Proposals should connect EU citizens and local communities with the ocean, seas and waters, facilitate broad ownership and education and co-design the transitions within the communities that will allow the European Green Deal targets to be reached.
Proposals should also help to create a stronger emotional connection between society and aquatic ecosystems and collective responsibility, as well as elicit interest in taking action. To change hearts as well as minds, proposals should develop communication actions to inspire awe and wonder, and connect with the things people deeply value. Actions should seek to address the emotional connection, rather than simply attempting to ‘plug’ the knowledge gap.
Proposals should empower and activate citizens, in particular young people, to take action, promote the practice of social innovation and ocean and water citizen stewardship, where appropriate and possible involving the voluntary European Solidarity Corps. They should leverage social innovation throughout the co-design, co-development, co-implementation, and co-monitoring of solutions for sustainable use of the ocean and waters. To promote better public understanding and engagement, the project will support education and training activities, and launch regular citizen science campaigns together with the Member States and Associated countries, building on and enhancing the EU’s work to date on ocean literacy. To create stronger public connection and engagement with the ocean and waters, the Mission will draw on the power of arts, media and culture.
Proposals should identify and pilot best practices in citizen science to restore our ocean and waters and how to upscale them across the Member States and Associated Countries. The data collected should support the monitoring requirements under the Water Framework Directive and Marine Strategy Framework Directive and follow their specific monitoring guidelines. Collected data should be made accessible across Member States and Associated Countries.
Activities should include the development of standardised protocols and standardised testing procedures for citizen reporting, as well as locally relevant programmes to demonstrate their application.
The projects should feed data and knowledge to the Digital Twin Ocean and EMODnet and be designed and predispose a data layer fed by citizens’ observations to allow for a transfer of scientific findings to policy making at the EU, national and sub-national level.
Proposals should contribute to an increasing understanding about the following issues:
• Effectiveness of citizen science for participatory research and innovation;
• Impact of citizen science campaigns on citizens’ behaviour and knowledge and their relation with the ocean and waters;
• potential contributions of specific stakeholders, such as fishermen, sailors, recreational divers, etc.
Differences in gendered behaviour around ecologically conscious and sustainable practices should equally be taken into account and addressed, where appropriate.
Proposals should build on activities implemented by the EU sea basin strategies Atlantic Action Plan 2.0, WestMed Initiative and the Common Maritime Agenda for the Black Sea and respective priorities on Ocean literacy, including those promoted by the Blue Schools initiative. They should create links with macro regional strategies and in particular with their pillars dealing with aquatic environments.
Projects funded under this topic are strongly encouraged to participate in networking and joint activities with other projects funded under other topics in the Mission Ocean, seas and waters as well as in other relevant Missions, as appropriate. These networking and joint activities could, for example, involve the participation in joint workshops, the exchange of knowledge, the development and adoption of best practices, or joint communication activities. Of particular importance in this context is topic HORIZON-MISS-2021-CLIMA-02-05: “Local engagement of citizens in the co-creation of societal transformational change for climate resilience”.
To this extent, proposals should provide for dedicated activities and earmark appropriate resources.
Project results are expected to contribute to all of the following expected outcomes:
• Up scaled and continued excellent citizens science initiatives particularly targeting young people in all EU Member States and Associated Countries;
• Increased citizen awareness about the challenges faced by the ocean and waters;
• Mobilised and empowered citizens to take actions to improve the monitoring of the health of the ocean and waters and to act against pollution;
• Promoted digital applications and testing kits enabling citizens to collect data and observations;
• Promoted (digital) data collection and participatory research involving citizens for the monitoring and restoration of ocean and waters;
• Standardised protocols, standardised testing procedures for citizen reporting, and locally-relevant programmes;
• Contribution made to a special data layer for data provided by citizens, including real-time recordings of discharges and levels of pollutants and litter for different sites, to be harmonised and made publicly available through EMODnet and hence the European Digital Twin Ocean, and aligned with the Destination Earth initiative of the Digital Europe programme.
Link with CMA Goals
Goal II: A competitive, innovative and sustainable blue economy for the Black Sea / Priority 3: Promote blue skills and blue careers as an engine for innovation and competitiveness