NEWS31 March 2010

EU backs mobile app for policy participation with £2.4m grant

Europe Technology

UK— A multi-million pound grant has been awarded to Brunel Business School to lead the development of a mobile phone application designed to encourage greater participation in government policy-making.

The UbiPOL project (it stands for Ubiquitous Participation in Policy Making) is pursuing a ‘push-pull’ system, with mobile phone users able to pull information they need about their local area (pinpointed using a phone’s GPRS locater) while also being able to feed information back to policy makers.

Project leads see applications for the technology in addressing transport, planning and environmental issues. Users could, for instance, flag a problem road with a ‘yellow card’, with multiple yellow cards helping create ‘red zones’ that need to be addressed by local councils.

Brunel’s Habin Lee says: “Research has shown that one of the reasons that citizens are demotivated is an ignorance about relevant policies and the policy making process in governments. However, the more they find connections between their usual life activities and relevant policies, the more they become proactive or motivated to be involved.”

The three-year project has received £2.4m in funding from the European Union. Once developed the technology will be tested in the UK and Turkey.