Carlos Moedas, the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation was presented with The Lisbon Declaration, a set of 10 policy ideas for how the EU can promote social innovation, on 6 November at the Web Summit tech conference in Lisbon.

Prepared by the Social Innovation Community (project funded under H2020) and entitled Social Innovation as a Path to a Sustainable, Resilient and Inclusive Europe, the Declaration sets out three principles, five priorities and 10 practical ideas that outline how the EU can build on the world-leading practices it has established over the last decade to make social innovation a core part of its strategy in the 2021-2027 period.

According to Moedas, ‘Innovation today is about purpose, about doing something that can fulfil you as a human being. In the European Union, we are going to put more money into social innovation, not because it’s trendy, but because we believe that the future of innovation is about social innovation.’

The five priorities identified by the Social Innovation Community which Europe should address include:

  1. Making funding suitable for small-scale experimentation, spreading and scaling impact
  2. Enabling citizens and civil society to lead local change initiatives through community-led innovation
  3. Strengthening the capacity, skills and incentives for public officials and policymakers to support and draw on (citizen-led) social innovation
  4. Making public procurement an instrument of social innovation policy
  5. Prioritising the spreading of social innovation to regions where it is needed most

Tackling these priorities requires action by Member States and regions, primarily, and by the EU in accordance with the subsidiarity principle. In this Declaration, the Social Innovation Community offers 10 policy recommendations to support social innovation for a fairer, more resilient and inclusive Europe in the context of the next Multiannual Financial Framework for the period 2021-2027:

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 support 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).

The full declaration can be read at