HEIDI: Digital action at HEIs as a catalyst for social change in the COVID-19 crisis

Funding Source

European Commission, Erasmus+ British National Agency


Erasmus+ Key Action 2, Higher Education sector


March 2021 – May 2023 (27 months)


Citizen science, Social innovation,
Civic engagement,
Digital skills,Open access resource
Open course




The project aimed to improve the ability of Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to support community-driven action. The project fostered universities’ role in social change by enhancing staff and students’ expertise in community problem solving during the pandemic. In this context, HEIDI aimed to upskill HE staff and students towards more resilience and adaptation to change that could allow HEIs to become more responsive in shaping better societies during emergency situations.


Through digital action-related skills development, students and diverse community groups, including underrepresented citizen groups (e.g., migrants, refugees, women), the project aimed to offer HEIs a more central role in ongoing debates about social change and to situate them as part of the solution of the problems that surface with the pandemic.



Key project outcomes


●A study on drivers and barriers of higher education engagement in digital action as catalyst for social change for university staff and citizens.

●Methodological guidelines for the design, implementation and assessment of digital action.

●Report on hands-on digital actions with citizens and higher education staff and students.

●Digital actions for the upskilling of grassroot communities.

Framework for digital skills acquired in digital action contexts.

Guide to address needs and requirements for embracing bottom-up digital action in higher education practices.


● University College London (UK), coordinator
● Web2Learn (GR)
● Citizens in Power (CY)
● Universita ta Malta (MT)
● Université de Paris (FR)