Interview of Jorge Canovas who is project Advisor for the European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).

What is the European Innovation Council and what is its mandate?

Jorge Canovas: The European Innovation Council (EIC), established under the EU Horizon Europe programme, is Europe’s flagship innovation programme to identify, develop and scale up breakthrough technologies and game changing innovations. It has a budget of €10.1 billion to support game changing innovations throughout their lifecycle from early-stage research, to proof of concept, technology transfer, and the financing and scale up of start-ups and SMEs. It is managed by the EIC and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA), the same Agency responsible for the implementation of the EIC Prizes.

What is your definition of social innovation?

Jorge Canovas: Social innovations are new ideas that meet social needs, create social relationships, and form new collaborations. These innovations can be products, services or models addressing unmet needs more effectively. Social innovations are innovations that are social in both; their ends and their means. They are innovations that are not only good for society but also enhance individuals’ capacity to act.

What is the European Social Innovation Competition and who can apply?

Jorge Canovas: The European Social Innovation Competition (EUSIC) is a competition that supports social innovators to develop their ideas into working solutions. It was launched in 2013 and every year it awards 3 winners with € 50 000 each. Moreover, 15 finalists are invited to attend the Social Innovation Academia, where they will receive coaching and mentoring to help them scale their innovations. Any natural person or legal entity can apply to the category, as long as:

  • They are located in an EU Member State or an Associated Country to Horizon Europe
  • The proposed solutions or activities contained in the application must have taken place in a Member State (including overseas countries and territories, OCTs) or in an Associated Country to Horizon Europe.

The deadline to apply is May 30th. You can find all the information here.

What is the theme of this year’s edition?

Jorge Canovas: EUSIC 2023 will focus on ‘Fighting energy poverty’ – Repower EU. The competition will look for technological and non-technological social innovations which will contribute to fighting energy poverty and, consequently, will have a positive impact on citizens’ lives and local prosperity. Against this background, the competition will support proposed solutions coming from social innovators to fight energy poverty in the broadest sense. Therefore, they can focus for example on aspects related to monitoring, awareness raising, specific target groups, pricing models, production, consumption and energy savings, renovations, energy community or joint investments, among others.