CoAct is a groundbreaking European project that merges citizen science with social sciences. The initiative is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme1. CoAct proposes a novel understanding of Citizen Social Science, where research is participatory, co-designed, and directly driven by citizen groups who share a social concern.
The project aims to address pressing global social issues such as mental health care, youth employment, environmental justice, and gender equality by engaging citizens as co-researchers. This approach allows for exploring these issues from the bottom up, embedded in their social contexts, using robust research methods.
CoAct’s methodology involves citizens acting as co-researchers throughout Research and Innovation (R&I) Action1. These co-researchers are recognised as competent experts in their field and are equal actors in all phases of strategy co-design1. They participate in research data collection and evaluation of project processes and results, and in some cases, they may join in launching research tools and presenting results.
CoAct works simultaneously with civil society organisations across a broad geographic scale, including Spain, Austria, Germany, Eastern European countries, Pan-European regions, and Argentina1. The project addresses four social issues: Mental Health Care, Youth Employment, Environmental Justice, and Gender Equality.
The co-researchers are co-owners of the research data and results and may be listed as co-authors if they express their willingness to have their names disclosed for scientific publications1. This approach represents a new understanding of the underexplored field of Citizen Social Science (CSS), understood here as participatory research co-designed and directly driven by citizen groups sharing a social concern.