Saturday, September 24, 2011

EU Call for Proposals on Social Experiments

(Via Colm Harmon), it is interesting that the commission have put out this call. Text below from the document.

This call offers to applicants the possibility to develop social experimentation projects according to the following protocol/steps:

• Design of the policy intervention: a rigorous description of the logically structured set of actions envisaged as part of the policy reform should be provided. It should ensure that the different incentives, opportunities, or constraints to which the population will be confronted with are identified and described
• Design of the experimentation method: preference will be given to the random assignment method that randomly assigns the potential beneficiaries of the policy/interventions to either a treatment group or a comparison group. Other evaluation method such as the quasi-experimental design (non-randomized assignment) may be considered as long as the impact of the interventions being tested is credibly ascertained. The expected outcomes of the interventions should be stated in clear and measurable terms to serve as yardsticks for determining the extent of the
policy intervention's success.
• Lessons for policy design: a rigorous analysis and interpretation of the results should be put in place with a view to arriving at shared conclusions about the up-scaling potential of the tested policies taking into account elements such as the context, in which the policy has to be implemented, the feasibility, the acceptability and the timeliness of the proposed solutions.

Please note that a guide on the social experimentation protocol will be provided on the following website:

This call for proposals focuses on public policy interventions and is therefore addressed to policy-makers at national, regional or local levels. However, social experimentations cannot be conducted without the involvement of other stakeholders such as public authorities, civil society organisations, private business enterprises, scientists and practitioners in the design, the implementation and the evaluation of the project.

Given the considerable investment required to conduct a social experimentation or a rigorous quasi-experimental project, this call is intended to support no more than 3-5 major social experimentations. The Commission will ensure the dissemination of evidence gathered across the PROGRESS participating countries.

At the final stage of the project the promoter has to organise a peer review involving all project partner(s) including partner(s) from at least one other PROGRESS participating country. The European Commission may organise thematic workshops in order to publicise and disseminate the lessons learnt.

Apart from assessing the specific impact of the social experimentation on the target group and conducting peer reviews, the overall effectiveness, including cost-effectiveness, of the project should be assessed at the end of the activities.

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