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ELIF Launches Call for Community-Led Social Innovation Projects 

Jul 9, 2024 | News

The European Local Innovation Forum (ELIF), hosted by the European Association for Innovation in Local Development (AEIDL), is excited to announce a call for projects showcasing Community-Led Social Innovations (CLSI) across the EU. This initiative aims to highlight and promote inspiring examples, culminating in the launch of a CLSI network during ELIF’s online event in November 2024. 

The importance of Community-Led Social Innovation 

In today’s world, multiple crises affect our living and working conditions. Social innovation and experimentation are vital tools in tackling contemporary issues such as the transition to a low-carbon economy, digital transformation, demographic changes, and social inequalities. CLSI plays a crucial role in developing and implementing new solutions to address specific local needs, creating sustainable and systemic positive changes. 

CLSI projects are initiated and led by local communities, emphasising the “from community, for community” approach. They prioritise local involvement and empowerment, developing solutions tailored to local contexts that can potentially be adapted and scaled up to benefit other regions. 

Armelle Ledan, social innovation expert at AEIDL explains: ‘Social innovation, a powerful way to address burning societal challenges faced today, often emerges at the local level. Looking closer at innovative solutions led by local communities (CLSI) can help local actors having similar needs to connect, exchange, and mutually support each other to find and adapt new solutions to different contexts.’ 

Call for inspiring CLSI practices 

AEIDL invites submissions of inspiring CLSI projects that address unmet local social needs with innovative solutions. Topics are open and can range from energy poverty and migrant integration to youth social inclusion and rural care services. You can find the full call document here.

Patricia Martinez, co-lead of ELIF’s CLSI thematic community, says ‘CLSI seeks to create a collaborative network to identify, share, and learn from community-led social innovation experiences to facilitate knowledge exchange and support the scaling-up and transfer of successful experiences between local actors across Europe.’ 

Benefits for applicants 

Participants will gain significant visibility for their projects by showcasing their work at CLSI’s online event and through its communication channels. Alexandra Yaghil, social innovation expert at AEIDL, says ‘We really hope this call will be a first step in increasing awareness of CLSI and take such initiatives to the next level. This exposure can enhance the visibility of their projects and help them to attract potential partners, funding organisations, and even develop new initiatives.’ 

Successful applicants will have the opportunity to enhance their team’s skills and knowledge through future ELIF CLSI events, gaining insights into cutting-edge social innovation practices from across Europe and engaging in peer exchanges and learning from local innovation experts. Contributing to this initiative also helps strengthen the voice of local actors in social innovation, influencing policies to support them. 

Submission guidelines 

The deadline for submissions is 16th September 2024 at 17h00 CET, with the final selection of projects to be communicated by 11th October 2024.  

Applications must be submitted online via the provided link and should be in English or include an English executive summary. This call is open to projects from the EU-27 countries and can include transnational initiatives.  

Join us in showcasing and advancing community-led social innovations across Europe.