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The Role of Philanthropy and Social Investments in Fostering Research and Innovation. New financing forms and partnerships.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - PhiSi (The Role of Philanthropy and Social Investments in Fostering Research and Innovation. New financing forms and partnerships.)

Reporting period: 2016-03-08 to 2016-09-07

European countries are in transition. Demographic changes, cultural and political developments at national as well as at European level trigger fundamental shifts in economic, social and political institutions. Europe is coping with societal challenges such as economic stagnation, youth unemployment, social cohesion and ethnic diversity. As a result, the transition urges the continuous innovations of governments, businesses and civic efforts to sustain Europe as a prosperous and democratic community. As a response to the economic challenge, the stimulation of growth and the creation of jobs in Europe has become a main priority. Research and innovation are important key factors to accelerate the European economy and in achieving these goals.

The European Foundations for Research and Innovation (EUFORI) Study presents an assessment of the contribution of European foundations to research and innovation. The study shows a significant annual contribution of foundations in stimulating research and innovation in the EU. Due to their independent position, their freedom of action and financial autonomy, foundations can play a unique role in society. The EUFORI Study also presents important examples of the significance of foundations in boosting research and innovation projects. The study demonstrates that foundations themselves are innovative in their modus operandi and are exploring new paths to giving. They become more and more accustomed to giving seed money to social enterprises and start-ups. Relatively new concepts and practices such as entrepreneurial philanthropy, social venturing and social investment are actively being explored by foundations.

The EU conference ‘The role of Philanthropy and Social Investments in Fostering Research and Innovation; New Forms of Financing and Partnerships’ (PHISI) - held on April 21-22 2016 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands - built on the results and recommendations of the EUFORI Study. This conference marked the beginning of a joint effort of the EU, business, and foundations to mobilize private investments in research and innovation in Europe. The conference aimed to bring different actors together to discuss new financing forms and possibilities for partnerships. One of the important questions that was addressed is how to close the collaboration triangle between the public sector, the commercial sector and the foundations. One of the outcomes of this conference is a longlist of possible (new) financial forms that may foster research and innovation in the European Union.

The conference brought together over 150 participants from a wide variety of European countries. For two days Amsterdam was a meeting place for foundations, policy makers, innovative philanthropic and social investors, social entrepreneurs, research institutes, financial intermediaries, corporations and researchers. In a beautiful ambiance in the oldest Zoo of the Netherlands, Natura Artis Magistra, the participants exchanged expertise on new forms of financing fostering research and innovation in Europe. They explored possibilities for partnerships and discussed how to close the collaboration triangle between foundations, the government and de business sector.
The EU conference ‘The role of Philanthropy and Social Investments in Fostering Research and Innovation; New Forms of Financing and Partnerships’ (PHISI) – was held on April 21-22 2016 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. In order to achieve the objectives of the conference, the following tasks (divided in 5 work packages) were performed during the period of this project:

Coordinating and monitoring the overall process for the organization and implementation of the conference on 21/22 April 2016 (WP1: Coordination and administration)
o Formation of project team
o Project meetings
o Administration and finance
o Activity reports

Developing a dissemination and communication strategy in order to raise awareness among key-stakeholders and to maximize the impact of the conference (WP2: Dissemination and communication strategy))
o Development of Dissemination and communication strategy
o Development of Visual Identity PhiSI
o Development of Website
o Communication activities before, during and after the conference

Ensuring the involvement of the most important key-stakeholders to the conference (WP3: Stakeholder’s management)
o Identification of key stakeholders and conference participants
o Identification of conference speakers

Ensuring a successful implementation of the Netherlands EU Presidency Associated Conference in Amsterdam on April 21/22 (WP4: Implementation Conference)
o Preparatory activities
o Sending a save the date, invitation, reminders
o Management of invitees
o Development of Conference programme

Achieving maximum and sustainable impact of the outcomes of the conference (WP5: follow-up activities)
o Creation of Conference report
o Creation of Short list with promising financing forms and partnerships

The results of the conference were published in an (online) conference report and will be disseminated to all participants of the conference as well as to key-stakeholders that were not able to attend the conference. The results will be made publicly on the conference website.

Further exploitation of the results; a short overview:
- Article about the results of the conference in Alliance magazine, on in newsletter of European Research Network on Philanthropy (ERNOP), on website EUA
- Article about the results of the EUFORI Study in the Foundation Review (vol 8, issue 1, March 2016)
- Presentation of members of coordinating team in events, conferences, meetings with key-stakeholders (e.g. presentation at the ISTR conference in Stockholm 2016)
Increased awareness and involvement of key stakeholders in the field of R&I
It is expected that the conference contribute to an increased awareness about the potential of philanthropic and social investments for R&I among different stakeholders. The conference gave the attendees, with backgrounds from investors from the philanthropic, public and commercial sector, a better understanding of each other’s approach. Sharing best practices on stimulating research and innovation in Europe by ‘innovative philanthropy’, social investments and risk finance stimulated information exchange, stakeholders involvement, out of the box thinking and ideas for new innovative financing forms.

New investments approaches and a common ground for future directions
Creating a shortlist with the most promising investment approaches and partnerships to further stimulate R&I in Europe was one of the follow-up activities of the conference. This shortlist could pave the way for a future European Charter on philanthropic/social investments fostering R&I, showing a common ground for future directions. Moreover, the conference set the stage for the design of a potential tailored financial instrument and could lead to the mandate and memberships of an Expert group on philanthropic and social investments.

Stimulation of joining forces
Bringing together high level stakeholders from different backgrounds will be an impetus for potential synergies, collaboration and partnerships.
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