University of Bologna develops ePolicy, an innovative political participation tool

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Engineering the Policy-making Life Cycle or ePolicy is a computational model which supports policy makers throughout all the steps of policy-making.

ePolicy is the outcome of a European project co-funded by the European Commission through the FP7 programme. The project was coordinated by Michela Milano, Professor at the University of Bologna.
The model has already been successfully adopted by Emilia-Romagna and regional governments in Piedmont. It has also been successfully used by the Regional Agency for Environmental Protection in the Emilia-Romagna region (ARPA) for its evaluation of the energetic and environmental sectors in 2011-2013.

The project was launched in 2011 and brought together nine partners across five European countries. ePolicy supports political decisions through an integrated system of open source software that is able to assess the impact of environmental, economic and social policies. The system evaluates the policies related to renewable energy (e.g. subsidies, de-taxations, green certifications) by using the Energy Plan of the Region of Emilia-Romagna as a case study.

ePolicy combines global perspectives and individual opinions. The system presents an advanced interface that can be used easily by both politicians and stakeholders. The tool is structured in three modules. The first is the planning module, used to generate alternative regional plans and to evaluate economic and environmental impact. The second is the design module, supporting the developing of incentives and subsidies. The third one is the opinion mining module, which is able to evaluate the social impact of alternative plans.

The University of Bologna is now finalising a partnership with the Scottish Government, which aims at implementing ePolicy in Scottish public administration.

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