Applications remain open until 15 November for the Innovation in Politics Awards for projects which are seen to have improved community wellbeing and made a positive difference to people’s lives, and are also part of sharing best practice with other countries throughout Europe.

Ireland registered its first Innovation in Politics Award in 2021 when the ‘See Her Elected’ project won the Democracy Category award for its work in encouraging more women in rural communities to stand as candidates in the Local Elections 2024.

This feminist, community-led rural initiative, which was set up in 2019, aims to increase the numbers of women in local politics in the rural northwest-midlands region of Ireland, where anything from 78% to 95% of the elected local authority councillors are men.

‘SHE’ project team manager Michelle Maher and Minister for Planning and Local Government Peter Burke (centre) pictured with Dubravka Šuica, European Commission Vice-President for Democracy and Demography, and Helfried Carl, Founder & Managing Partner at the Innovation in Politics Institute, following the presentation of the award in Brussels in December 2021.

Now in its sixth year, the awards scheme was set up to recognise politicians who are driving change through their decision-making and actions such as funding, legislation, programmes, schemes and projects.

Eight Award Categories:

  1. Democracy (inclusion, community engagement, equality)
  2. Climate Protection (decarbonisation, environmental protection, sustainability)
  3. Democracy Technologies (digital participation)
  4. Education (learning, teaching, empowerment)
  5. Government Improvement (transparency, accountability) – a new award
  6. Social Cohesion (diversity, migration, engagement)
  7. Local Development (rural areas, local economy, local initiatives)
  8. Party Innovation (new technologies, mobilisation, transparency by political parties or emerging political parties) – a new award.

In each award category ten finalists will be selected. The winning projects will be selected by a Europe-wide Citizens’ Jury of 1,000 members in January 2023. The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony in May 2023, which all finalists will be invited to attend.