Kick-off Meeting in Bologna Marked the Beginning of RESPOND Project

The RESPOND project “Rescuing Democracy from Political Corruption in Digital Societies” was officially launched at a kick-off meeting in Bologna, Italy, 22-24 May 2024. The initiative is funded by the Horizon Europe programme of the European Commission and aims to combat corruption and undue influence undermining democracies.

Starting in May 2024, this five-year project, coordinated by the University of Bologna (Alma Mater Studiorum – Università di Bologna), will delve into a number of key pressing questions:

  • How does political corruption operate in digital societies?
  • How pervasive is its negative impact on democracy?
  • How can anti-corruption efforts rebuild support for democratic values?

RESPOND addresses these challenges through an interdisciplinary assessment of political corruption, examining behaviors that blur legal boundaries and lead to biased decision-making. Our mixed-methods research will span 27 EU countries and 11 neighboring nations, focusing on:

  • Analyzing political finance, lobbying, revolving doors/personal ties, and media capture.
  • Evaluating how political elites and citizens perceive corruption.
  • Exploring the role of digital technologies in both enabling and combating corruption.
  • Co-creating tools and practices with stakeholders to enhance citizen monitoring and integrity.

The consortium includes esteemed partners in Europe: Anti-Corruption Research and Education Centre (Ukraine), Central European University (Austria), Government Transparency Institute (Hungary), Göteborgs universitet (Sweden), Institute for Global Analytics (Bulgaria), King’s College London (UK), Libera Contro le Mafie (Italy), Sciences Po (France), S-Com (Belgium) with Net7 (Italy) and Tele Radio City scs Onlus (Italy), University of Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Universidade de Lisboa (Portugal), Universität Duisburg-Essen (Germany), Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore (Italy).