Posted: 12/03/21

A new €3 million EU funded Horizon2020 project examining the areas of participation and deliberation in democracies and how these can be supported is underway with partner institutions across Europe including leading research centres FuJo and ADAPT at DCU. 

The EUCom Meet project “Developing Participatory Spaces using a Multi-stage, Multi-level, Multi-mode, Multilingual, Dynamic Deliberative approach - M 4 D 2 ” involves a consortium of leading academic experts and interdisciplinary organisations with vast experience in the design, management and analysis of deliberative and participatory practices. It is led by the University of Sienna (Italy).

The project will explore the conditions under which deliberation and participation in democractic processes can help to reduce polarisation, encourage inclusiveness, strengthen European identity and also narrow the representative gap between policymakers and citizens. 

DCU Professor Jane Suiter, School of Communications and Director of FuJo, is lead researcher on the importance of emotions and their significance while Professor Andy Way, School of Computing and Deputy Director, ADAPT, will lead on the integration of innovative technologies related to automated moderation and translation in multiple languages.

Researchers highlight that although there has been an increase in scientific understanding of participatory and deliberative processes, and interest in the potential of these practices, much work remains in regards to understanding and evaluating their impact on citizens, policy outcomes and decision-makers. 

Speaking about the project, Prof Jane Suiter said:  “There is a good deal of potential in deliberative and participative processes as Ireland has amply demonstrated with the very successful citizens’ assembly model. But there is much we still don't know. The team at DCU will examine whether these processes can help make people more reflective while countering disinformation.” 

The project will implement a number of actions including a proactive research strategy to understand the strengths and weaknesses of current deliberation practices; design and pilot novel Participatory Spaces including citizens, policy makers and stakeholders from across Europe and the integration of innovative technologies related to automated moderation and translation in multiple languages.

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