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SISCODE is a three-year project aiming to understand the co-creation phenomenon that is flourishing in Europe (in fab labs, living labs, social innovations, smart cities, communities and regions) and to analyse the context and conditions that support its effective introduction, scalability and replication. Eventually this will help bridge the gap between the process of co-constructing policies and their implementation. Co-creation will be analysed in particular in the light of Responsible Research and Innovation and Science, technology and innovation policies. 

The SISCODE Project focusses on the co-creation process and its role in the implementation of Public engagement (PE) and Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). The latter policy objectives are demanding the early involvement of multiple actors, including the public, in science and innovation, and yet, public involvement rarely goes beyond the stage of consultation. In this context, the emergence of co-creation across Europe is a phenomenon that calls for attention, as it shares a symbiotic relationship with Social Innovation (SI). The bottom-up process and social qualities of co-creation have the potential to foster the co-production of solutions by a multitude of stakeholders, with the interplay of state, industry, and civil sector actors.

Co-creation ecosystems are necessary for the development of Social Innovation and its contribution to PE and RRI. However, several barriers hindering such developments have been identified in the formulation of the SISCODE project:

  • the lack of awareness and understanding of the potentialities of co-creation among researchers, innovators, intermediaries and policy makers;
  • the “sectorialised” approach to STI policy making, which hampers collaboration among sectors, functions and divisions within and across organisations;
  • the lack of competences and methodologies that can help fill the gap between the co-construction of solutions and policies and their real implementation; 
  • the lack of a learning framework to support the replication of virtuous mechanisms of co-creation including knowledge on how to cope with constraints and barriers that may frequently come about along the process.


The SISCODE project aims to better understand co-creation as a bottom-up and design-driven phenomenon, and has tasked itself with three main objectives:

  • to create and run a European-wide study of existing co-creation ecosystems and to describe effective dynamics and outcomes for the implementable integration of society in science and innovation;
  • to experiment with design as a new system of competences on which to build capacity for implementable co-creation in RRI and STI policy making;
  • to understand the cultural, organisational and procedural transformations needed to embed co-creation as a design-driven approach in RRI processes and STI policy making.


Finally, in order to attain these objectives the SISCODE project will:

  • analyse and compare 40 cases of co-creation ecosystems across Europe;
  • detect the barriers that reside in diverse cultural, societal and regulatory contexts;
  • develop a learning framework for co-creation based on the iterative design cycle;
  • build a transnational system of co-creation laboratories;
  • set up an intermediate playground for policy makers;
  • co-produce situated models of co-creation ecosystems.



SISCODE has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement no. 788217




List of project partners

  • Politecnico di Milano (Coordinator)
  • APRE -Agenzia per la Promozione della Ricerca Europea
  • Technical University of Dortmund
  • SPI - Sociedade Portuguesa de Inovação -Consultadoria Empresarial e Fomento da Inovação S.A.
  • IAAC -Institut d'Arquitectura Avancada de Catalunya
  • AUTH – University of Thessaloniki
  • UCL – University College London
  • Biosense Institute - Research and Development Institute for Information Technologies in Biosystems
  • Krakow Technology Park
  • DDC – Danish Design Centre
  • Makea Industries GMBH
  • Foreningen Maker
  • ENoLL – European Network of Living Labs


Book or article

Based on the SISCODE experimentation, this book presents a critical analysis of the co-design processes activated in 10 cocreation laboratories addressing societal challenges across Europe.

Topics in science
Practical guide or toolkit, Video
Discover how citizen engagement can help you create meaningful solutions to societal problems

Within the SISCODE project, Ecsite developed an online training course on co-creation. Targeted for policymakers, the MOOC can be useful for anyone interested in design-thinking processes

Education & learning
co-creation, policymaking, co-design, design thinking, public engagement, Citizen Engagement