Citizen engagement: how can we move from ad hoc consultations to long-lasting partnerships for R&I?

Outkine of the programme of the event: Every voice counts. Held online on March 18th.

In the framework of the “Conference on the Future of Europe”, on the 18th of March 2022, CHERRIES project organised an online event aimed at shaping recommendations on how to best involve citizens in the R&I processes: “Every voice counts. The role of citizens in shaping European R&I.”

The aim of the event “Every voice counts. The role of citizens in shaping European R&I.” was to highlight the importance of citizen engagement in RRI and to discuss different ways to foster their participation and involvement in this kind of processes.

Responsible Research Innovation (RRI) is an inclusive approach to research and innovation to ensure that societal actors work together during the whole research and innovation process. It aims to better align both the process and outcomes of research and innovation, with the values, needs and expectations of European society. In this sense, citizens engagement is essential for the consideration of the real societal needs and to be able to take into account different perspectives when shaping the policies and strategies of the future.

European funded projects such as CHERRIES are developing different methodologies and strategies to implement RRI and to ensure that all the actors of the society are involved in research and innovation processes.

The main purpose of the event was to show how citizen participation can be best channelled.

The event saw the keynote speech of Rosina Malagrida​, Head of the Living Lab for Health at IrsiCaixa and co-coordinator of the Barcelona “la Caixa” Living Lab on why citizens’ participation is key in R&I processes and how we can encourage and enable it.  She also explained in detail how civil society can be included in public research and innovation policies.  We would highlight two key messages she shared with us:

“If we want to make sure that we will get the impact that we want, we need to work with a broader variety of stakeholders and of projects. One project alone cannot solve a problem, we should move to collective processes where we can work first to collectively understand better the problem and then exploring how to cover all the challenges together through different projects and processes”.

“When starting a process, we need to make sure that group of stakeholders working on it, shares a common vision, a common understanding of the problem and a common strategy. In the strategy there should be a reflection of the following 3 different levels: individual, organisational and collective level. These 3 levels should be connected”.

Two panel discussions followed.

In the first panel the audience heard from Adrián Zittelli Ferrari (Director-General for European Union Affairs for the Region of Murcia) on the need for clearer engagement frameworks and objectives for citizens, and for a better traceability of citizens engagement processes, this to increase citizens’trust in these processes. Moreover, to foster the participation of citizens, they need to see how their opinions are translated into concrete actions and -at the same time – they need to see how the decisions taken at European level can have an impact in their regions.

Stefan Philipp (Researcher at ZSI and CHERRIES coordinator) presented how CHERRIES capitalised citizens’ inputs to define challenges in the health services prioritising the medical innovations to provide a wider impact accordingly with civil society perspectives.

Esteban Pelayo (Director of EURADA) shared insights from the TetRRIS project on the possibilities of incorporating citizens in regional innovation strategies were analysed; in particular, it was explained how the second generation of smart specialisation strategies are proactively involving civil society. Regions are facing not only the exercise of prioritising when it comes to policy making at regional level, they also need to develop tools to monitor the different policies and processes so they are able to involve all stakeholders through the different steps.

In the second panel, the experiences of the regions of Murcia, Orebro and Cyprus were presented from the perspective of civil society organisations engaged in the territorial pilots. CHERRIES pilots aimed at at setting up an inclusive system in which citizens were called to determine their priorities in the healthcare sector and a call for collaboration was launched between companies offering solutions to the proposed challenges and the territorial health services implementing them.

Lotta Karlsson-Andersson (CEO at Activa Foundation) explained how CHERRIES project allowed Orebro region and its partners to take a brave step establishing a platform allowing multi stakeholder interactions and enabling direct exchanges and open dialogue between local and regional authorities and the wider society.

“Regional and local authorities need to collaborate together and make sure that they involve citizens, target groups and organisations from the very beginning. They must be taken into account when defining a need/problem, but also through the whole process. Therefore it is key to have a space/arena for exchange, co-creation and mutual learning”.

Joaquín Francisco Roca González (Sub Director of International Relationships at Polytechnical University of Cartagena) is one of the regional actors involved in the Murcia co-creation team including the solution provider and the other regional partners (Ticbiomed, CEEIMurcia, Sistema Murciano de Salud). He also contributed to the definition of the regional challenge. He stressed the importance of developing solutions to health challenges by taking into consideration and involving the final users of these solutions and the specialists that will deploy them. The development of the devices/precesses/solutions need to take into account all the stakeholders.

“As a driver for a more democratic approach to R&I we need to share responsibility and involve in the different challenges and opportunities different players: researchers, citizens, patients and healthcare professionals working together for a common goal.

Collaborative processes and co-creation, need to be shown as a resource for citizens to solve their problems, but they also need to be perceived as such by the industry and companies. Citizens must be aware that they are part of the solutions as they are the ones that better know the needs.”

He also stressed the importance of disseminating and advertising this inclusive processes and approaches to R&I, especially towards patients and professional as they need to know that these processes exits and that they can take part on them.

Stelios Yiallouros (Chief Information Officer at Arataeio Hospital) shared his experience from the Cyprus pilot. Based on his direct experience, he recommends that patients, professionals and hospital managers have an active role in the co-creation processes as they are the final users of a technology. They should be taken into consideration from the very beginning of the development of a solution, so to ensure this meets their actual needs.

“The system fails when all the stakeholders are not involved. Hospitals, patients and professionals are essential and must be involved in the different processes. By listening to all the related stakeholders, through the entire process, you avoid failure. In order to encourage the participation of citizens and patients, we need to make sure that they are being listened and that they feel it”.

Moreover, a very interestig comment was raised by Claudia Colonnello Senior Social Researcher at Knowledge and Innovation:

“Before engaging the different actors in a R&I process, we should build a common long-term vision at territorial level on how we want to shape these processes. The involvement of local actors is crucial in order to create a dialogue with the aim to restore trust among the society and to involve them in R&I processes”.

If you missed the event, you can watch it online!


Pilot Action on Partnerships for Regional Innovation: Your region can apply now

launch of the innovation partnerships call

The European Committee of the Regions and the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) have launched the call of interest for a new pilot action on Partnerships for Regional Innovation. The Pilot Action will involve up to 24 European participants (Member States, regions or groups of regions) who feel driven to transform their economies and societies and who are willing to further develop their own strategic policy framework dealing with innovation, industrial development, sustainability transitions and broader economic and social development. The deadline for applications is 25 April 2022.

The Partnerships for Regional Innovation are a complementary approach, which builds on positive experiences with smart specialisation strategies. The initiative aims to enhance the coordination and directionality of regional, national and EU R&I policies to implement Europe’s green and digital transitions and to tackle the innovation divide in the EU.

The Partnerships will be firmly anchored in the EU policy framework, supporting the implementation of the European Green DealHorizon EuropeCohesion policy and NextGenerationEU. Particular attention will be placed on tools and governance mechanisms that mobilise multiple sources of funding and policies to amplify impact and that can help connect regional and national initiatives to EU initiatives for the twin transition.

Apostolos Tzitzikostas, President of the European Committee of the Regions, said: “The experience, contacts, cooperation, shared interests and expertise that this initiative seeks to make available to local and regional authorities across the EU will help them successfully address the societal challenges we all currently face. In the longer term, this exercise will help to attract the necessary investment and mobilise in a coherent way all relevant policies and funding instruments.”

Elisa Ferreira, Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms, said: “ Promoting and spreading innovation is key to succeed in the green and digital transitions. All regions have an innovation potential that has to be fully taped in order to leave no one behind. We need strong innovation partnerships anchored on smart specialisation strategies adapted to the strengths and challenges of each territory and integrating different funds and policies. Regions need to be central actors in shaping Europe’s innovative growth model. 

Mariya Gabriel, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, said: “ Strong connections among the innovation actors are the foundations of thriving regional innovation ecosystems. The “Partnerships for Regional Innovation” will provide a platform for public and private players to invest in innovation and startups for a sustainable economy and society. The Partnerships will integrate all the available EU instruments to deliver tangible impacts. We need innovators and investors in every region and country. The Partnerships for Regional Innovation will connect them all to build a true pan-European Innovation Ecosystem.”

Participants in the Pilot Action will be expected to identify, in close collaboration with the JRC and the CoR, the areas they wish to focus the Pilot Action on. These can be socio-economic or policy challenges, specific economic sectors and/or policy areas or instruments. Activities under the Pilot Action will be tailored to the areas of most interest for each participant.

The deadline for applications is 25 April 2022. You will find more information and instructions on how to apply in President Tzitzikostas’ letter and its annex. The chosen territories will be announced in May and an official launch event is scheduled for 17 May.


Finding modern solutions to modern health care issues using RRI | Stefan Philipps shares CHERRIES insights at ResBios Podcast

In this episode of RRIExplained – Podcast series by ResBios project,  Stefan Philipp, the coordinator of the CHERRIES, speaks about the issues facing modern healthcare and how RRI can be used to bring together citizens and healthcare providers to produce working solutions to these modern problems.

Listen to the podcast here:

You can also watch the full interview on Youtube.

eHealth Awards 2022 – applications are open!

eHealth Awards 2022

Organised in the framework of the eHealth Summer University, the eHealth Awards support and reward the development of solutions and applications in the field of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) for Health. The objective of these Awards is to encourage innovation, and favor the integration of ICT in the world of healthcare, as well as the autonomy of patients, among the largest number of professionals and businesses. They promote a growing sector: eHealth.

Organized by the EU|BIC Castres-Mazamet Technopole, the eHealth Awards will be presented during the eHealth University, which will take place in Castres on June 28-29, 2022, in the Chamber of commerce and industry.

This competition eHealth Awards is open to all actors having a project in e-health: healthcare institutions and professionals, patients and caregiver associations, social protection workers, businesses in the technology and healthcare sector, and researchers, teachers and students … at national and international level.

The 2022 eHealth Awards are divided into 7 categories:

Autonomy & Well-being
Structures – Health and medico – social establishments
Healthcare professionals & caregivers
Big Data IA

and 4 special prizes:

The Grand Jury Prize
The Business Model Trophy
The jury’s favorite trophy
The Internet Trophy

The same project can be presented in a maximum of 3 categories

Participation in the e-Health Awards competition is completely free of charge.
All candidates for the e-health Awards benefit from a 50% discount on the e-health University registration pass.
Any individual or entity in France or another country (corporation, association, public authority, administrative authority, NGO, research organization, teaching institution, students, etc.) may participate in this competition.

To apply for the e-Health Awards simply download, complete and return the application form. The completed application form should be sent by email at, before May 2, 2022 noon.


Citizen science: CHERRIES is among the inspiring examples of societal engagement for Horizon Europe

Citizen science, for which citizens collaborate with scientists on research and innovation, has the potential to improve the excellence and impact of research and deepen the relationship between science and society.

The latest Results Pack showcases 12 EU-funded projects that are developing good practices as well as building the capacities and networks needed to foster successful collaborations with citizens across Europe. CHERRIES is among them.

A policy priority of the renewed European Research Area is to improve the interaction between the research system and society at large. The Pact for Research & Innovation in Europe, adopted by the Council of the EU in November 2021, established societal responsibility as one of its main principles. Engaging citizens in the design and implementation of research and innovation policies can improve the quality of research outcomes as well as the impact of funding, and ultimately helps build trust and understanding between science and society.

Collaboration and co-creation

In the past, Science with and for Society under Horizon 2020 supported societal engagement and citizen science. Through this part of the programme, 25 projects received EUR 65 million. These projects aimed to push the boundaries of engaging citizens in ‘doing science and innovation’, built evidence of positive impacts, and established beacons of good practice. The projects saw citizens involved at all stages of research and innovation, from developing agendas and methods, to collecting and analysing data, through to monitoring and evaluating activities. Today, Horizon Europe represents a step change towards collaborative forms of research and innovation: the programme prioritises co-design and co-creation, and expects to create impact through co-creation with citizens and end users. Applicants are encouraged to consider open science practices and include citizens and societal engagement in their methodology as this aspect is part of the evaluation process. Specific guidance on societal engagement can be found in the Horizon Europe Programme Guide.

Furthermore, citizen and societal engagement are integrated across Horizon Europe’s ‘clusters’ and EU Missions dedicated to addressing global challenges by putting citizens’ needs at the core of research objectives. This reflects the recognition that the success of research in Europe is dependent on extensive and high-quality engagement, and optimal leveraging of societal capabilities and intelligence. It is therefore essential to raise awareness of good practices, networks of practitioners, and sources of knowledge.

The latest Results Pack provides details on 12 inspiring citizen and societal engagement projects supported in Horizon 2020, conveying how citizen and societal engagement can contribute to Horizon Europe in different ways. The selected projects demonstrate the breadth of disciplinary areas and innovation themes where this mode of research and innovation can play a role, whilst providing inspiration to those interested in applying for Horizon Europe grants. Projects featured in this Pack include ACTION, CitieS-Health and D-NOSES, which developed tools and methodologies to help citizens combat major forms of pollution or climate change in general in their local environments. InSPIRES developed models to engage stakeholders with research and innovation projects across a whole range of areas through science shops while others were more domain specific, notably CHERRIES focusing on healthcare and GRECO on solar power. DITOs stands out for its extensive outreach through its customised approach for engagement while WeCount involved citizens in collecting traffic data with a view to shaping new transport policies. SCALINGS investigated how co-creation practices vary from one city or country to another, and under which conditions public participation can be scaled up. MICS is dedicated to measuring the impact of citizen science. You can also find details of the EU-Citizen.Science platform, a knowledge and community hub for high-quality citizen science exchange, and how the WeObserve project is improving coordination between existing Citizen Observatories and related regional, European and international activities.


CHERRIES Mirror Regions at the starting blocks

On January 20th, CHERRIES officially launched the programme dedicated to the so-called Mirror Regions: four European regions that will replicate CHERRIES model in their own territories.

Last November, CHERRIES Selection Committee (composed by the project coordinator, pilot regions’ representatives and other partners) selected the four regions that will receive tailored tutoring and coaching support to adopt CHERRIES demand-driven innovation approach.

The regions of Burgos (ES), Centro (PT), Nord Est (RO) and West of Ireland (IE) will benefit from one-on-one coaching sessions to clear up any kind of doubts on how to overcome specific barriers during the implementation of the methodology, online workshops to dive into the nuances of the different stages of the process, a face-to-face event to get to know other regional practitioners in the same sector and grow their network, and many other support actions that will help the Mirror Regions identifying the societal challenge to be addressed with an innovative solution.

During the launch event of CHERRIES Mirror Regions, the 7 territories currently part of CHERRIES Community (pilot and Mirror Regions) presented themselves and their regional healthcare ecosystems.

Check the recordings here.

Now that CHERRIES Mirror Regions have been selected, we call other European regions interested in the project methodology and willing to replicate the CHERRIES model within their territories to join our community.

The objective is to promote a pan-European Community that will exchange know-how, promising practices, and resources to become the natural place to receive personalised explanations and periodic follow up on the CHERRIES learnings and its updates*.

A dedicated subscription area will be released soon. In the meantime, feel free to express your interest by sending an email to


* Tailored coaching support will be given only to the 4 chosen Mirror Regions.

Latest updates from CHERRIES regional pilots

CHERRIES pilot experimentations were officially launched in summer 2021, once the selection process was completed and three Solution Providers were selected to co-design and co-create innovative solutions responding to identified needs in the regional healthcare sector. Click here to know more about the three pilots.

The pilot actions aim at testing in three European healthcare ecosystems (Cyprus, Murcia, Örebro) the CHERRIES methodology combining demand driven and co-creation approaches with  RRI principles.

Local multi-stakeholders’ co-creation teams have been set up in each territory to carry out the CHERRIES transversal approach by involving the interested parties in the definition of needs (regional challenges) and further development of the solution. According to the nature of the challenge to be addressed in each territory, the co-creation teams are composed of the Solution Providers, the local partners and/or associated ones (e.g. challenge proposers, health professionals, patients or civil society organizations).

What is currently going on in CHERRIES regions? Time to get an update from the three territorial pilots!

CHERRIES Cyprus – DoctorsHello

DoctorsHello is the solution that was selected in Cyprus to meet the challenge “Provision of medical services to the Cypriot citizens that live in rural and remote areas and do not have easy access to healthcare services and prescribed medicines”.

DoctorsHello was initially developed as a peer-to-peer ecosystem, supporting real-world healthcare based on real-time distributed data. Being in close contact with the CHERRIES Project partners and regional pilot team in Cyprus – CyRIC EUBIC and Aretaeion Iatrikon Kentron (ΑΙΚ) Hospital – DoctorsHello managed to co-create a tailor-made solution specifically customized on the needs of the rural population that AIK supports. Questionnaires and exhaustive workshops led to a custom E-health system, considering all those societal and demographic parameters needed for developing and employing a truly inclusive solution for the needs of Cyprus healthcare ecosystem. The initial architecture of the system has been retained while custom features have been added to streamline with the specific needs of end users and services providers, as identified in the User Requirement Analysis performed during the first 2 months of the project. Questionnaires were created to be distributed both to healthcare professionals and end-users in order to assess the current state of services provided and any additional needs, and then receive feedback after employing the solution in order to evaluate the defined KPIs. The solution is expected to be used by more than 500 users within the first 2 months of the validation / implementation stage. The feedback will be used to guide the re-engineering process and increase the impact to the benefit of the broader population that may reach the developed solution.



MSProgress is the solution that was selected to answer the CHERRIES Murcia challenge “EARLY DETECTION OF PROGRESSION IN MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS”

In the Murcia region, the CHERRIES pilot experimentation has been launched in June 2021 following the co-creation demand-driven methodology to develop an ICT solution to detect the progression in multiple sclerosis (MS). This on-demand ICT solution named MSProgress integrates a smartwatch and a mobile phone to collect data onto an eHealth platform using a kinetic algorithm for real time and accurate patient movement analysis that may contribute to detect any progression of the MS. Within the first phase, Pulso Ediciones, as selected Solution Provider, has worked on the development of the prototype in line with the requirements and inputs shared by the different actors of the co-creation team, composed by healthcare professionals, researchers, a patients’ association, innovation and business experts or policy makers. Based on the first findings, upgraded versions of the ICT solution were developed to optimize its performance and stabilize and speed up the data transmission. The objective of the second phase is to test the solution with 30 patients over a period of 5 consecutive months.


Örebro (SE) – Seniors leading seniors to a more meaningful and healthier everyday life in Laxa municipality

Laxå Municipality was selected to run a programme answering the CHERRIES Örebro challenge “BREAKING AND PREVENTING INVOLUNTARY LONELINESS AMONG ELDERLY”.

The pilot, started in June 2021, has now entered in its second phase, and is currently proceeding with the testing of various outreach activities to reach lonely elderly people.

Due to the COVID situation that has impacted the project in many ways, the activities with the target group have been postponed at the end of February and beginning of March. Nevertheless, the” meeting point” for elderly people in the municipality is remaining open.

A Webinar was held on the 31st of January to spread the word about the pilot and the work in Laxa municipality to  approximately 60 participants both from organisations within Örebro region and from other regions in Sweden.

This Webinar  included a presentation of the CHERRIES project, of the Örebro pilot, and promoted exchanges between the participants on success factors and barriers.

Discover CHERRIES Healthcare Systems with the recordings from our webinar series 2021

Back in October 2021 in the framework of the European Week of the Regions, CHERRIES organised the second webinar series: “Shaping responsible healthcare ecosystems in Europe”.

Designed as a peer learning opportunity, the series aimed at showcasing the policy experiments in the healthcare sector held in the three CHERRIES regions: Murcia (ES), Örebro (SE) and the Republic of Cyprus (CY).

Over three sessions, the regional stakeholders presented their regional ecosystems, and the way CHERRIES methodology is implemented in each specific context.

If you missed the CHERRIES webinar series 2021, you can still watch them on the following links:

CHERRIES featured at EBN Congress 2021 | Using challenge-driven approaches, co-creation and co-design: methodologies for a green, digital and fair transition

CHERRIES project promoted a panel discussion at the EBN Congress 2021: “Using challenge-driven approaches, co-creation and co-design methodologies for a green, digital and fair transition”.

A bottom-up approach is required to develop effective and tailored solutions to market and societal demands. The challenges we face are more and more complex and cross-sectoral. A demand-driven approach to innovation, following co-design & co-creation methodologies creates solutions that are lasting, sustainable, green, and in accord with the digital transformation in society. The panel explored how the EU|BIC community, with its business models and service offering, is ideally positioned to connect innovators and promote challenge-driven, co-created and co-designed innovation. With a focus on experiences addressing climate neutrality and health, the panellists shed light on:

  • Why regions should invest in demand-driven innovation and how co-creating solutions can bring about change;
  • Why we need to embed demand-driven innovation in incubation, and how co-creation methodologies can drive towards efficient, fair and sustainable responses;
  • How to implement these methodologies in decision-make processes adopted by local authorities, incubators, start-ups, and business.

In this occasion Laure Raso from CEEI Murcia presented the CHERRIES methodology and activities in front of policy intermediaries, entrepreneurs, investors and researchers. The aim of the session was to discuss the importance and future co-creation and co-design methodologies to address regional challenges.

Moderated by Andrea Di Anselmo, META Group, the panel saw the participation of Laure Raso (CEEI Murcia Project Manager), Roberta Dall’Olio (ART-ER EU Policies International Territorial Cooperation Social Innovation Head of Unit and EURADA President), Tom Boyle (Climate Action Network Head of Network Development), Agnieszka Włodarczyk-Gębik (Krakow Technology Park Project Manager).

You can find the recordings of the panel at EBN Congress 2021 here.

CHERRIES solutions to regional healthcare challenges – discover them all!

Earlier this year we launched our call for solutions in the regions involved in the CHERRIES project. Following a series of activities, each region identified a challenge they were interested in addressing using the CHERRIES methodology.The pilot projects selected respond to these challenges by using the CHERRIES methodology which emphasises co-creation and co-design with the involved stakeholders.
Our selected solution for the Murcia Challenge – MS CARE – Multiple Sclerosis care by PULSO EDICIONES S.L.
In the Murcia region, the selected CHERRIES solution is convening action to develop better solution for targeting the early diagnosis of multiple sclerosis. MSProgress is an ICT solution to the early diagnostic of Multiple Sclerosis(MS). Usually, the progression of MS is identified with periodic check-ups every 3 to 6 months, consisting of questions and neurological examination using different types of standardized tests. Patients and neurologists need a faster and more sensitive way to detect MS progression so that treatment can be started as early as possible to avoid disability. To target this unmet need, partners in the Murcia region have selected MS Progression as the solution to the challenge. In the framework of this project, an on-demand ICT solution named MSProgress is being developed, integrating a smartwatch onto an eHealth platform and using a kinetic algorithm for real time and accurate patient movement analysis.
Discover more about this pilot project…
Our selected solution for the Örebro Challenge – Seniors leading seniors to a more meaningful and healthier everyday life in Laxå municipality
Using the CHERRIES methodology, partners in the region identified loneliness amongst the elderly as a significant challenge. The CHERRIES Örebro pilot project focuses on collaboration and co-creation between the municipality, the local health centre and several NGOs to break and prevent involuntary loneliness among elderly. The project approaches the challenge of loneliness amongst the elderly through a two-part solution. The first part consist of an outreach program that will identify the target group using the collaborating organisations and networks in the area. The second part will initiate an arena where the target group can meet and where a number of activities will be offered designed with their inputs.
Discover more about this pilot project…
Our selected solution for the Cyprus Challenge – Doctors Hello 
In Cyprus, using the CHERRIES methodology we identified access to healthcare for those living in remote areas as the challenge we wanted to find an answer to. Doctors Hello is a peer-to-peer ecosystem, which provides innovative telemedicine services developed to support real-world healthcare based on real-time distributed data. Doctors Hello aims to provide accessibility and quality medical services to the population of Cypriot villages without easy access to medical services, enabling them to access healthcare advice without travelling long distances or crossing checkpoint borders. Overall, it helps people to gain access to healthcare services, supporting eHealth and real telemedicine services through real-time telemetry and teleconsultation.
Discover more about this pilot project…