Designing the M4D2 Participatory Spaces

Focus and aims

This Core Activity will seek to expand the democratic potential of digital communication technologies by carefully selecting current ICT tools and integrating them in order to enlarge the scale and enhance the quality of deliberative participatory processes. The Participatory Spaces will rely upon ICT tools and platforms to facilitate communication processes at the local, national, and European levels creating the context for each other. 

The M4D2 platform will incorporate the set of tools which will support communication among citizens that occur online (text and voice debates) or face-to-face. Opening the choice of the communication channel to participants will improve the level of participation. In turn, the cohesive planning of deliberation across different channels and treating the input from all participants as equal will contribute to the legitimacy of participatory procedures. Consequently, it will support trust in institutions responsible for them. Another unique feature of the M4D2 Participatory Spaces is that it will create the space for online moderated interactions in the situation of multiple deliberating groups in several languages. It will be possible thanks to the use of automated moderator developed by the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University (scientific advisor to the project) and automated translation prepared by the ADAPT Centre at Trinity College in Dublin. In-between sessions of synchronous voice or face-to-face deliberations, participants will have the opportunity to continue the exchange of their justified opinions on the text forum. The proposals and arguments will be continuously presented in the form of a map of arguments making the link between otherwise separate events.


EuComMeet will undertake the following steps to achieve the results of this Core Activity:

  • Develop an inventory of digital platforms to explore features and potential of existing platforms, while also assessing the capacity to meet the project’s requirements;
  • Develop a model integrating Google Speech and Google Translate for 5 languages and 2 topics of discussion, which will be then tested in laboratory conditions and improved before piloting;
  • Integrate Speech Translation with automated moderator by adapting the latter to EuComMeet’s specific need of organizing multi-lingual deliberations, hence testing the tools in laboratory conditions for three languages per topic, in the end improving them for the pilots;
  • Test Google Translate for a text forum and a map of arguments in laboratory conditions for three languages per topic;
  • Set up for experiments the overall system in its ultimate environment and test it for the capacity of hosting multiple synchronous moderated group debates;
  • Assessment of the platform’s compliance with
 personal data protection laws and requirements;
  • Testing the prototype in schools and with groups of people with disabilities. More in detail, the test will be conducted in one high school and one university in two cities for each country and will last for a period of 6 months. Students will be able to interact at multiple stages: locally (with the students from the same school or university), nationally (with the students from the other city in the same country), and at the European level (with the students from the other countries). Students will be randomly selected based on certain features, such as extreme vs. non-extreme positions on the selected issues, or the degree of openness towards European integration

Who’s in the first line

All the Universities involved in the Project will undertake this activity under the lead of University of Siena, with the contribution of Mission Publiques and TOUR4EU.

Meet our Team Members!

Expected outcomes

D2.1 : Database of digital collaborative and participatory spaces – organised across relevant variables for the project’s requirements. 

D2.2 : Report on Speech Translation model – Report on the development and implementation of the Speech Translation model, on the main features of the platform and its compliance with law and on the feasibility and effectiveness of other participatory tools and choices. 

D2.3 : Report on pilot test – and its results

D2.4 : Report on platform’s compliance with law – outlining the main features of the platform and its compliance with applicable law. 

Most of these outcomes will be made publicly available. Find them here once ready!