (equality, diversity, inclusion), public engagement, and impact;
- Promotion via news on the ACTION web site and on social media, as well as presentation opportunities at the ACTION conference and other related events;
- Peer learning and networking, facilitated through workshops and online tools
Which organisations are partners of ACTION
ACTION is delivered by, King’s College London, Cefriel S.Cons.R.L., Dutch Butterfly Conservation, Dutch Research Institute for Transitions, Erasmus University Rotterdam, Forschungsverbund Berlin E.V., SINTEF AS, T6 Ecosystems srl, Universidad Complutense de Madrid and Universidad Politécnica de Madrid.
What is citizen science
ACTION takes an inclusive view on citizen science. We broadly follow the Green Paper on Citizen Science for Europe from January 2014, which defines it as:
“general public engagement in scientific research activities when citizens actively contribute to science either with their intellectual effort or surrounding knowledge or with their tools and resources”.
For us, the term covers a range of activities with different levels of participation, from data collection in projects led by trained scientists to co-designing research questions and policy to education and public engagement.
While inclusive, various types of relevant activities are not citizen science. For example: For us it is important that there is a scientific question and methodology, and that the activities are carried out by participating citizens. Citizen engagement should be inherent to the project and its goals.
What is it about
ACTION is seeking to partner with:
- ongoing citizen science projects looking for support, financial and otherwise, to grow and become sustainable;
- communities interested in co-designing research into pollution in any relevant discipline, from biodiversity and environmental sciences to astronomy and the humanities;
- organisations in the public, private and third sectors exploring the use of citizen science in their work. We are looking to fund and support established initiatives tackling one or more pollution challenges, which are primarily carried out online.
ACTION will provide funding for a six-month pilot, alongside dedicated acceleration activities, resources and tools to set up and run the pilot. In a series of workshops you will have the chance to co-design and try out the tools and work together with the ACTION team to tailor the support you need to achieve your goals. You will have access to a community of like-minded initiatives, tackling similar challenges and contributing to common aims.
How many calls will you have
When does the second call open
When does the second call close
How much funding is available
How many pilots will be funded
How do I apply
Follow the instructions from https://actionproject.eu/apply-2020
How do I know if I am eligible to apply
Can individuals apply to ACTION
Can consortia apply to ACTION
Can I submit more than one application for the same call
I am new to this kind of funding; is there any extra help available?
Does ACTION offer a pre-proposal check
Can I submit an application if I am already receiving funds from another public programme
Can I submit documents that are not in English
Can I submit an application if I already applied in the first call
Responsible research and innovation
Who keeps the IP
You will be the sole owner of the results and outcomes of your project, and all associated IP. However, we expect most proposals to follow an open approach, sharing results and experiences widely with the community. In addition, ACTION or the European Commission may ask you to present your work as part of our public relations and networking events, in order to showcase the benefits of the ACTION approach.
What happens with the data
For citizen science projects in which citizens will produce data to help with scientific inquiries, the application needs to include details about the way data will be managed during and after the pilot, including, if relevant, any GDPR concerns.
ACTION will prioritise applications that plan to follow an open approach in their work, including releasing data openly for sharing and reuse, using, where relevant, ACTION data management infrastructure.
Do I need to share everything openly
In addition, ACTION may require citizen science pilots funded through the programme to collect, manage and share data with the ACTION team. This may include the contributions of the citizens, as well as anonymised and/or aggregated data on citizen participation. Both are needed for the ACTION team to tailor their support, toolkit and resources to help the pilots in questions related to data quality, motivating participation, citizen empowerment, diversity, public engagement, and impact.
What about ethics
We expect applicants to outline their plans to ensure this in their proposal. In addition, ACTION will provide advice and support on dealing with these aspects throughout the accelerator.
How do you select applications
1. Eligibility checks: ACTION checks if eligibility criteria are met. Proposals considered not eligible will not proceed to step 2 of the evaluation process.
2. Reviews and shortlist: Eligible proposals will be evaluated by at least two reviewers.
3. Interview: Shortlisted applicants will be invited to a remote interview with an expert panel.
4. Decisions: After the interview, the panel will decide whether to accept the applicant into the programme.
When will I know if I’m shortlisted
What will the interview consist of
How many people can participate in the interview
Will I receive feedback
Applicants will receive comments from the reviewers for each section of their application
When will the interviews be
Can I reschedule the interview
When will I know if my application was approved/rejected
Can I change my application once submitted
Can I apply for both calls
Costs, payments and legal
What funding is available per pilot
What can I spend the funding on
The funding will be set at €20,000 and can be spent on salaries, equipment, consumables, travel, subcontracting to other entities, and indirect expenditure (calculated as 25% of the total direct costs), in accordance with Horizon 2020 guidelines.
More information on funding can be found in the Guide for applicant.
How are the payments scheduled
Funds will be transferred in two stages – 50% at the beginning of the project, and the remaining 50% at the end with the completion of activities, upon achievement of the milestones and deliverables agreed during negotiations.
Is subcontracting allowed
What do I have to do to receive the final payment
You will receive your final payment on the completion of the below activities:
● Attend training and co-design workshops;
● Provide a report outlining your activities at the end of the pilot;
● Provide a short video about your work to be shared on the ACTION website;
● Attend the graduation at the ACTION conference.
Where will the training take place
- An initial workshop will take place over several days between 11th and 15th January 2020, as part of the negotiation phase.
- Further training will be offered virtually, through dedicated software or through conference calls and VOIP services such as Skype.
When/where will the graduation conference take place
The conference will take place in autumn 2021, with an audience of approximately 150 persons representing practitioners, researchers, decision makers and representatives of the European Commission. All successful applicants should set aside a portion of their budget to attend it.
Should I account for training in my budget
- No. Due to ongoing travel restrictions, we plan to hold all trainings in the second accelerator online.
- We will hold a final conference at the end of the second round of the ACTION call, in 2021. During this event, pilots will be invited to share their findings and experiences of the ACTION accelerator. The exact details of this are to follow, but you should reserve some additional funding to attend this event.
- Please note – we regret that ACTION cannot offer further funding towards these travel costs.
I want to put up sensors in my area. Would that make a good project?
No. We have found in our first call that there are many projects based around sensors (for air quality or other types of pollution). Successful projects should be more novel and innovative. We recommend that you look at the successful pilots from our first call to get an idea of the type of project we are looking for.