Competence centres for social innovation

EU funding opportunities

European Social Fund and European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation launched a call for proposals aimed at supporting the establishment and development of organisations that do or can assume the function of a social innovation competence centre in an EU Member State.

Their main functions would be:

Capacity building: to build capacities of key social innovation stakeholders, notably ESF Managing Authorities, funders and donors, intermediaries, social innovation initiatives and practitioners alike.

Transnational transfer of knowledge: know-how and tools for the support to social innovation from ESF Managing Authorities, social innovation competence centres and social innovation stakeholders with a long-standing and deep experience, to organisations in Member States with a less comprehensive experience and competence in this field.

Creation of synergies: to create further synergies between the EaSI Programme and the ESF, especially in view of designing, supporting, monitoring and mainstreaming innovative actions that could be extended, enlarged and/or replicated using ESF+ funding in subsequent years.

Networking: to network and cooperate with other selected competence centres, using mutual learning as well as by jointly developing, assessing, and optimising suitable tools and methods, and collecting and disseminating inspiring examples, models and practices.

Type of actions

The types of activities to be funded under this call for proposals may include:

  • Drawing a comprehensive overview of the social innovation ecosystem synthesising the visions, needs, opportunities and priorities of relevant social innovation stakeholders and promoters, in order to produce a shared strategy and action plan for boosting social innovation in a Member State, including under the ESF+;
  • Collecting, validating, mapping, and communicating suitable and successful tools and methods, approaches and models, practices and inspiring examples, through social media, web platforms, conferences and seminars;
  • Organising awareness and inspirational actions for social innovation promoters;
  • Providing guidance, coaching, mentoring and training in applying/ adapting suitable tools and methods and practices to social innovation promoters;
  • Creating and facilitating (thematic) networks of social innovation promoters, academics and local bodies to speed up mutual learning and exchanging good practices;
  • Facilitating and assisting the development of new forms of community-led/citizen-controlled finance for pursuing social innovations;
  • Continuously monitoring and assessing public support towards social innovation, and drafting recommendations for improving the responsiveness, effectiveness and governance of public policy towards social innovation;
  • Providing guidance, coaching, mentoring and training to less experienced competence centres, and assist them in mutual learning and exchanging good practices;
  • Sharing suitable and successful tools and methods, approaches and models, examples and practices and inspiring examples with other competence centres.


To be eligible, the consortium must include a lead applicant and at least one co-applicant, coming from at least two EU Member States. For every EU Member State covered, the consortium must include at least one Managing Authority of the European Social Fund or a (public or private) entity with an endorsement from the national Managing Authority confirming that it will recognise it as competence centre for social innovation for that EU Member State.

Available Budget and project duration

The total budget for the EU co-financing of projects under this call is estimated at EUR 5 million. The Commission expects to fund 7- 9 proposals.

Under this call for proposals, the EU grant may not exceed 80% of the total eligible costs of the action.

The indicative duration of the project should be 24 months.


Deadline for submissions and official documentation

Deadline for submitting applications is 15/10/2020

More information and official documentation can be found here

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