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Science with and for Society

The current Science with and for Society (SwafS) Work Programme 2018-2020 can be found here.

The aim of this programme is to build effective cooperation and develop new and innovative ways of connecting science with society. The programme seeks to recruit new talent from all sectors by making science more attractive, above all to early career researchers. SwafS activities will raise awareness and incite societal interest in science and innovation by encouraging all actors, including researchers, citizens, business and civil society organisations, to work together throughout the research and innovation process.

The 2018 call for topics opened on 5th December 2017 with a deadline of 10th April 2018. The 2019 call for topics will open on 11th December 2018 with a deadline of 2nd April 2019. Please note that there may be modifications to the above dates and applicants are advised to check the Work Programme and Participant Portal for further details.

For certain projects SwafS requires that stakeholders from multiple sectors establish consortia. Generic minimum consortium requirements will be listed in the work programme and any specific individual topic requirements will be given in the topic description.

A proposal will only be considered eligible if it complies with the eligibility conditions for participation below, depending on the type of action. Further details on eligibility can be found in the General Annexes for Horizon 2020.

The SwafS Call 2018-2020 is structured around five strategic orientations:

Strategic orientation 1. Accelerating and catalysing processes of institutional change

This will contribute to the implementation of Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) through institutional governance changes in Research Funding and Performing Organisations (RFPOs). Results should contribute to European Research Area priorities, greater involvement of all stakeholders and sustainable engagement with society.

Strategic orientation 2. Stepping up support to Gender Equality in Research & Innovation policy

Gender Equality Plans are the main policy instruments promoted through the European Research Area (ERA) to advance gender equality in research organisations and universities. Following the uptake of the gender dimension in Horizon 2020, it is time to take stock of what has been done so far and design the next steps in terms of process and knowledge. This will enhance the societal relevance of knowledge, technologies and innovations and contribute to the production of goods and services better suited to potential markets.

Strategic orientation 3. Building the territorial dimension of SwafS partnerships

SwafS will encourage partnerships between education institutions, science museums and centres, public authorities, businesses and civil society organisations. Ways of opening up research and innovation broadly to society will be developed, thus ensuring the involvement of all people, irrespective of their age, gender, ethnicity and socio-economic background.

Strategic orientation 4. Exploring and supporting citizen science

SwafS will focus on the meanings, mechanisms and challenges facing citizen science, learning from ongoing experiences and innovative grassroots initiatives. Potential aspects to explore include how citizen science can act as a catalyst to develop scientific skills and competences, act as a tool for informal and formal science education, counter perceived anti-intellectual attitudes in society, raise scientific literacy and promote social inclusion and employability.

Strategic orientation 5. Building the knowledge base for SwafS

SwafS will examine how societal actors understand, react to and interact with science and their motives for engaging in science-related activities. This includes investigating science communication and science advocacy in the digital world and will include a focus on blind spots of research and innovation in relation to people's needs and concerns.

Responsible Research and Innovation

Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) is an important cross-cutting issue in Horizon 2020.

The Directorate-General for Research and Innovation of the European Commission (DG RTD) seeks to bridge the gap between the scientific community and wider society. Future societal challenges will have a better chance of being addressed effectively if all societal actors participate in the co-construction of innovative solutions, products and services. RRI means that societal actors work together throughout the whole research and innovation cycle to better align both the process and its outcomes with the values, needs and expectations of European society. RRI is an ambitious challenge for the creation of a research and innovation policy driven by the needs of society and engaging all societal actors through participatory approaches. Further information on RRI can be found here.

The following five RRI action lines are promoted by the Science with and for Society programme of Horizon 2020:

  • Ethics - Ethical research conduct implies the application of fundamental ethical principles and legislation to scientific research in all possible domains of research – for example biomedical research, nature sciences, social sciences and humanities.
  • Gender – The SwafS Work Programme supports research organisations to implement gender equality plans and integrate a gender dimension in their research content.
  • Open Science – Open Science enables easier access to scientific results. This includes taking into consideration IT-infrastructure, intellectual property rights, content-mining and alternative metrics, but also inter-institutional, inter-disciplinary and international collaboration among all actors in research and innovation.
  • Public Engagement - Public engagement is about co-creation of research with citizens, by involving a diverse range of actors that would not normally interact with each other.
  • Science Education - Innovative formal and informal science education teaching and learning will raise awareness of the different aspects encompassing science and technology in today's society and address the challenges faced by young people when pursuing careers in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM).

In addition to the action lines above, RRI promotes institutional change to foster the uptake of RRI by stakeholders and institutions, with the intention of improved science governance.

Further Information

Advice, information and guidance for participants and potential participants is offered by email, phone or in person. This includes issues such as eligibility advice, generic application help and assistance in use of the relevant areas within the participant portal. Please email for assistance.


  • Siân Summerton
    UK National Contact Point (NCP) for Science with and for Society
    Telephone: +44 (0) 1793 444012
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