CONNECT-01 Funding Programme
Project no. 01096524
Duration of the project: 16 January 2023 – 15 January 2025 (24 months)

It is now widely accepted in Europe that we need new approaches if we are to tackle the systemic and urgent societal challenges we face – traditional technological or business innovation alone are not sufficient. ‘Social’ must be part of the bigger innovation picture.

With significant support from the European Commission, social innovation is currently well embedded in several policy agendas and funding streams.  There are hundreds of social innovation centres, university research teams, accelerators and educational courses, labs, accelerators and incubators of all kinds, as well as a great number  of toolkits presenting the various innovation approaches and methodologies that can be applied by students and established practitioners alike.  

Despite this success, the full potential of social innovation remains untapped. Different project reports and academic papers published in the past five years have pointed to several interconnected barriers hindering social innovation initiatives.

The Project ´Change Hubs for Ecosystemic Social Solutions´ (CHESS) has highlighted the following challenges that merit critical attention:

  • Social innovation lacks access to finance, scaling models, and qualified personnel and is not applied enough
  • Social innovators act in silos and are not integrated into the wider innovation ecosystems
  • Social innovation toolkits are plentiful, but there is a lack of record about the tools’ effectiveness and pertinence

The CHESS project tackles the above challenges with the following objectives:

  1. Integrate social innovation conceptual and practice models to address concrete and locally palpable societal challenges
  2. Ensure the interlinking and connection of SI actors with broader innovation ecosystems at local and European levels
  3. Test and further develop existing innovation approaches and toolkits, focusing on lessons learned from their applications in tackling societal challenges and achieving financial sustainability

Consortium Partners:

Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI) – Slovenia (Coordinator)

Project Ahead SC (PJA) – Italy

Europos Socialinio Fondo Agentura (ESFA) – Lithuania

Ethniko Kentro Erevnas Kai Technologikis Anaptyxis (CERTH) – Greece

Technische Universität Dortmund (TUDO) – Germany

International Society for Professional Innovation Management (ISPIM) – UK

The Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) – UK

Coordinator’s Contact:

Euro-Mediterranean University (EMUNI)

E-mail: info@emuni.si

Funding Agency:

Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA). Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.