Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


IMPROVE — Result In Brief

Project ID: 290613
Funded under: FP7-SSH
Country: Belgium
Domain: Society

A new look at social policy to combat poverty

Rethinking social policy to reduce poverty and documenting related practices in Europe have enlightened policymakers and supported them in considering new, more innovative polices to address this press issue.
A new look at social policy to combat poverty
The quest to alleviate poverty in Europe and strengthen social policy in this regard is one of the EU’s most pressing priorities. With this in mind, the EU-funded IMPROVE (Poverty Reduction in Europe: Social policy and innovation) project brought together 12 leading research institutes to study poverty, social policy and social innovation. The project sought to upgrade European policymaking through better research that targets policy makers and improving knowledge exchange in the field.

As part of its preparatory research to build its work on, the project team noted that prior to the economic crisis there was little progress in addressing poverty in Europe. It found, however, that new social policies and initiatives in national welfare schemes have recently emerged to promote social innovation. These developments raised two important issues: how to achieve social cohesion in Europe and how to reinforce macro-level policies through social innovation.

To answer these questions, IMPROVE assessed the impact of the economic crisis and of austerity on poverty and inequality. It looked at how institutionalised macro level social policies overlap with local initiatives on social innovation, supporting new indicators related to gauging poverty and protecting minimum wage. The team also investigated hot topics linked to poverty, such as tax-benefit systems, child benefits, childcare provisions, migrants, Roma and young people.

Key project outcomes included reference budget cross-comparisons for six countries, mapping of minimum income protection schemes, new policy scenarios to meet EU 2020 social inclusion targets, and social innovation case-studies.

The project’s outcomes were published in several books, working papers and journal articles, in addition to being disseminated through conferences and events across Europe. Policymakers can benefit from this in-depth research and insightful conclusions to combat poverty in innovative ways and ultimately raise the standard of living in Europe.

Related information


Social policy, poverty, social innovation, minimum wage, social inclusion
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