The COESO project (Collaborative Engagement on Societal Issues) kicked-off on 19/20 January 2021. The 3-year participatory research project, funded by the European Commission through a Science with and for Society grant, and  supported by the OPERAS research infrastructure. It will serve as a meeting point between various European communities: the social sciences and humanities community, the citizen science community, as well as the open scholarly communication community. It will thus contribute to overcoming the obstacles that hinder the development of citizen science in the social sciences and humanities and facilitate and support participatory research through a service-first approach.The project will develop a Virtual Ecosystem for Research Activation (VERA), a collaboratory place for knowledge production and sharing, and will collaborate with research funding organizations to enhance financial support to citizen science. As a bridging endeavour, COESO will take stock from existing communities such as and EU-Citizen.Science. It will moreover explore the frontiers of innovation in the social sciences and humanities’ public engagement through mutual learning and transmedia writing. Furthermore, to measure the quality of collaboration between researchers and citizens, COESO will design cooperation analytics.

At the heart of the project are ten citizen science pilots, representing a variety of social sciences and arts disciplines, societal challenges and types of engagement with citizens in different European countries. They address specific societal issues: mass tourism, education and gender, resilient societies, fight against crime, societal changes and migrations. Five pilots have already been built-in:

Pilot 1–Mass tourism and urban transformations

CRIA, a research laboratory in social anthropology, and ZERO, a local NGO for the promotion of sustainable development, both based in Lisbon, will carry out a project on the effects of tourism development on the transformation of the daily uses of urban space of their city. Their collaboration will serve as a reflection for social sciences and humanities researchers on how to engage with activism.

Pilot 2–Dancing Philosophy: Desire through dance and philosophy

The aim of this pilot involving the dance company Cadmium Compagnie and two researchers based at UPHF is two-fold: it will contribute to an artistic project through intensive collaboration between an artist and a philosopher, and enhances the possibility for both a specialistic and a non-specialist audience to access and read choreographies by making choreographic Laban notation available on MemoRekall, a specific tool for documentation, preservation and analysis of performing arts. The challenge is to design new inclusive and multidimensional research methodologies.

Pilot 3–Social evolutions through the common reuse of properties confiscated to mafias

The main objective of this pilot, led by Cafébabel in collaboration with researchers from the Crim’HALT association, is to develop an appropriate Solutions Journalism methodology. It seeks to explore, through a diversity of media formats, the building and the impact of positive actions, such as the development of a framework for social re-use of confiscated assets in Italy. It will also serve as a reflection for social sciences and humanities researchers on new ways to understand and define the role of civil society in promoting good governance and the economic aspect of policies.

Pilot 4–Accessibility and appropriability of tools and databases for journalists

The cooperation between IRPI and Crime & Tech aims to provide investigative journalists with instruments for better analyzing the risks of corruption, collusion and inequality within complex and opaque corporate structures and thus conduct more effective investigations. Their collaboration will focus on how to foster investigative reporting’s impact and how to build a sustainable framework for sharing sensitive data.

Pilot 5–Growing Migrant Knowledge: Contemporary and historical perspectives

Coordinated by MWS–GHI West, this pilot looks at how to engage with citizens and practitioners from different fields of civil society, bringing together a historical and comparative perspective. On the one hand, citizen scientists will work with researchers on a digital collection of correspondence sent from German-speaking areas to families and friends who migrated across the Atlantic. On the other hand, a wide range of actors beyond the academic realm, i.e. socio-economic actors such as experts from governmental sectors and NGOs as well as activists of different backgrounds, will be engaged with researchers on the issues of contemporary migration.

COESO project partners:

COESO work packages:

  • WP1–Project Coordination and Management
  • WP2–Pilots implementation and Open Call
  • WP3–Development of the Virtual Ecosystem for Research Activation (VERA)
  • WP4–Funding Citizen Science
  • WP5–Cooperation quality assessment
  • WP6–Enhancing Public Engagement in Citizen Science through transmedia writing and mutual learning
  • WP7–Communication and Dissemination

For further information check the COESO website, please don’t hesitate to contact Alessia Smaniotto (alessia.smaniotto[a] and Pierre Mounier (pierre.mounier[a]


This project receives funding from the European Union‘s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 101006325.

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