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European Social Innovation Competition

European Social Innovation Competition

The European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC) 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. 

2019 theme: Challenging plastic waste

The European Social Innovation Competition is looking for ideas and projects that reduce plastic waste and littering through changing and improving existing processes or through introducing brand-new products and initiatives. These innovations need to reduce the amount of plastic waste created, or encourage and enable the greater re-use and recycling of plastic waste. Solutions should be scalable and target change at the systemic level: either locally, nationally or Europe wide, and be rooted in one of the following areas

  • Reducing the consumption of single-use plastic products
  • Recycling reusing, and upcycling existing plastic waste
  • Dealing with accumulated plastic waste in landfills and the environment
  • Changing consumer behaviours, retail and wider business practices to reduce levels of plastic waste and/or increase recycling and re-use
  • Implementing alternative business models and optimising supply chains to reduce plastic waste and/or increase recycling and re-use
  • Introducing new materials fit for a circular economy or that offer sustainable alternatives to fossil-based plastics

See more about the competition

The competition process

The competition has 3 phases.

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

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.

Phase 3: In 2020, the competition amongst the 30 semi-finalists will be re-opened and award the 2019 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

  • Launch of the competition: 28 February 2019, Ljubljana
  • Deadline to submit an entry: 4 April 2019 (noon, CEST)
  • 1st jury meeting in Brussels: 21 May 2019
  • Announcement of the 30 semi-finalists:  June 2019
  • Social innovation academy for semi-finalists: 16-18 July 2019, Turin
  • Submission of detailed plans by semi-finalists:  August 2019
  • 2nd jury meeting in Brussels: September 2019
  • Announcement of the finalists: September 2019
  • Awards ceremony: 24 October 2019, Brussels


European Social Innovation Competition 2019 - Timeline banner

The competition is now in progress. It is open to individuals, groups and organisations across the European Union and in countries participating in the European Horizon 2020 programme (see list). The application period ended on 4 April.

The competition is governed by the rules of contest below, these are specified in the FAQs.

The competition for the Impact Prize 2019 is also open. 2018 Semi-finalists will be contacted directly with more information on next steps by the competition organisers.

Competition background

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 2019 website.

For questions about the competition, please email: