Innovation should benefit everyone. The next EU budget must support social innovation.

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  1. Launched 2018
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The signatories of this petition endorse The Lisbon Declaration: Social Innovation as a Path to a Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Europe and call on policymakers in the European Union and member countries to implement its ten policy recommendations.

Over the past year, the Social Innovation Community project asked people working in social innovation all over Europe about how EU policy could enable them achieve an even bigger impact. More than 350 people from 19 member countries contributed. The Lisbon Declaration on Social Innovation is produced from these contributions, ideas and priorities. We thank everyone who has helped us produce the Declaration, and look forward to working together as a community to see the proposals implemented.


Innovation touches the lives of all of Europe’s people. New technologies, products and ways of doing things can improve our quality of life, and help tackle our greatest challenges. But innovations are not always good - they can sometimes be exclusionary, or at worst, can deepen existing inequalities.

EU policymakers are currently negotiating Europe’s long-term budget. The EU is a significant funder and supporter of innovation. For example, it is currently proposing to spend £100bn on its next Research and Innovation framework programme, and a further £100bn on European Social Fund Plus. This presents an important opportunity for Europe’s growing social innovation community to shape the future direction of European policy.

The vision of the Lisbon Declaration on Social Innovation is to put openness, democratization and inclusivity at the heart of innovation. It recognises the contribution of civil society, non-state actors, local communities and mainstream innovators in addressing challenges that matter to Europe’s people, such as climate change.

In the context of the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027, we call on the EU and member countries to:

A Make social innovation a cross-cutting priority in all EU policies and programmes, by:

1.Creating a cross-service European Social Innovation Action Plan

2.Using the EU Multiannual Financial Framework budget and its key instruments to create longer-term investment and strategic support for social innovation across all EU policies and instruments

3.Creating a new European Observatory of Social Innovation Policy to mainstream and monitor the performance of cross-cutting social innovation policy approaches to help to achieve a “social triple A” for Europe

4.Helping develop the evidence ecosystem for social innovation in Europe by establishing a pan-European network of evidence centres focusing on ‘what works’ in tackling social challenges

B Use strategic partnerships between EU, national and regional authorities to unleash the power of communities to drive change, including smaller organisations, by:

5.Launching a Europe-wide initiative to expand the number of regional social innovation support organisations by 2027

6.Designing a package of supports instruments to enable the creation of locally-controlled asset-based community bodies in all European Member States by 2027

7.Establishing Social Innovation “Diogo Vasconcelos” Fellowships for people developing local change initiatives

8.Setting up a strategic initiative to better enable smaller socially focused organisations, enterprises and facilitators to access EU funding

C Foster social innovation in the public sector, by:

9.Embedding social innovation actors in governments and public-sector bodies through a new “Innovate4Europe” initiative;

10.Establishing ‘Public Procurement Pathfinders’ to connect government agencies with social innovation actors (including civic start-ups, social innovation-focused SMEs or social economy players).

This Declaration was initially endorsed by the following organisations:

  • Nesta (UK)
  • AEIDL - the European Association for Information on Local Development (BE)
  • Reves Network (EU)
  • Technical University of Dortmund (DE)
  • Social Innovation Exchange (UK)
  • The Young Foundation (YF)
  • University of the Basque Country (ES)
  • Dutch Research Institute for Transitions (NL)
  • Danish Technological Institute (DK)
  • University of Bologna - Alma Mater Studiorum (IT)
  • Social Innovation Lab (HR)
  • ZSI – Centre for Social Innovation (AT)
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  • EU policymakers are negotiating Europe’s next long-term budget. Sign the #SIDeclaration (!kzxln) today to tell them that Europe needs innovation to benefit everyone.

    While industries like pharmaceuticals and automotive are good at getting decision-makers’ attention, the social innovation community - a broad movement of people and organisations innovating for public benefit - often has less influence. We want this to change.

    Over the past year, we have asked people working in social innovation all over Europe about how EU policy could enable them achieve an even bigger impact. We heard from more than 350 people from 19 member countries.

    You told us you wanted a Europe where civil society, non-state actors and local communities... further

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