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Social Innovation Community (SIC)


Key words: innovation, networks, knowledge

Projektlaufzeit: 01.01.2016 - 31.12.2018


Project funding:

European Commission


Project description (short):

Taking areas of known social innovation activity - which we’ve organised around ‘social innovation networks’ - SIC will strengthen, connect and grow existing social innovation communities - including public sector innovation, digital social innovation, intermediaries, social economy actors and more.


Co-operation partners:

  • AEIDL (project coordinator)

  • UNIBO (University of Bologna)

  • YF (The Young Foundation)

  • Nesta

  • SIL (Social Innovation Lab)

  • DRIFT (The Dutch Research Institute for Transitions)

  • Sinnergiak UPV/EHU

  • ZSI (Zentrum für Soziale Innovation)

  • DTI (The Danish Technological Institute)


  • SIX (Social Innovation Exchange)

Project goals :

  1. Engaging and connecting with a diverse range of social innovation stakeholders and networks to create a truly inclusive social innovation community. This community will reach out beyond the usual suspects to networks and stakeholders who work in the field of social innovation but do not necessarily self-identify with the multi-faceted and fast evolving concept.
  2. Creating a framework for a common understanding of social innovation, including past trends, the latest evidence and emerging methodologies in order to identify future priority areas.
  3. Testing new approaches to social innovation by supporting and promoting grassroots and institutional experiments, in particular cross-sector and transnational collaborations in locally defined priority areas.
  4. Promoting social innovation learning among practitioners, policymakers and researchers by using participatory learning processes, enabling reflection on practice, and developing and sharing models, tools and other resources of best practice.
  5. Supporting policymakers at European and other levels to design policies and other measures to support social innovation by making evidence-based recommendations and linking policymakers to practitioners, citizens and the latest research.
  6. Co-creating a vision and strategy for the social innovation community that takes into account short, mid, and long-term goals and evaluating its impact in order to ensure its benefits are sustained in the longer term.
  7. Disseminating a new SI innovation culture that links open and participatory learning processes to solving social.


Project description (long):

Developing an enabling environment for social innovation that links actions across the whole field and supports the full exploitation of their potential is vital to addressing societal challenges both in Europe and globally. While there is increasing interest for social innovation as a means of addressing societal challenges, there is also considerable variation in the extent to which different countries and regions have embraced social innovation. There are many research and policy projects and incubation and acceleration programmes with valuable outcomes but these are still largely disconnected. Thus, the overarching aim of this project is to create a ‘network of networks’ of social innovation actors. This Social Innovation Community (SIC) will identify, engage and connect actors including researchers, social innovators, citizens, policy-makers, as well as intermediaries, businesses, civil society organisations and public sector employees.

Through our cross-cutting Work Packages, we will deliver engagement, research, experimentation, learning and policy activities that engage with and support each of the networks. We will ensure that our cross-cutting activities are complementary and build on each other’s work, rather than operating in silos. As such, this SIC aims to deepen and strengthen existing networks, forge new connections between networks, and create new links to actors and networks which hitherto have not been included in the field of social innovation. The aims of such a community are to generate new social innovations, develop and scale up successful ideas to share and spread knowledge more effectively in order to improve research, practice and policymaking. By creating an enabling environment for social innovation, the project will improve the overall framework conditions for social innovation in Europe. This in turn will support the creation of opportunities for growth and for overcoming the current social and economic crisis affecting much of Europe.


Methodological approach:

SIC has seven different Work Packages:

WP1 Engagement and Dissemination: hosting the Network Facilitators and carrying out cross-cutting activities to support the development of the Social Innovation Community, such as managing the digital platform, organising community-wide events and overseeing coordination.

WP2 Research: stock-taking and linking ongoing social innovation research activities in Europe and beyond, facilitating research discussions in / with the SI networks to increase the impact of research results, identifying, highlighting and encouraging discussion on the most pertinent topics, better understanding and improving the role of SI research in SI practice.

WP3 Experimentation: putting research into practice by setting up a programme of practical experiments, working directly with a range of areas/regions to define problems and support social innovators to develop and scale up solutions.

WP4 Learning: developing frameworks for learning from practice, so that social innovation actors from the SIC Networks can improve and strengthen their actions.

WP5 Policy: taking learning and evidence from across WPs and Networks and engaging with policymakers to show how social innovation can support their goals, and how they can support SI.

WP6 Strategy Development and Impact Measurement: monitoring the impact of the SIC and setting out a strategy for sustaining the benefits and activities of the SIC beyond the project lifetime.

WP7 Project Management: ensuring project management and governance are robust and that the project is delivered on time, to budget and to a high quality.


    Research area:

    Labour and Education in Europe



    This link will lead you to the homepage of the Social Innovation Community (SIC)

    Project leadership

    Foto von Dr. Christoph Kaletka Dr. Christoph Kaletka,

    Telefon: +49 231 755-90287