CAPS 2015: collective awareness platforms and social innovation

On 7-8th July Brussels hosted the annual event on collective awareness raising platforms – CAPS 2015. The conference brought together existing CAPS projects and potential applicants to network and better understand the CAPS concept and social innovation in general.

Networked social responsibility

The topic of this year’s CAPS event was networked social responsibility. CAPS 2015 was an interactive event with un-conferences, workshops, seminars, hands-on sessions, and demos allowing exchanges between running CAPS projects, EC policy-makers, grassroots and all other CAPS stakeholders. Open policy making, the transition from the IoT to the Internet of Communities, Building Networks for Good or the bottom-up approach in EU programmes were some of the topics. A dedicated panel of EC officials from different departments shed some more light on the EC priorities. For those interested in social innovation, DG GROWTH has created the platform Social Innovation Europe.

What is in it for telecentres?

As a community of digital inclusion organisations, Telecentre Europe was interested in CAPS both as an opportunity to further strengthen its network, and as a possible tool for our members to realise their ideas. We attended the conference to learn more about the current projects, EU developments in the field of social innovation, and the CAPS call itself. We were very happy to see some of our members there as well, such as Fondazione Mondo Digitale from Italy.

What is CAPS?

CAPS or Collective Awareness platforms are open, non-commercial platforms meant to connect citizens and ideas for social innovation, taking advantage of the collective intelligence and action to address sustainability challenges. In other words, CAPS are online spaces where individuals with common interests share their ideas and resources for the common good.

CAPS is one of the topics of the EU research and innovation funding programmes. The first CAPS projects were financed by the 7th Framework programme in 2013 and now CAPS is continued with Horizon 2020. Every year under Horizon 2020 the EU launches a CAPS call for proposals under the Information and Communication Technologies priority.

The CAPS call

An interesting thing to know about the CAPS call is that because the CAPS idea is so broad, every year the focus of the call is different. If in previous calls the EC funded projects for processing of big data and making use of statistics, this year it was looking for existing communities of social innovators who would like to use technology to scale up. Once the selection of this year’s proposals is done, the EC will make all applications public. 

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