Building a knowledge-driven European Hub in Social Innovation Research

Social Innovation (SI) brings new ideas – products, services, models – that simultaneously meet social needs and create new social relationships or collaborations. They are not only good for society but also enhance society’s capacity to act. However, research in this emerging field is still scarce and fragmented, though in the last decade there has been an effort towards theoretical clarification and methodological advancement.

SOCIALinNOVA-Hub aims to strengthen the Social Innovation area in Europe and produce research that makes an impact in the real world.

Also, it aims to co-create SI initiatives with the community to tackle grand challenges, foster interdisciplinary research, help to consolidate R&I excellence in a sustainable way, while contributing to strengthen the European Research Area, and expand the SI network internationally.

Our team will develop high quality academic research on social innovation, while providing learning opportunities (to NOVA SBE students and beyond) and engaging local communities (through events and projects).

This project has received funding from the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement No. 951735.

Research with wider societal impact

The ERA Chair team wants to develop rich empirical knowledge and strong theoretical contributions on three main themes:

  • Cross-sector collaboration for social innovation
  • Open social innovation
  • Design and co-creation

We believe these are key in helping create innovative and sustainable solutions to the “wicked problems” / “grand challenges” our world is facing.

Our research centers on collaboration – in the context of open innovation and partnerships, across sectors, private, public, non-profit and society – innovation and design to develop social innovation that supports sustainable development. We seek to uncover the conditions that trigger and nurture the production of new ideas or new practices and how various technologies affect these activities.

Through our research process we aim to develop an ecosystem to co-create with local communities and international actors to support, participate and feature projects related to social innovation and sustainability.

What we have been doing

  • Recruitment of ERA Chair holder, Professor Anne-Laure Fayard, the Project Manager, Rita Nascimento, two Assistant Professors, one Research Assistant and one Post-doc;
  • Development of a dissemination and communication plan, as well as setup of the communication assets (branding, social media, website, etc.);
  • Definition of a research agenda and strategy;
  • Setup of DESIS lab and different initiatives (Social Innovator in Residence, Design Jam, ROSI group, qualitative methods workshop, Design Thinking for Social Innovation course, etc.);
  • Alignment with key internal stakeholders from the school and meetings with external stakeholders from the SI ecosystem;
  • Support the implementation of interdisciplinary research projects, through writing funding proposals and developing new partnerships;
  • Promote international networking opportunities (ex. International Advisory Board meeting, research seminars with top international researchers, etc.);
  • Perform research with national and international researchers and organizations.

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