Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Specific Challenge: The specific challenge of this activity is to stimulate and support the establishment of a 'Social Innovation Community' of researchers, social innovators, end users (citizens) and policy-makers. Since the launch of the Innovation Union Flagship initiative in 2010, many actions have developed in the area of social innovation involving research and “hands on” innovation[1]. However many related actions in the field may appear disconnected and not fully exploit the possibilities offered by more effective communication and dissemination means. This could limit the policy uptake of research results. What is needed is to better link research to practice, develop joint methods and concepts in the area of social innovation research and provide a common space for gathering evidence and identifying new areas for social innovation take up in various fields.

Scope:  The scope is that of creating a Community, involving social innovators, researchers, citizens, policy makers, which will bring together on the one hand research actions and results and on the other implementation actions, new initiatives, and policy developments. It will systematically provide evidence and create greater synergies between EU-funded social innovation activities and related EU policies. It will help promote social innovation initiatives throughout Europe, increase relevance of policies and actions, and contribute to the development of a common understanding of the necessary framework conditions and related socio-economic implications of social innovation policies, activities and initiatives in Europe and beyond.

 Within the scope of the action are evidence and methodologies that contribute to social innovation up-scaling. This does not concern only European but also international developments. Such a social innovation community could be seen also as a “network of networks”. In particular the Community will take account of existing networks and platforms in the field, and build upon and expand existing coordination actions with active communities of practices and related stakeholders.

Activities should include:

− the organisation of brokerage events to enhance the networking of on-going research and experimentation projects and other activities in the area of social innovation to enhance, inter alia, a cross-project understanding of the concept of social innovation;

− information and awareness activities through the gathering of researchers and various stakeholders, including civil society organisations, citizens' groups, private actors, policy-makers, user groups and other networks;

− design strategies/activities for ensuring the best possible use of the research results and setting up of a mix of dissemination tools targeting different stakeholders at EU, national and local level;

− the organisation of events aimed at identifying priorities for collaboration and research gaps and needs, and enhancing the quality, quantity and visibility of future actions in the area of social innovation;

− supporting grassroots experiments, replication, incubation and policy uptake of research results ('up-scaling');

− setting up of a network of 'Local Facilitators' for a better dissemination and uptake at all levels.

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of EUR 3 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected impact: The 'Social Innovation Community' will enable convergence towards a common understanding of social innovation as a tool and outcome. It will help to provide more effective measures and a better use of resources. The Community will facilitate the policy uptake of research results and experimentation activities. Evidence-based policy-making will be strengthened by supporting learning processes of 'what works'/'what does not work' and under what conditions. This will contribute to more social innovation initiatives from the ground, new possibilities for up-scaling of small social innovation experiments, and new tools of policy making in the field, thereby accelerating social innovation for growth.

Type of action: Coordination and support actions

[1]  <cite></cite>.

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