Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

European Social Innovation Competition

European Social Innovation Competition

The European Social Innovation Competition is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all Horizon 2020 associated countries. Organised in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos, the Competition calls all Europeans to come up with solutions to the problems affecting our society. This year's competition was launched with an event in Paris on 20 March 2018.

2018 theme: Re:Think Local


EUSIC 2018 winners

The European Social Innovation Competition awards ceremony took place on 8 November. The winners are



Career Bus

Read more about the ceremony.

In recent years, the economy has been changing rapidly – there are many new ways to do business, use technology or work. In some regions and local communities, these changes have brought prosperity, in others, people are struggling to adapt and those who can are moving to seek jobs elsewhere. Yet, new technologies and ways of working have the potential to revitalise regions. Innovative solutions can build resilience within communities, address their specific needs and generate sustainable economic activity and employment opportunities. Young people must be involved, engaged and empowered to make the most of new opportunities and supported to develop the skills and capabilities to shape and lead the new economy.








The 2018 European Social Innovation Competition looked for ideas including, but not limited to:

  • Initiatives that use new technologies and ways of working to provide opportunities for youth within their local communities
  • Ideas that assist young people who wouldn’t otherwise have become innovators to create their own opportunities in their local environment
  • Ideas co-created with young people to respond to requirements in their local community for skills, experiences and opportunities
  • Solutions to improve the quality of life and financial security of young people in irregular work
  • Innovations that provide information, advice and guidance to young people so they can navigate their options in the new economy
  • Programmes that equip the next generation of workers with skills that allow young people to harness technological change

Ideas that are led by young people themselves were particularly encouraged.

The competition process

The competition had 3 phases:

Phase 1: Out of the total of eligible entries received by the deadline, 30 semi-finalists were selected to receive mentoring support and further progress their ideas. They were invited to take part in a Social Innovation Academy in Romania and to network with other European organisations and potential partners in their field.

Phase 2: Out of the 30 semi-finalists, 10 finalists were invited to the awards ceremony where the 3 final winners received a prize of €50,000 each (see the list of finalists). 

Phase 3: in 2019, the competition amongst the 30 semi-finalists will be re-opened and will award the 2018 project having achieved the most significant results with an impact prize of €50,000.

To select the best entries throughout the competition, the European Commission is supported by an external jury.

Timeline of the competition


Timeline for the Social Innovation Competition 2018

  • Launch of the competition: 20 March, Paris​
  • Deadline to submit an entry: 27 April 2018 (noon, Brussels Time)
  • 1st jury meeting in Brussels: 7 June 2018
  • Announcement of the 30 semi-finalists: 13 June 2018​
  • Social Innovation Academy for semi-finalists: 16-18 July 2018, Romania
  • Submission of detailed plans by semi-finalists: 30 August 2018​
  • 2nd jury meeting in Brussels: 11 September 2018​
  • Announcement of the finalists: 20 September 2018​
  • Awards ceremony8 November 2018​

Competition background

The competition is now closed for entries. It was open to individuals, groups and organisations across the EU and in countries participating in the European Horizon 2020 programme (see list).

The competition is governed by the rules of contest below, these are specified in the FAQs. All documents are still available for information purposes only.

The timeline for the re-opening of the Competition for the impact prize will be announced in early 2019.

The European Social Innovation Competition has been organised since 2012 in memory of Diogo Vasconcelos. Take a look at the previous competitions:

For more information

Follow our #diogochallenge journey on Twitter: @EUSocialInnov  or see the European Social Innovation Competition 2018 website.

For questions about the competition, please email: