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F1. Clarify the purpose of funding CSO participation

The inclusion of CSOs in research is an expression of policy goals. Funders have the task of ensuring that such goals are met in practice. In order to achieve this, it is important that the different types of stakeholders understand the goals, the different mechanisms of engagement and their potential outcomes, both positive and negative.

There are many potential reasons for involving CSOs in research. Where CSO participation is required, funders should clarify what the purpose of this participation is and how it can be evaluated. Contributors to the research, including researchers and CSO members, need to understand what is required of them in order to be able to position themselves accordingly. A clear understanding of the purpose of participation of CSOs is furthermore a necessary condition for a successful evaluation of this participation.

Funders have the resources to contribute to such awareness raising, for example by:
  • making researchers aware of the potential benefits and disadvantages of CSO involvement
  • running events that highlight the opportunities for CSOs
  • providing information specifically relevant for the needs of CSOs
  • ensuring better visibility of funding opportunities - it was felt that CSOs are often unaware of funded research opportunities.

Guiding Questions

Funders who are considering encouraging the involvement of CSOs in research projects should consider:
  • What is the purpose of requiring CSOs to be involved in this research; what is intended to be achieved as a result?
  • Do the necessary collaborations already exist or will they need to be set up as part of this research?
  • Is it necessary to actively encourage participation by groups outside the community of 'usual' EU funding applicants, for example to attract smaller civil society groups or those with specialist interests?
  • Is sufficient emphasis placed on encouraging strong team development and building trust between consortium members, especially CSOs and researchers?
  • What are the expectations around evaluating the success of the CSO involvement? Is this explicit within the funding call?

Example: <<specific title>>

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