New opportunities for social innovation at EU level
The European Commission has approved Sweden's application to establish a European competence centre for social innovation. Jönköping University and four other Swedish universities form the Forum for Social Innovation Sweden (MSI) and they will, together with actors from Spain, France and Latvia, gather and exchange knowledge within the realm of social innovation.
“Social innovation is a fairly broad and vague concept for many, but I am convinced that it will change now. Thanks to the European Social Fund, we have been able to finance social innovation over the years. Forum for Social Innovation, Reach for Change and “Inkludera” have now received funding from the Commission, which will help both us and actors around the country to develop social innovation within ESF +. I look forward to it,” says Håkan Forsberg, Director General of the Swedish ESF Council.
Social innovation is all about solutions which contribute to more people getting a better life, on a societal level. It does not always have to be an invention; it can also be something that can be used as a solution to a new problem or in a new situation.
The European Commission sees opportunities with social innovations that focus on solving societal challenges through cross-sectoral collaboration. That is why the Commission is now investing in strengthening its work and development through cooperation between countries within the EU. Several European consortia have been approved and allocated EU funds.
Develop social innovation
For two years and until the end of June 2023, the actors in the four countries will gather knowledge and develop social innovation. Ecosystems with their strengths and weaknesses will be mapped, one to two social innovation projects will be scaled up, tools and methods for building capacity for social innovation will be developed and shared, and finally the countries will work out national strategies and activity plans. One goal is to find common solutions to post-pandemic challenges.
"We are becoming a visible player”
Sweden's path to a European competence centre went through the Swedish ESF Council, which in the autumn appointed Forum for Social Innovation (MSI) at five universities across the country. Jönköping University works together with Malmö University, Örebro University, Umeå University and Luleå University of Technology, in partnership with Reach for Change and “Inkludera”. Since last autumn, work has been underway to form a European consortium. Sweden will cooperate with Spain, together with France and Latvia.
“A modern society, in constant change, sets high demands on new solutions where people's needs can be met. Through new ideas and methods, JU, together with several other universities, will contribute to national and international development through social innovations. This is another message of strength for the activities conducted at JU,” says Agneta Marell, President of Jönköping University.
More information about social innovation and MSI at Jönköping University