Call reference: VP/2020/010 - Compentence centres for social innovation


The impact assessment for the ESF+ Regulation proposal showed that under the ESF (2014-2020) activities related to social innovation are concentrated in a relatively small number of countries and even when  operational  programmes allocate budget to social innovation, spending tends to lag behind the expectations. In addition, this impact assessment found that currently the ESF has unexploited potential for scaling-upinnovative projects financed under the EaSI Programme. One of the main reasons is that promoting social innovation requires specific capacities and knowledge,not only incommunicating the concept of social  innovation,but  also in empowering  and connecting social innovation initiatives, through the provision of suitable examples, tools and methodologies. Therefore,the full potential of ESF+ in supporting social innovation can be better reaped if the key social  innovation stakeholders, notably ESF Managing Authorities, funders and donors, intermediaries, social  innovation initiators and practitioners are supported by professional independent expertise to:
  • Create an environment for inspiring, assisting, encouraging and empowering stakeholders so that they make better use of the opportunities, benefits and success factors of specific social  innovations. This  includes a) collecting, assessing and providing support in applying/adapting  suitable tools, methods, examples, models and practices, and by b) promoting networking and mutual learning.
  • Facilitate the mainstreaming of successfully tested innovative approaches (or partnerships). This  involves a) assisting social innovation initiatives in validating, documenting and communicating their approach and experience, b) creating a basis to diffuse successful  models funded  previously under EaSI or other Union programmes beyond or under the ESF+ through the replication or adaption of the  approach to the specific national/regional context.
This  call is to finance the delivery of this expert support to Managing Authorities and national ecosystems for social innovation, by what is called “the national competence centre for social innovation”.


To support the establishment, development and professionalism of organisations that do or can assume the function of a social innovation competence centre in an EU Member State. Their main functions would be:
  • capacity building
  • transnational transfer of knowledge
  • creation of synergies
  • networking


  • Drawing a comprehensive overview of the social innovation ecosystem synthesising the visions, needs, opportunities and priorities of relevant social innovation stakeholders and promoters,in order to produce a shared strategy and action plan for boosting social innovation in a Member State, including under the ESF+;
  • Collecting, validating, mapping, and communicating suitable and successful tools and methods, approaches and models, practices and inspiring examples, through social media, web platforms, conferences and seminars;
  • Organising awareness and inspirational actions for social innovation promoters;
  • Providing guidance, coaching, mentoring and training in applying/ adapting suitable tools and methods and practices to social innovation promoters;
  • Creating and facilitating (thematic) networks of social innovation promoters, academics  and  local bodies to speed up mutual learning and exchanging good practices;
  • Facilitating and assisting the development of (new forms/new combinations) of community-led/citizen-controlled finance for pursuing social innovations;
  • Continuously monitoring and assessing public support towards social innovation, and drafting  recommendations for improving the responsiveness, effectiveness and governance of public policy towards social innovation;
  • Providing guidance, coaching, mentoring and training to less experienced competence centres, and assist them in mutual learning and exchanging good practices;
  • Sharing suitable and successful tools and methods, approaches and models, examples and practices and inspiring examples with other competence centres.


The total budget earmarked for the EU co-financing of projects under this call is estimated at 5 million €.
The Commission expects to fund 7-9 proposals. Under this call for proposals, the EU grant may not exceed 80% of the total eligible costs of the action.

Deadline for submission

15 October 2020

More detailed information

including call documents, can be obtained here.