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Innovating democracy, together.

Nets4Dem is a network of networks, creating a hub for collaboration and advanced research in the field of democratic innovation, civic deliberation, participation and citizenship education.

Nets4Dem unites policymakers, practitioners and researchers, to strengthen our joint capacity to implement innovative democracy initiatives at local, national and European levels.

Think tanks and universities
European countries
Civil society organisations


Nets4Dem envisions a future where all Europeans have a voice in decision-making processes and public authorities embed meaningful citizen engagement into their cultures and structures.


Strengthen democracy by building an innovative infrastructure for connection and collaboration across the EU and associated countries based on local, national and European-wide networks.

More than just a network

Nets4Dem makes the existing cutting-edge research on democratic innovation systematically accessible and builds capacity to move from ideas to execution.  Over the next two years, Nets4Dem will provide the following resources and programs:

  • Rising Stars Mentorship Program, supporting the implementation of democratic initiatives by new practitioners in the field.
  • Democracy Accelerator, providing government institutions and organisations with training, peer learning and mentorship sessions on democratic innovation.
  • Democracy Labs, bringing together policymakers and practitioners to co-create and test innovative approaches to participatory decision-making.
  • High-level policy dialogues and retreats, helping policymakers translate academic knowledge into practice and embed democratic innovations in existing governance structures.
  • Participation Playbook, the practical guide tool that helps practitioners and policymakers develop step-by-step plans for implementing participatory initiatives in their individual contexts.
  • Online Resource Centre, a curated selection of the top tools, guides, and materials on democratic innovation, in multiple languages.
  • Online Knowledge Database on Democratic Innovation, featuring the results of over 400 EU-funded research projects on democratic innovation.

Our story

At Nets4Dem, we believe that our democracies must become more inclusive, effective and participatory so they can rebuild trust with citizens and enable new pathways of political engagement.

Nets4Dem’s twelve founding member organisations bring together more than 200 cities, 320 civil society organisations, and over 50 think tanks and universities, covering 38 European countries, and linking to democracy-focused work in 130 countries worldwide.

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Launched in June 2023 with support from Horizon Europe and led by Democracy Reporting International (DRI), the Nets4Dem project is working to address a lack of consistent approaches to democratic renewal, exacerbated by fragmented knowledge and existing silos among practitioners, researchers and organisations. It is doing so by establishing a European community for democratic innovation and providing comprehensive resources and capacity building programs to relevant stakeholders.

We live our values and this is why our governance structure is based on inclusive, participative decision-making. Our ambition is to renew European democracy by mobilising existing efforts into a cohesive movement and generating insights that advance democratic values and practices worldwide.

Founding members

Logo of founding member CES


Centro de Estudios Sociais aims at democratising knowledge, reenergizing human rights and contributing to making science a public good. CES has specific and internationally recognized research skills in the domain of participatory tools of governance, especially participatory budgeting (PB) and community-based monitoring (CBM). CES provides training, counselling and evaluation in the domain of participatory processes to international institutions as the World Bank, UN-DESA, UN-Habitat, United Cities and the Council of Europe.
Logo of founding member Coglobal


Coglobal is a Spanish non-profit that provides innovative methodologies and tailored solutions for government-citizen collaboration in decision and policy-making. It is a social entity with over 10 years of experience operating at local, European, and global scales advocating for participatory democracy and sustainable development. Coglobal's main mission is assisting open government through the design of actions and strategies for participatory democracy, linking innovation with established good practices; and focusing its efforts towards the inclusion of underrepresented population groups (like youth and children) in participatory processes, adding new voices into the public sphere.
Logo of founding member Democracy Reporting International


Democracy Reporting International (DRI) is an independent non-profit organisation committed to defending and improving democracy worldwide. We analyse threats to democracy and advocate for solutions during key legislative and political processes. By bringing impartial analysis and policy recommendations to policymakers, we encourage them to act before emerging concerns become pressing problems.

Together with citizens and civil society groups committed to democratic renewal, we establish and improve democratic institutions that preserve people's freedoms. Our reference points are internationally agreed democratic principles.

DRI is co-leading the largest civil society programme on rule of law in the EU and delivers participatory democracy and civic education programmes in a number of EU Associated countries. Since 2023, DRI is also leading Nets4Dem as coordinator.

Logo of founding member Democratic Society


Democratic Society is a network of people working to create a democracy that works for the 21st century. We undertake practical projects, conduct research and build new democratic infrastructure that lets people involve themselves in the decisions that shape their lives.

Based in Brussels but with offices across Europe, we work to build a democracy where citizens' voices are heard from the street up to national and European governments.

Logo of founding member Demos Helsinki


Demos Helsinki is the leading independent think-tank in the Nordics. Committed to working together towards fair, sustainable and joyful societies, it collaborates with partners in several Horizon Europe and Strategic Research Council of Finland projects. It works at the intersection of the re-imagining the futures of democracy, democratic innovations and pressing societal transformations across multiple policy domains.
Logo of founding member Egmont


Egmont-The Belgian Royal Institute for International Relations, also known as the Egmont Institute, is an independent Brussels-based think tank dedicated to interdisciplinary research on international relations. The Institute is renowned for its hosting top-level multi-stakeholder events (conferences, colloquia, seminars), and specializes in building the capacity of diplomats and policy-makers both in Brussels and abroad. The Egmont Institute is a member of the TEPSA research network, and will serve as its Affiliated Entity in the Nets4Dem project.
Logo of founding member European Partnership for Democracy


The European Partnership for Democracy (EPD) is a network of 20 organisations with a global remit to support democracy. In 2008, several organisations came together to create EPD as a partnership to reinforce European democracy support by building a community that advocates and acts for democratic values around the world. EPD works inside and outside Europe because we recognise that democracy is a universal aspiration and that the contemporary challenges and opportunities for democracy are global in scope. Our approach is rooted in the need to foster greater complementarity and dialogue between domestic, European and external stakeholders.
Logo of founding member Eurocities


Eurocities is the leading network of more than 200 major European cities, working together to improve the quality of urban life. We strive for a Europe where cities are genuine partners with the EU to create a better future. We put citizens at the heart of developments towards an inclusive, prosperous and healthy cities with future-fit local governments.
Logo of founding member Institut Za Filozofiju I Drustvenu Teoriju

Institute of Philosophy and Social Theory, UNIVERSITY OF BELGRADE (IFDT)

IFDT is one of the main research institutions in social sciences in Serbia and recipient of numerous grants, including Erasmus+ Jean Monnet Network scheme to advance innovative democratic practices in Western Balkans. IFDT is partner in two Horizons projects and is a member of the Open Society University Network, where it leads the Working Group on Participatory Democratic Innovations and Sortition. Finally, IFDT is a key partner of Council of Europe in Western Balkans for implementing Participatory Democracy Academy and Council of Europe School on Participatory Democracy Tools.
Logo of founding member Opensourcepolitics


Open Source Politics specialises in the deployment of open-source digital deliberation tools and the design of all-scale participatory processes. OSP aims to ensure that participatory practices take a prominent place, not only in the political world, but also within companies, associations and collective initiatives. OSP has worked with more than 150 organisations across Europe and in the world.
Logo of founding member People Powered


People Powered (PP) is a global hub for participatory democracy. We build the power and impact of organizations and leaders around the world who are building a more participatory democracy, through programs such as participatory budgeting, participatory policy-making, participatory planning, and citizen assemblies. Through this work, we help to address common challenges and shift power toward historically marginalized communities. Faced with a global crisis of democracy, we are growing a global movement to expand people’s democratic power, beyond elections. PP is incorporated as a nonprofit in the US, has 13 staff and over 100 members.
Logo of founding member TEPSA


TEPSA is the first trans-European research network in the field of EU affairs. The network was established in 1974 and is an international non-profit association under Belgian law. It consists of 47 leading research institutes in the field of European affairs based in 37 European countries, with a Secretariat in Brussels. TEPSA is also a recipient of the Citizens, Equality, Rights and Values Programme Operating Grant, aimed at bringing the EU closer to its citizens. TEPSA also is recipient of EU Horizon Grants.