Initiated as a new participatory European Network for local actors of change, the aim of CitizensLab is to strengthen and connect active citizens from all sectors of society that are passionate about their local community. They engage in finding innovative solutions to challenges in their neighborhoods – be it as volunteers or in their jobs. CitizensLab offers exchange and support within a network of like-minded civil society actors. 

The programme is implemented by MitOst in cooperation with Stiftung Mercator, Robert Bosch Stiftung and the European Cultural Foundation.


CitizensLab proudly presents its brand new website!

Hop over to read a good story or two about projects and initiatives the CitizensLab members are enthusiastic about. Or accompany them while they share their aha-moments about methods and practices from their mobility experiences. The website is also for you if you want to connect and collaborate with like-minded people. You can find out about current local and translocal CitizensLab activities and contact the CitizensLab members directly.


New CitizensLab members since February 2017

We received 220 applications for our Call for Application. The jury has selected 22 new network members. Please find a list of all current 56 CitizensLab members here.


Project phases

Concept development
The kick-off meeting in Berlin laid the foundation of a network where active citizens can connect and learn from each other. They exchange knowledge and learn from their peers to strengthen the quality and impact of their local work. This European network can also serve to increase the influence on decision-making processes and policies on different levels.

Selection process: 
Experts from different sectors (practitioners, community artists, activists, social entrepreneurs, political scientists, academics, policy-makers and door openers) selected the first 34 members of the network who met in June 2016 in Berlin. In February 2017, an additional number of 22 members was selected to become part of the network.

Kick-off meeting in Berlin and continued networking:
The kick-off meeting in Berlin took place 23 - 26 June 2016. During intense four days the new project members experimented with the participatory approaches the members also apply in their local work. In self-organised sessions 34 civil society actors, clerks from public administrations, social entrepreneurs and some journalists exchanged about the purpose and the vision of this new laboratory for collaboration. In an online and offline process they will develop the participatory structure of the network further and continue to exchange and discuss about the values that connect them. 

Capacity building and experimenting during a 2nd network event
New and old members meet in Brussels from 8 to 11 March at a second CitizensLab network meeting in order to deepen their relations, to build trust and cohesion within the network, to learn from each other’s experiences and develop concrete actions. In a bazaar of initiatives they will get to know each other’s activities through showcasing and storytelling. In DialogueLabs, interactive discussions with experts from think tanks and the European Parliament as well as journalists, the members will engage in conversations on EU policy making, civil society’s and media’s changing roles, civil society’s involvement in and advocacy of policy-making on the local, national and supranational level. Moreover, members will develop translocal experiments and transformative interventions to take place all over Europe within the frame of CitizensLab’s main thematic areas (democracy, inclusion, urban transformation, culture&art, education). With those activities the members will work towards the long-term goal of co-creating together participatory, diverse societies in Europe. 

Connecting and learning: offers for CitizensLab members
In between network meetings, members can engage in different ways to keep the network alive and meaningful:

  • Use mobility grants to visit another member of the network to further foster peer-to-peer learning or to participate in a conference or a forum.
  • Receive small grants to develop creative ideas to implement activities locally in partnership with the network members
  • Get the support and mentoring of the network members as well as from the experts of the Steering Group.

Why a European network of local actors of change?

The European Union has been accompanied and shaped by a critical and constructive civil society from its beginning. Besides organisations and networks acting on a European level and European Think Tanks, there is a strong civil society that does not primarily advocate Europe or the European Union, but is rather engaged in concrete activities on a local level.

Local initiatives have the potential to become social innovators which initiate social change as well as the transformation of local and national institutional frameworks that can be then disseminated throughout Europe. This personal involvement led by a sense of responsibility for the common good, increases solidarity among citizens and the sustainability of our society.

CitizensLab is a concrete opportunity to strengthen actors of change as multipliers, to deepen the local impact of their work and to connect them in a European movement.


Alice Priori
Programme Coordinator

Lisa Schulze
Programme Manager
T +49 (0) 30/31 51 74 87

CitizensLab Website

CitizensLab Facebook page

Who is who in CitizensLab
List of members 2016/2017

Information about CitizensLab partners: