The ESF Social Innovation+ initiative aims to facilitate the transfer and upscaling of innovative solutions to the societal challenges of today. Through supporting transnational cooperation, the initiative aims to expand best practices in fields including employment, education, skills and social inclusion across Europe.
Administered through indirect management (i.e. implemented by an ESF agency on behalf of the European Commission), ESF Social Innovation+ has a budget of €197 million to correspond to the 2021-2027 programming period.
Following a call for expression of interest, the Lithuanian European Social Fund Agency (ESFA) was selected to become the entrusted entity for the indirect management of the initiative during the 2021-2027 period. The first activities of the initiative are expected to commence in the second half of 2022, following the formalisation of ESFA’s administrative role.
The initiative will be implemented through two work streams:
- Social innovation grant scheme
The initiative will launch EU-level calls for proposals. These will be aimed at supporting transnational projects that facilitate transfer and/ or scaling up of social innovations. This will include several types of action. Some projects will conceptualise and validate tested approaches, some will help to roll out validated models across Europe, others will help the social innovation support organisations to improve their capacities.
- European Competence Centre for Social Innovation
Under this initiative, a European Competence Centre for Social Innovation will be created. The Centre will offer mutual learning, capacity building and networking activities for ESF+ Managing Authorities and other relevant stakeholders. It will collect, assess, develop, validate and disseminate suitable tools and methods for social innovation- such as the European Social Innovation database. The Centre will work in close cooperation with the National Competence Centres for Social Innovation, and will continue the work of the Communities of Practice on Employment, education and skills, Social inclusion and Social Innovation.