Social Innovation Research in Horizon 2020

14.06.2013 Blog

The WILCO project has published a position paper as input for the discussions on Horizon2020. The paper is endorsed by four other European research projects (INNOSERV, LIPSE, TEPSIE and CSEYHP), showing that the views and concerns expressed in the paper are widely shared.

European Union-funded research can play a crucial role in encouraging social innovation. There is hardly any other funder that supports comparative research on this scale, Moreover, the European Union encourages both academic excellence and practical application of the results, whereas other funders tend to lean heavily towards the former (e.g. national science foundations) or the latter (businesses and governments). This is why the choices made in Horizon2020 are so crucial.

The paper makes five recommendations to the European Union:

1. To devote sufficient funds for social innovation in Horizon 2020, including funds for transfer and dissemination.

2. To involve all stakeholders (the scientific community, civil society and the public and private sectors) in identifying and defining research topics on social innovation.

3. To address at least the following key themes in its research funding:
- The clarification of the relationship between technological and social innovation.
- The impact and outcomes of social innovations on urgent problems in contemporary society.
- The measurement and evaluation of social innovations. 
- The link between research and capacity building.

4. To encourage more collaboration, both between European Union-funded projects and between academics and practitioners.

5. To increase the flexibility within projects, to allow project managers more scope for responding to stakeholders and addressing emerging needs on an on-going basis.

The paper and recommendations are the outcome of a process of collaboration between various European research consortia. On February 1, 2013, representatives of several projects came together to discuss the potential for collaboration and to determine where we stand. As part of this effort the European Commission, in collaboration with the WILCO project, commissioned a study to map the state of the art of the current projects.  The recommendations presented here are the outcome of the study and of discussions during and following this seminar. Read more here