Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


STEP Report Summary

Project ID: 649493
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.6.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - STEP (Societal and political engagement of young people in environmental issues)

Reporting period: 2015-06-01 to 2016-05-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

The overall objective of the project is to develop and pilot test a cloud eParticipation SaaS platform, (available as a mobile application and through a web platform) enhanced with web / social media mining, gamification, machine translation, and visualisation features, which will promote the societal and political participation of young people in the decision-making process on environmental issues.
The main component of STEP will be an eParticipation platform which will facilitate the interaction between end users (policy makers and young people), combining trend spotting and foresight with idea creation and innovation management, and will enable policy makers to analyse and discover new insights, based on well proven analytical methods. The STEP eParticipation platform will incorporate gamification features which will increase the engagement of young users, and text-to-speech technology.
STEP will be enhanced by:
- A social media / web mining component that will present users with enriched information from emerging topics, relevant to the content of the platform they are visiting, that is currently trending in social media and the web.
- A machine translation component that will enable users to view all information available in the platform (user input, social media / web feeds, reports, etc.) in their own language.
- A visualisation component that will present the external content in a visually stimulating way, and will help policy makers to identify the spatial distribution of use contributed content, the origin of certain trends and their evolution over time.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The STEP project implementation started with mapping the decision making procedures (in general, and in particular on environmental issues) at European level, as well as at local level (in the STEP pilot municipalities/regions). User needs and technical requirements for the STEP platform have been identified. A co-production process in in progress, in which workshops are being conducted with the participation of young people and policy makers (approximately 120 people involved so far). A comprehensive set of guidelines on ethical and legal issues that may arise during the project, as well as the technical approach that STEP Platform needs to adopt, has been developed.
On the technical side, the system architecture and integration framework have been set up, and localization specifications have been implemented according to pilot requirements. The STEP platform and its components are under development, and internal testing is carried out for the components which have already been developed.
Youth motivation strategies have been defined through the conduction of a Digital Cultural Probe, which allowed investigating how young people perceive and engage with environmental issues. The demographics of young social network users have been studied, as well as their current attitudes regarding environmental issues. A detailed revision of e-Participation case studies in Europe and worldwide has also been accomplished in order to glean insights with respect to the most effective practices that are typically followed in environment-oriented campaigns. The initial version of STEP social media monitoring tool has been deployed. For each pilot case, as well as at a pan-European level, relevant topics, keywords, social media pages and accounts have been used to create initial content collections tailored around the pilot area and around dominant environmental topics at the European level.
The project dissemination strategy has been set up, including specialised Local Dissemination Strategies for each pilot area. A dissemination pack has been set up, and the Network of Interest has been formed. Dissemination activities have taken place, such as the participation of project partners in events, developing and updating the project website, distributing dissemination material, social media campaigns, etc.
A market assessment has been performed at European level, as well as for the countries where STEP is piloting its solution (Greece, Italy, Spain and Turkey). Potential competitors have been identified. The exploitation vision of the project and the IPR strategy have been defined.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

STEP introduces novel methods and approaches for an integrated framework for the participation of young people in environmental decision-making. It will be a personalised service, which will provide information to young people based on their profile and preferences. STEP will aggregate information from multiple sources on opportunities to participate in environmental decisions, through a web and social media mining tool. Information in other languages will also be made available, through the STEP machine translation tool, which will foster cross-border interaction.

Through the use of the preferred communication channel of the young (social media), their engagement in public administrations' activities and decision-making processes is expected to increase their trust and interest in political activities. In addition, through the development of reusable components, public authorities throughout the Union will be able to quickly offer tools to their citizens to participate in the decision-making process.
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