Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

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 EU countries and 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. 

2020 theme: Reimagine Fashion - changing behaviours for sustainable fashion

The 2020 competition, Reimagine Fashion, is calling for ideas and ventures that aim to improve the environmental and social impact of the European fashion market through the development of new products, services and processes, and innovative business models.

The innovations should aim to reduce the overall environmental footprint and improve the societal impact of the fashion market, help make it more accessible and fairer, and aspire to change behaviours in a sustainable way. Solutions should clearly aim to deliver impact, pursue sustainability, and be scalable or replicable post-competition - at local, national or European level. Further background on the theme of the competition is available on the EUSIC website.

We're looking for ideas from one or more of the fields listed below and we encourage solutions that address several of these areas through a systems perspective.

  1. Solutions for sustainable use and consumption
    • Change consumption patterns and behaviours regarding the linear use of ‘fast’ fashion
    • Extend the life cycle of fashion products
    • Reduce the use and consumption of fashion and textiles through innovative business models in favour of reuse, upcycling and sharing
    • Make sustainable and fair fashion more broadly accessible 
    • Stimulate socially inclusive processes throughout the fashion value chain 
  2. Solutions for sustainable production
    • Net zero waste and climate neutral fashion and textiles production 
    • Closed loop fashion and textiles systems 
    • Sourcing of alternative, sustainable feedstock 
    • Innovative techniques that build on traditional or local crafts for socially sustainable products 
    • Innovations that reduce the environmental footprint of the fashion market 
  3. Solutions for improving the end of life stage
    • Environmentally and socially respectful ways of recycling textiles, while maintaining their value 
    • Reuse of textile by-products before they become waste 

The competition process

The competition has three 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 will be invited to take part in a 'Social Innovation Academy' in The Netherlands in July 2020 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 three final winners will be announced and receive a prize of €50,000 each.

Phase 3: In 2021, the competition amongst the 30 semi-finalists will be re-opened and will award the 2020 project that will have 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 of experts.

Timeline of the competition

  • Launch of the competition: 20 January 2020
  • Launch event: 12 February 2020, Valencia Spain
  • Deadline to submit an entry: 4 March 2020 (noon, CET)
  • Announcement of the 30 semi-finalists: 4 May 2020
  • Social innovation academy for semi-finalists: second week of July 2020, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  • Submission of detailed plans by semi-finalists: 20 August 2019
  • Announcement of the finalists: September 2020
  • Awards ceremony: 26 November 2020

The competition 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 ends on 4 March 2020, noon (CET).

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

The competition for the impact prize 2020 will be re-opened in the coming months. 2019 semi-finalists will be contacted directly by the competition organisers with more information on the steps to take.

2020 Finalists

  • Airwear by Fairbrics (France) Fairbrics
    • A technology that converts the CO2 emitted during fabric manufacturing into new synthetic fabrics.
  • Kleiderly | Converting Clothing (Germany)
    • A start-up that turns recycled clothes into durable material used to make a range of products, from furniture to suitcases.
  • MycoTEX (Netherlands)
    • An innovation to make custom-made clothes using a sustainable fabric made from mycelium, a substance found in mushroom roots.
  • Post Carbon Fashion: Photosynthetic Coating (United Kingdom)
    • Zero-waste and regenerative dyeing and coating services for textile applications through microbiological processes.
  • resortecs® (Belgium)
    • Dissolvable stitching thread and heat-dismountable rivets that help make the reuse and recycling textile products easier.
  • ROND - CO2 reduced soles from discarded fabric (Denmark)
    • Sweat and shock absorbent insoles made from fibers upcycled from discarded textiles.
  • Senstile - Digitalizing textiles (Spain)
    • A search engine that identifies, matches, and compares textiles digitally and at scale.
  • Snake (Croatia)
    • A digital commerce platform which applies augmented reality and enables development of digital fashion by changing the way fashion is consumed.
  • The first Lyocell hemp fibre: Hempcell™ (Germany)
    • A start-up that promotes premium European Hemp Lyocell fibres as a viable and sustainable textile alternative.
  • WhyWeCraft: Cultural Sustainability in Fashion (Romania)
    • Artisan-designer collaborations focused on reviving heritage European textile crafts.

See more about the finalists.

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 2020 website.

For questions about the competition, please email: info@socialinnovationprize.eu