The second social innovation competition in Poland

The second social innovation competition in Poland

22.06.2014 Blog

Over one year ago I posted information on the first social innovation in Poland. This year the second competition is going on.  National Centre for Research and Development (NCRD) announced Social Innovation Program of support for the science sector, the economic environment and the NGO sector in making and implementing innovative activities and social initiatives, based on the achievements of science and technology. The program is designed for individuals who take actions to stimulate social development and improving the quality of life of the society, with particular emphasis on those groups and areas where there is a special need for innovative solutions and making new social initiatives.

The initiators of the competition construe social innovation as both socially justifiable, technical and technological innovations as well as pure social innovation. The category of technical and technological innovations includes solutions that are particularly related to the adaptation of the product to the needs of specific customers such as residents in Polish regions that are poorly served. The category includes social innovation and strict solutions that relate to such problems of seniors, the disabled and the unemployed, i.e. groups that need support from the state and society. Projects that are implemented through the programme should clearly indicate the social context and define the problem, how to solve it, and indicate a cause-effect relationship between the design and a particular social problem.

Existing good practice in the promotion of social innovation includes taking action on sustainable education, sustainable transport, promotion of active and healthy aging, and support for the disabled and the unemployed. Examples of social innovation include facilitating cooperation, interbank funding, innovative investments, innovative architecture or communications where highly advanced technologies and especially ICT solutions are often used.

In both competition in 2013 and 2014 years, the competition was open to consortia that include at least one academic unit and at least one entrepreneur or at least two research units. The formation of the consortium depends on the type of project. In addition, each consortium should include a mandatory non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a legal personality and established in the territory of the Republic of Poland. In 2014 edition it is also assumed that  NGO is obligatory the consortium leader.

This year the call for proposals was open from 10th February 2014 and ended on 26 March 2014. The NCRD informed that in the second competition Social Innovation 242 proposals was submitted. The value of project grants ranges from a minimum value of 50 000 Polish zloty (around 12 000 Euros) to a maximum of 1 000 000 zloty (around 240 000 Euros). The Social Innovation Programme is funded by the public as part of the National Centre for Research and Development. Total worth of the 2014 proposals exceeds 232 million zloty (roughly 60 mln of Euros), but the total requested funding is approximately 203 million zloty and declared by NGOs and entrepreneurs own contribution amounts to more than 29 million zloty. The competition is rather strong because the overall support of NCRD is 10 mln of zloty, i.e., roughly twenty times smaller than total requested funds.

After the first selection, 90 applications received positive formal evaluation, 17 applications received negative assessment from formal point of view, 2 applications were withdrawn, and 135 applications were sent for correction. The final contest is scheduled for the autumn of 2014.