The project leaves behind useful recommendations for including citizens in local R&I policies. 

The final event of the TRANSFORM project took place on 1 – 2 December. A concluding moment to share the project results at the European level and reflect on the themes and practices developed during the three years of activities. The conference, which was held in a hybrid format at the National Museum of Science and Technology “Leonardo da Vinci” in Milan and on the Zoom platform, featured international speakers, partners from three regional clusters (Lombardy, Brussels-Capital Region and Catalonia) and members of the Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI) community.

The full video of the day is available here.


Anna Berti Suman

Angela Simone, TRANSFORM Project Coordinator, Bassetti Foundation, opened the first day by giving an overview of the project, summarising its main phases and explaining how activities were reorganised following the Covid- 19 pandemic. 

The first keynote speech, given by Anna Berti Suman (JRC-EC Ispra), was dedicated to “Sensing for justice”, the project, which earned the researcher the Falling Walls Science Breakthrough of the Year 2022 – Section Civic Evidence of Environmental Harms award. Berti Suman introduced the topic of citizen science, especially in the environmental field, as a tool to collect information, provide scientific evidence in European courts and mediating legal disputes, since, Berti Suman emphasised, citizens not only have the right to access data but also to contribute to its production.


Lombardy regional clsuter

After the keynote, TRANSFORM moved to showcase the project results. The first session focused on the activities conducted by the Lombardy cluster. Angela Simone, as cluster leader, introduced the context, the actors and the objectives of the activities in Lombardy. Anna Pellizzone, TRANSFORM Project Manager (Bassetti Foundation) and involved in Lombardy actions, explained the two strands of activities carried out: a participatory research agenda setting exercise to define the needs of citizens in Lombardy region in the field of research and innovation (with a focus on the just energy transition), and a Citizens’ Jury in the field of responsible data-driven smart mobility. Silvia Corbetta, Finlombarda S.p.A., and Enza Cristofaro, Lombardy Region, then outlined the impact of the project on regional policies and shared their experiences and reflections on using this type of participatory and deliberative methodologies.

The second session was devoted to citizen science implemented in Catalonia. Introduced by Louise Francis, founder of Mapping for Change and member of the TRANSFORM Advisory Board for the Catalan cluster, who stressed that levels of participation in citizen science can be very diverse and the importance of considering the factors that can influence the project on a social, political and inclusiveness level. Then the members of the Catalan TRANSFORM cluster, led by Rosa Arias, (Science for Change), presented the activities developed during the three years of the project. Diana Reinoso, TRANSFORM Project Manager at Science for Change, spoke in particular about the pilot project on endometriosis carried out in collaboration with the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau and its patients, while Josep Perellò (Open Systems UB – Universitat de Barcelona) described the waste pilot in which high school students acted as protagonists in the development of an interactive “game” to collect opinions and suggestions from the local population on the issue of waste collection in Mollet del Valles. Finally, Sergio Martínez, from the Department of Economic Strategy of the Generalitat de Catalunya  highlighted the importance of the project as a learning moment with a view to preparing concrete actions, setting common goals and creating a common language between the population and the public administrations.

Catalonia regional cluster
Brussels-Capital regional cluster

Moving on to the third cluster, Marzia Mazzonetto, head of the Brussels-Capital cluster (BE Participation), introduced the TRANSFORM journey conducted through multi-stakeholder engagement and design thinking for social innovation. The cluster selected three pilot projects addressing circular economy issues, two linked to universities and one developed with the third sector and businesses. Joaquin Landazuri (UCLouvain) presented the “Algorella” pilot, the project developed by a group of students that aims to produce a healthy food made from waste and based onvitamin B12. The results collected through this pathway suggested indications of citizens’ habits, attitudes and opinions on this type of product, helping innovators in further development. Maité Debry (BE Participation) introduced the Unsold food pilot ì, an experience that allowed associations, citizens, private companies, researchers and local public authorities to address the issue of unsold food management, demonstrating how participatory activities can prove helpful in finding common solutions, even in conflictual contexts. Finally, Jérémy Levin (Innoviris) presented the results that emerged from the activities and how Innoviris intends to use them in its policy and R&I support actions in the Brussels-Capital Region.

The experiences of the three European TRANSFORM regions were further enriched by dialogue with the citizen engagement activities carried out by the Museum of Science in Boston within the project “Building Capacity for Co-Created Public Engagement with Science (CC-PES). David Sittenfeld presented the project together with Max Cawley, who reported on the experience developed at the Museum of Life & Science in Durham, North Carolina (CC-PES).

The first day concluded with a dialogue between Giulia Bubbolini (Center for Innovation and Economic Development – CISE), one of the experts on the Advisory Board of TRANSFORM, and Roger Strand from the University of Bergen, who leads the project’s monitoring and evaluation activities. Bubbolini and Strand reflected on the importance of the local impact of these experiences, related to the process developed in each region, and not just the metrics that can be difficult to measure in these types of RRI processes.


At the beginning of the second day of the conference, Angela Simone presented project tools that can be used by regional policymakers to integrate citizen engagement practices among their activities. Executive Summaries of the three Roadmaps developed by TRANSFORM are available at this link, as well as the project’s e-book, with contents and links to in-depth information that summarises the journey over the past 36 months.

Marzia Mazzonetto then presented how experiences were shared among the different clusters, in a continuous process of mutual learning on tested methodologies, activities and challenges. The next session allowed for a discussion between some stakeholders who participated in the project (especially in the Belgian and Catalan clusters, whose methodologies required the involvement of stakeholders other than citizens), including Elisa Llurba i Olivé, Director of the Gynaecological Area at the Hospital de la Santa Creu i Sant Pau who was the first to propose the pilot project on endometriosis in Catalonia, María Busquets from the Municipality of Mollet del Vallès, who was involved in the pilot project on waste management, Alain Boribon (Co-founder of Citizenfund and RECYCLO. coop) and Ludovic Libert from HappyHours Market, involved in the pilot project on the management of unsold food in the Brussels-Capital Region.

The conference closed with a final panel discussion with relevant speakers presenting examples of citizen and stakeholder engagement in research and innovation policies at the European level, but with a territorial focus, and discussed how TRANSFORM and its experiences can be included in or inspire their pathways. Anna Renkamp gave an overview of the Future of Europe Conference and the role of regions and cities in this context, bringing the experience of capacity building and support for local citizen participation processes, a joint project of the Bertelsmann Stiftung Foundation with the Committee of the Regions.  Francesco Amodeo from DG Regio shared experiences of citizen engagement promoted by the European Commission in the context of cohesion policy, including the DG Regio-OECD collaboration “Engaging citizens in cohesion policy” on how to engage citizens in decision-making processes for policy making ì, and the EUTeens4Green project, which has launched a call to promote the participation of youth from different European regions in the just energy transition (Deadline: 9 January 2023). Ryan Titley, from the European Regions Research and Innovation Network (ERRIN), spoke about the role of collaboration among quadruple-helix actors in European Missions, starting with some of the initiatives ERRIN is involved in, including the EU H2020 project NetZeroCities, which supports more than 100 cities involved in the #Cities Mission, the EU H2020 MOSAIC project, and the CrAFt (Creating Actionable Futures) platform. Finally, Ramojous Reimeris from the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre in Seville spoke about Partnerships for Regional Innovation (PRI), a pilot process and potential successor to S3, and mentioned some of the tools, including the recently published “Partnerships for Regional Innovation Playbook”, and the Open Discovery Process, which broadens the spectrum of stakeholders to be involved in shaping the Plan, including citizens.

Participants’ contributions, in person and online, enriched the discussion and shared different experiences on the topic. The event marked the end of a three-year journey to accompany and guide local governments in the three participating regions towards increasingly inclusive, transparent, and democratic innovation. The experiences gained and the tools left behind by TRANSFORM will be available to decision-makers to help them integrate the voices of citizens and different R&I stakeholders into their policies and strategies on research and innovation.



Photo by REVOLT on Unsplash


Privacy and accessibility among priority issues according to TRANSFORM’s Citizens’ Jury. 

On Saturday, June 25, EU-funded project TRANSFORM concluded the participatory process to collect recommendations from citizens living in Lombardy on the topic of smart and responsible mobility.

The Citizens’ Jury, composed of a total of 24 people, took place over two days. At the end of the second day, participants were able to present their suggestions on data-driven Smart Mobility, delivering the final recommendations directly to representatives of the Lombardy Region.

The Jury, organised by Bassetti Foundation, which is also coordinating the entire TRANSFORM project, opened with an information phase with experts, which took place on June 11, and allowed citizens to gain more knowledge about both technological aspects and ethical and social issues that can arise when it comes to data-driven mobility services. Two weeks later, the Jurors met again and were invited to think collaboratively about issues related to responsible mobility and, from these, to develop concrete recommendations for regional decision makers.

The discussion phase on responsibility aspects related to Smart Mobility took place in small groups and plenary sessions, accompanied by professional facilitators. The results of the discussion among the groups of participants identified six main issues: privacy, profiling (automated collection and processing of personal data), territorial inclusivity and inclusivity for disadvantaged groups, affordability and digital accessibility, accessibility to information about the existence and operation of services, and security, also understood as cybersecurity.

From the considerations that emerged, the second part of the meeting served to elaborate and refine the recommendations, defining their “objectives” and “measures” to be put into practice.

Lombardy region

The final recommendations were unanimously approved by the Jurors, who at the end of the process showed great satisfaction with their involvement in the deliberative process, stating that they appreciated the opportunity to express their voice and feel active as citizens, in an area that directly affects them such as land use planning and related services.

The recommendations were taken on board by the Lombardy Region, which will take them into account in the planning and implementation of its actions within the regional Smart Mobility programs.


Photo by Polina Chistyakova from Pexels.

The ideas and recommendations gathered during the event contributed to the definition of Regione Lombardia’s strategic plan.


After the survey conducted in April 2021, the citizen engagement activities carried out within the TRANSFORM project continued with the organisation and testing of an online deliberative workshop. The event took place on the Zoom platform on 29 May and involved 18 Lombardy residents. This methodology, which has been widely applied in various countries and on various issues, consists of a meeting in which a small group of people is asked to express their opinions in an extensive manner on a specific topic. The deliberative workshop follows a structured dialogue format and begins with an information and learning phase.

For an in-depth look at participatory methodologies and their application in Europe, click here to download the OECD report “Innovative Citizen Participation and New Democratic Institutions: Catching the Deliberative Wave”.


The theme of the TRANSFORM workshop, the Just Energy Transition for All, was selected by the project partners based on the citizens’ interests and needs that emerged from the survey – the first step of the participatory process – and allowed the topic of sustainability to be explored in all its dimensions, including the social one. With the support of an agency specialised in this type of activity, the citizens that were called to participate in the workshop were selected in a balanced way considering gender, age group and province of residence. The discussion, which was moderated by professional facilitators, was structured and divided into plenary sessions (with the full group of 18 participants) and moments of dialogue in smaller subgroups (each with 6 participants).

The workshop opened with an informative phase, during which the theme of energy transition was introduced via a video interview with Nicola Armaroli, who is the Research Director of the Italian National Research Council in Bologna, one of the most-cited Italian experts in the international literature on this topic. Afterwards, Luca Donelli, President of the Lombardy Energy Cleantech Cluster (LE2C), spoke in an online session, illustrating through a presentation the technological solutions and lines of research that can be introduced to facilitate the energy transition, focusing in particular on the initiatives and strategy in place at regional level. The expert then remained at the participants’ disposal to answer their questions and interests (e.g. on the future prospects of hydrogen).

In the discussion concerning the actions to be taken to start the energy transition in Lombardy, the citizens identified 10 macro-areas, of which 3 were designated as priorities:

  • education, training and job innovation;
  • better services and green incentives for housing (public and private);
  • and digitalisation of PA.

For each selected macro-area, they then analysed issues and opportunities related to “social justice”: the need to retrain workers engaged in non-renewable energy chains, as well as opportunities for new green jobs; difficulties in providing information and accessing existing incentives, and; problems related to the digital divide and especially the digital literacy of the older population.

Finally, participants produced a set of recommendations in the three priority areas discussed, aiming to facilitate the training or retraining of professionals, to address and solve the complexity of the mechanisms related to the use of incentives in order to render them more accessible and to support the needs of the older population in using digital services.

deliberation workshop Italy

The event was a success. The considerations and ideas that emerged during the participatory event provided Lombardy Region and Finlombarda with useful elements for writing the 2021-2023 Strategic Programme for research, innovation and technological transfer (STP), which was approved on 19 October.

Moreover, in the evaluation questionnaires filled out following the close of the event, the participants expressed great satisfaction, both for the format of the deliberative workshop and “the innovative opportunity that the Lombardy Region has given citizens to express their opinion on an important issue such as sustainability and ecological transition”, confirming the positive effects of this type of initiative on the relationship between citizens and public institutions.

Click here to download the workshop report.

EU flag This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 872687. This website reflects only the authors' view and the REA and the EC are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information it contains.
Project Coordinator: Angela Simone Fondazione Giannino Bassetti angela.simone@fondazionebassetti.org
contact: info@transform-project.eu