The Centre for Social Innovation – Connecting Research and Application for 20 Years
The WBC-INCO.NET project is coordinated by the Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI), an independent scientific institution based in Vienna, Austria. Established as a private non-profit association under Austrian law in 1990, ZSI has meanwhile become Austria’s largest private social science institute with over 60 employees. It is currently involved in 44 projects, and is among the most successful Austrian applicants in the 7th Framework Programme.
- Posted on: 11.11.2010
“In the beginning, our aim was to develop interesting scientific research with great ambitions. Today, ZSI aims to re-organise research in a new and forward-looking way, but also to expand the current definition of innovation by including the concept of social innovation”, the institute’s founder and scientific director Prof. Josef Hochgerner explains.
In a nutshell, social innovation denotes new ways to meet social challenges and comprises improvements compared to non-existent or previous solutions. Each of ZSI’s three departments focuses on different aspects of social innovation: “Work and Equal Opportunities”, “Research Policy and Development and “Technology and Knowledge”. Each one of them connects its scientific basis with practical applications such as education, advisory and networking services, providing an interface across scientific disciplines and sectors.
ZSI’s work in transdisciplinary projects is geared towards policies concerning research, technological and social development, innovation processes, and particularly socio-economic objectives:
■ to support a socially, ecologically and economically sustainable development of the information society,
■ to facilitate social, cultural and economic integration in Europe,
■ to participate in the preparation and implementation of the European Research Area (ERA) and
■ to develop infrastructures, effectiveness and internationalisation of social sciences.
Focus on South East Europe
The ZSI coordinates several projects with a focus on South East Europe and especially on the integration of researchers from the WBCs into the ERA, such as SEE-ERA.NET PLUS and WINS-ICT. It also operates the Austrian Science and Research Liaison Office Ljubljana on behalf of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research.