Call for Proposals for Competence Centres for Social Innovation

The process for receiving the endorsement of the ESF Managing Authority in relation to the Call for Proposals for Competence Centres for Social Innovation is now complete. Genio and Rethink Ireland have been endorsed as the most suitable and competent national organisations for the purposes of the call. The ESF Managing Authority would like to thank all parties for their interest in the call.

(European Social Fund and European Programme for Employment and Social Innovation)

This Call will fund the development and establishment of national competence centres, their activities to promote social innovation in the country (in particular by assisting stakeholders in the design, implementation and scaling up of successful innovative actions), and mutual learning, as well as mentoring of less advanced centres by more experienced ones combined with networking between the different competence centres and other key stakeholders.  

Applications must involve consortia with applicants from at least two Member States. The Call requires the ESF Managing Authority of each Member State to either participate in the consortia or endorse the most suitable and competent national organisation(s), following a transparent and prompt process.   The competence centre does not have to be a single organisation but can be formed by a network of several organisations.

If selected by the Commission, the organisation/network will be entrusted to act as a national competence centre for social innovation, notably to support innovative projects and public authorities under ESF+, through offering information, knowledge and know-how through providing advice, guidance and training, and through organising networking and mutual learning at national and European levels.

Organisation(s) (properly established and registered legal entities) must have the financial and operational capacity to complete the activities envisaged by the Call.  Lead applicants must have demonstrable competence, capacities and achievements in supporting social innovation in the past 4 years. In particular, this must include experience in applying dedicated tools and methods in inspiring, mobilising, empowering, facilitating, networking, evaluating, transferring, scaling-up social innovation initiatives, or innovative social enterprises.  Co-applicants must have experience in the promotion of social innovation or in a related area such as civil society development, social entrepreneurship, community-led local social and economic development, or social finance. They must have demonstrable experience in promoting social innovation, social economy or social enterprises/social entrepreneurship, or civil society development in related areas in the past 3 years.  In addition,

  • the project coordinator must have 3 years of proven transnational project management activities
  • at least one expert working for the lead applicant should have a minimum of 5 years experience in the area of social innovation, from the project implementation or the policy side and
  • at least one expert per consortium needs to have minimum 3 years of experience in replication, transfer or mainstreaming of social innovations.

The ESF Managing Authority is liaising with the Department of Rural and Community Development on the endorsement of the most suitable and competent organisation/network. A collaborative approach is envisaged to facilitate the development of a shared strategy and action plan to support social innovation in Ireland. Discussions have commenced with key organisations and any organisations wishing to participate on a collaborative basis should contact by Wednesday 26th August setting out their organisation’s eligibility, financial and operational capacity in line with the requirements in the Call as well as their particular competence in the types of activities that can be funded. It is intended to hold a facilitation process in early September to agree the network of organisations which will form the competence centre and to identify the lead Irish applicant for the purpose of the Call.

Further information on the Call for Proposals is available on the European Commission website.