The European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC), funded by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe, aims at raising awareness about social innovation across a wide audience, sparking the creation of new socially innovative ideas, creating a network of like-minded practitioners and supporting finalists to transform their ideas into structured businesses. This year’s challenge concerns social innovation in “Digital democracy”.

Iliana Ivanova, Commissioner for Innovation, Research, Culture, Education and Youth, announced the launch of the prize during the opening of the European Youth Week.

The Commissioner said that “social innovation in digital democracy can significantly improve the lives of vulnerable citizens and benefit EU society. With this year’s challenge, the European Social Innovation Competition aims to reward innovations that identify and tackle disinformation, connect actors in emerging democratic practices, build grassroots communities and strengthen civil society through participation and open technologies.”

Launched in 2013 in memory of social innovation pioneer Diogo Vasconcelos, the European Social Innovation Competition features three prizes of €75.000, €50.000 and €25.000, awarded to the first, second and third ranked, for the best social innovation projects designed to change the world for the better.

This competition is open, among others, to non-profit and for-profit organisations such as entrepreneurs and social enterprises, Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs), Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), educational institutions and universities. Social innovators from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon Europe may apply. A jury of independent experts will evaluate the applications considering the following criteria:

  • Degree of innovation: the degree to which any new product, service and/or organisational or business model is new for its given context in connection to the challenge of the competition. The idea must be new and innovative within its given socio-economic and geographical context.
  • Usability and inclusiveness: whether the proposed solution is easy to use and affordable, and can engage the largest part of EU citizens, irrespective of their background or digital skills.
  • Positive social impact: the potential of the proposal to tackle the competition challenge, fostering collaboration and partnerships with relevant stakeholders. The applicant must demonstrate how the proposed solution will contribute to solving this year’s challenge.
  • Viability and sustainability: the financial and environmental sustainability of the proposal, including a sustainability plan to make the solution durable in the medium- or long-term.
  • Scalability and replicability: the idea's potential to scale and be replicated across sectors, governance levels or at regional, national, European, or global level.
  • Decentralisation and governance: improvements in transparency and accountability (while respecting privacy and/or anonymity).

Further details and exceptions are available in the rules of contest.

The European Social Innovation Competition is open for applications until 11 June 2024 (17:00:00 CET) on the Funding & Tenders’ portal.

The European Social Innovation Competition is supported by the European Innovation Council (EIC) under Horizon Europe, the EU’s research and innovation programme. Its goal is to stimulate the potential of social innovation to provide solutions to societal challenges and to foster sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe. This competition looks for new entrepreneurial solutions responding to the most burning social needs, creating social relationships, and enabling new collaborations in an innovative way and bringing effective solutions to systemic social challenges.

EUSIC is one of the five EIC Prizes granted under Horizon Europe. While the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency manages the prize, applications are assessed by independent experts.