Boosting inclusiveness of ICT-enabled research and innovation

Specific Challenge

The deployment of information and communication technologies induces changes that impact individuals, societies and the environment in profound and pervasive ways. Harnessing the expertise of social sciences and humanities (SSH) in ICT-related research and innovation is key to contribute, notably, to cohesion, fairness, and inclusiveness. Although the need for a constructive, reflective and critical interactions between social sciences and humanities, on the one hand, and technological disciplines, on the other hand, is widely acknowledged, it is a challenge to make it happen and ensure that insights and innovation stemming from both perspectives join up in order to deliver inclusive ICT-enabled innovation. It calls for a smart approach to multiple disciplinarity that combines different tools and relies on the dynamic uptake of social sciences and humanities' perspectives. With this in mind, a structured distributed approach to the mainstreaming of social sciences and humanities across all topics aiming at ICT-related research and innovation has been set up. This approach strives to nurture a horizontal and mutually enriching relationship between SSH and ICT communities. For responsible and inclusive innovation to come true, one has to move beyond a reactive and risk-based approach, and encourage ongoing critical accompaniment of this innovation, rather than seeking mere acceptance of technological artefacts. This expands the remit of what is expected from SSH expertise. Instead of being confined in a "watchdog" or an "airbag" role for S&T developments, SSH is itself a source of innovation.


This topic calls for the coordination and support action that will bring life to the distributed and structured approach designed to ensure a responsible approach to research and innovation thought the uptake of SSH expertise across all H2020 areas leading to ICT-related innovation. It should act as a "hub" and activate the constructive interactions of SSH research with the ICT-related projects across H2020.

The purpose of the hub is to stimulate responsible and inclusive ICT research and innovation by encouraging the uptake of the SSH expertise in ICT-related projects and by coordinating and supporting the embedded expertise within the H2020-funded ICT-related projects, as well as linking these H-2020 projects with the relevant SSH expertise and initiatives both in Europe and in the world, to ensure that this important knowledge basis is fed into the H2020-funded ICT related research and innovation. The coordination and support action is expected to generate in a collaborative way a shared understanding what it takes for ICT research and innovation to be responsible and inclusive, and to make it happen.

In terms of coordination efforts, the hub is expected to ensure an active dialogue and the sharing of experience among ICT developers, SSH researchers and other stakeholders (NGOs, citizens and users e.g.) across H2020 ICT-related projects. It is also expected to channel the fruits of this dialogue into discussions with policymakers, into the shaping of future research agendas, and into a reflexive assessment of the SSH research practice in the remit of the digital transition.

In terms of its supporting function, the hub will catalyse information sharing about activities in Europe that are enhancing responsible and inclusive approaches to ICT-related research and innovation. Drawing on ongoing developments, it will provide tools and advice for fostering responsibility and inclusiveness of ICT research and innovation. It will support the visibility of the relevant activities through sustained communication efforts (annual conferences, awareness raising, interactive web-based platform e.g.). It will encourage debates on the challenges raised by hyper connectivity and support experimental activities in interactive labs to stimulate reflection on cutting-edge issues.

The Commission will select one proposal only and considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. This does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact:

  • Improved level and efficacy of the interaction between SSH and ICT disciplines with a view to harnessing ICT-related innovation for reversing inequalities and contributing to responsible and inclusive innovation processes through SSH expertise;
  • Improved take-up of societal concerns in ICT-related research and innovation;
  • Increased worldwide visibility and influence of a European community with a shared vision for inclusive ICT research and innovation;
  • The proposals themselves are expected to identify key measurable success indicators –to be further framed in the course of the project- that measure impact in community building and engagement, and uptake of inclusive responsible ICT research and innovation approaches within and beyond the consortium.

Delegation Exception Footnote

This activity directly aimed at supporting the development and implementation of evidence base for R&I policies and supporting various groups of stakeholders. It is excluded from the delegation to Research Executive Agency and will be implemented by the Commission services.

Cross-cutting Priorities

Socio-economic science and humanities

Application date
Social sciences
Other : Computer science