European Social Innovation Competition: Foster Sustainable and Inclusive Growth in Europe

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Deadline: 4 April 2019

The European Social Innovation Competition is looking for ideas and projects that reduce plastic waste and littering through changing and improving existing processes or through introducing brand-new products and initiatives. The Competition calls all Europeans to come up with solutions to the problems affecting our society.

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The European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC) is a challenge prize run by the European Commission across all Horizon 2020 associated countries with the support of a consortium made up of Nesta, Kennisland, European Network of Living Labs, Ashoka and Scholz & Friends.

The Competition aims at stimulating social innovation’s potential to provide solutions to societal challenges and foster sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe. It will engage citizens, businesses (including start-ups) in a large range of sectors, as well as universities, business and engineering schools, thereby creating new connections, sources of growth and job opportunities.

These innovations need to reduce the amount of plastic waste created or encourage and enable the greater re-use and recycling of plastic waste solutions should be scalable and target change at the systemic level: either locally, nationally or Europe wide, and be rooted in one of the following areas:

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  • Reducing the consumption of single use plastic products
  • Recycling reusing, and upcycling existing plastic waste
  • Dealing with accumulated plastic waste in landfills and the environment
  • Changing consumer behaviours, retail and wider business practices to reduce levels of plastic waste and/or increase recycling and re-use
  • Implementing alternative business models and optimising supply chains to reduce plastic waste and/or increase recycling and re-use
  • Introducing new materials fit for a circular economy or that offer sustainable alternatives to fossil-based plastics

Prize Information

The Competition will support the winning solutions with cash prizes awarded in two steps:

  1. In 2019, it will award a challenge prize of 50,000 euros to each of the best 3 ideas, from those selected as finalists(i.e. indicatively 10);
  2. In 2020, it is expected to award 1 impact prize of 50,000 euros to the project which has achieved the most significant social impact amongst the 2019 semi-finalists and finalists (subject to the allocation of the required budget appropriations).

Award Criteria

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The challenge prizes will be awarded in 2019 to the 3 entries that best address the following cumulative criteria:

  • Degree of Innovation: The degree to which any new product, service or model addresses unmet needs more effectively. Critically, the idea must be new and innovative within its given socio-economic and geographical context;
    Impact: The potential of the proposed idea to tackle the issue outlined in the challenge statement. The entrant should demonstrate a clear definition of the problem their idea solves and of their target population, feeding into a well-elaborated theory of change;
    Sustainability: The financial and environmental sustainability of the idea, as well as the potential for adequacy and uptake stemming from the development of the idea carried out with users, from first concept, through testing, validation and business modelling;
    Scale: The idea’s growth potential and potential to scale and be replicated throughout Europe.

Eligibility Criteria

  • The competition is open to any legal entity (or natural persons) or group of legal entities, except public administrations, established in EU Member States or Associated countries to Horizon 2020.
  • Ideas and proposals from all sources, sectors and all types of organisations including for-profit, non-for-profit, or private companies are welcome. Applications involving several organisations and/or from various countries are possible.
  • If the United Kingdom withdraws from the EU during the contest period without concluding an agreement with the EU ensuring in particular that British applicants continue to be eligible, applicants will cease to be eligible to receive EU funding (while continuing, where possible, to participate).

How to Apply

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Applicants can apply via given website.

For further information, please visit

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