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European Social Innovation Competition

The 2016 Social Innovation Competition focuses on social innovation for refugees and migrants. The call for entries closed on 8 April 2016, and 1095 ideas were received. The semi-finalists of the competition will be announced in early June, and the three prizes of €50,000 will be awarded in late October 2016.

2016 theme: Integrated Futures

The European Commission called for innovations in products, technologies, services and models that can support the integration of refugees and migrants. Innovations can relate to any aspect of the reception and integration process including, but not limited to, ideas around:

  • education and skills development
  • employment and entrepreneurship
  • access to appropriate housing and health services
  • safety and human rights
  • community cohesion and cultural diversity.

Applications that are led by or have been co-created with refugees and migrants were encouraged.

Theme background

Europe has recently witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of refugees and migrants travelling to the continent with more than a million new arrivals.

This unprecedented inflow of people, many of whom are vulnerable individuals seeking international protection, presents a challenge across Europe not only in terms of their immediate reception, but also with regard to their long-term integration into society.

Throughout history, common values and the collective identity of Europe have been shaped by the help of the diversity of its people. The shift in population and migration represents not only a challenge but also an opportunity to build new inclusive communities and to grow Europe’s economy.

Many refugees and migrants have the potential to be the next entrepreneurs and innovators, but without the right support, their skills can be wasted and they may become marginalised.

Innovative and creative approaches are needed to realise the potential of refugees and migrants. This year’s competition is therefore entitled Integrated Futures.

For more background on innovative and effective approaches to migrant integration, read through the series Beyond Crisis: Migrant Integration on the Social Innovation Europe platform.

How to enter the competition

The competition was open to individuals, groups and organisations across the European Union and in countries participating in the European Horizon 2020 programme (see listpdf Choose translations of the previous link ).

It is governed by the following rules of contest, which may be specified through the FAQs. A template of the entry form is also available for information. 

The competition process

The competition is organised in two phases:

Phase 1: Out of the 1095 entries received, 30 semi-finalists will be selected to receive mentoring support and progress their ideas. They will be invited to take part in the Social Innovation Academy, and to network with other European organisations and potential partners in their field of activity. The names of the semi-finalists will be announced in early June 2016.

Phase 2: Out of the 30 semi-finalists, 10 finalists will be invited to the Awards Ceremony where the 3 final winners will receive a prize of €50,000 each.

In order to select the best entries throughout the competition, the European Commission is supported by an external jurypdf Choose translations of the previous link  (316 KB) made up of 12 experts.

Timeline of the competition:

  • Launch of the competition: 25 February 2016, Amsterdam
  • Deadline to submit an entry: 8 April 2016, 12:00:00 (noon, Brussels time)
  • 1st jury meeting in Brussels: 31 May 2016
  • Announcement of the 30 semi-finalists: 3 June 2016 
  • Social Innovation Academy for semi-finalists: 4-5-6 July 2016, Berlin 
  • Submission of detailed plan by semi-finalists: 2 September 2016 (tbc)
  • 2nd jury meeting in Brussels: 27 September 2016 (tbc)
  • Announcement of the finalists: 30 September 2016 (tbc)
  • Awards Ceremony: 27 October 2016, Brussels (tbc)

Competition background

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


Follow our #diogochallenge journey on Twitter: @EUSocialInnov.

For questions about the competition, please email: