About the ACTION process
ACTION used cascading funding: A technique to redistribute funding to third party organisations who would be unable to apply for it at its source (in this case, the European Commission). Our pilots were mostly hosted by NGOs, but also other kinds of institutions, such as universities.
Our open calls – the way we allocated the cascading funding – followed this structure:
- Preparation: At the start, the requirements of the call were identified, call documentation (such as applicant guides and application forms) prepared, and an application submission system set up. The call outline and selection criteria are based on the goals and details described in the projects’ Grant Agreement – and therefore the source of our own funding.
- Call: Running the call is an intense period of 2-3 months in which applications are written and submitted, and applicants are supported, e.g. through webinars or email.
- Evaluation: Once the call closes, applications are screened for eligibility, and eligible applications reviewed by experts. Our review panel scored all applications, and a shortlist for interviews was drawn up based on these evaluations. A final selection was made by the consortium following the interviews.
- Negotiation: Each selected applicant was allocated a mentor, who supported them henceforth. They all created a work plan and budget outline for the duration of the six month programme, and finally signed a contract to formalise their participation in the programme.
An indicative timeline from the second open call run in the ACTION project in 2020 is provided in Fig 1. below.
Fig. 1: Process overview of the second ACTION open call in 2020.
Once successful applicants have been selected and their work programme agreed, they join the ACTION accelerator. The ACTION accelerator methodology is developed in response to working closely with ACTION’s citizen science projects, both those recruited through an open call, and with case study projects who have been with us from the beginning. We have refined and promoted the adoption of best practice in participatory research.
The accelerator provides the projects with an intensive support programme, including mentorship, access to expertise, bespoke consultancy and training in engagement, data science, inclusion and participation. In addition the projects become part of a network of practice in participatory research, are provided with bespoke consultancy and participate in peer-to-peer learning.