Nesta launches its 2020 Democracy Pioneers Awards offering up to £10,000 for innovative projects that seek to re-energise democracy and public participation in the UK

Nesta’s Democracy Pioneers programme is currently inviting applications for innovative proposals that offer the potential to re-energise and reshape the future of civic participation and everyday democracy in the UK. 

The scheme opened to applications on 16 December 2019 and has a deadline of midnight on Tuesday 31 January 2020.

The programme has an overall budget of £100,000. Awards of £10,000 are available for up to 10 innovations that are experimenting with ways to re-energise civic participation and everyday democracy in the UK.

Entries can be from UK constituted organisations (including sole traders). All sizes and sectors will be considered, including:

o Community groups.
o Registered charities.
o Start-ups.
o Universities.
o Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and
o Public, private and civil society organisations. (Please note that private enterprises will need to demonstrate public benefit).

Democracy Pioneers will receive:

o Up to £10,000 to support the development of their work.
o Opportunities to showcase their work and ideas across a variety of local and national media, as well as Nesta communications.
o The opportunity to work with Nesta and the other Democracy Pioneers collaboratively to champion this pioneering work, and create a case for what is needed to make democracy fit in the decades to come.

Nesta is particularly looking for everyday civic participation and democracy innovations that demonstrate:

o An impactful approach, not yet adopted as mainstream but with an established track record.
o A clearly articulated vision for how their future civic participation and everyday democracy can be re-energised and reshaped to be:
> Better informed
> More inclusive and participatory
> More open, accessible and transparent
> Smarter and more creative, or
> More trusted and accountable
o High potential and clear aspirations to have a bigger impact in the coming years, and a
o Clear commitment to be part of a wider community seeking to establish a movement for bigger civic participation and democratic shifts

All entries must be based in the United Kingdom (England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales) and have an impact in the United Kingdom.

Applicants will be expected to meet the following criteria:

o Innovations must have been operating for at least six months and demonstrate evidence of ongoing work.
o Organisations and projects must be politically non partisan and must not be affiliated with party political campaigns.
o All entries should have a strong emphasis on the societal impact of their work and not be primarily motivated by profit.
o Organisations and projects must be able to commit a lead representative to work with Nesta in both a workshop and public facing capacity for a minimum of three days between March and October 2020.

For further information, visit Nesta’s Democracy Pioneers Award webpages.