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Guest article about the role of the TU Dortmund University in the field of social innovation

As a result of the project LASIN (Latin American Social Innovation Network), coordinated by the Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU), a book was published. The publication mainly revolves around the potential of Higher Education Institutions to engage in the field of social innovation. Dmitri Domanski and Sabrina Janz from the Sozialforschungsstelle Dortmund (sfs) contributed a chapter.

Latin American Social Innovation Network Results and Reflecions Book

The book, titled “LASIN – Results and Reflections” sums up the results of the Erasmus+ project “Latin American Social Innovation Network – LASIN” and was published in the end of September. Thereby, the development of so-called SISUs (Social Innovation Support Units) takes center stage. These SISUs aim at promoting knowledge exchange between Higher Education Institutions, non-university organizations and other stakeholders.

Besides that, different authors reflect on the connection between Higher Education Institutions and Social Innovation, elaborating on possibilities of knowledge exchange and experiences made in various social innovation projects. In this context, strengthening the university’s links with the wider social environment plays an important role. Altogether, eight Higher Education Institutions from Latin America are taking part in LASIN.

Both LASIN project partners and guest authors wrote articles for the book “LASIN – Results and Reflections”. Among the guest authors there are different researchers and other actors that are connected to the topic of social innovation. Dmitri Domanski and Sabrina Janz of TU Dortmund University contributed a chapter as well. Therein, central social innovation activities of TU Dortmund University are presented, such as the global research project SI-DRIVE and the mapping of social innovations that was carried out within its course. The mapping gets analyzed as for the engagement of Higher Education Institutions in different social innovation projects. The results show that the university sector plays a relatively small role when it comes to the development and diffusion of social innovations.

Two projects with engagement of TU Dortmund University take up this challenge, aiming at strengthening the connection between Higher Education Institutions and social innovations: “Social Innovation through Knowledge Exchange – SIKE” and “Students for Change – Social Entrepreneurship in Academia”.  Furthermore, the article reflects on the project study (“Projektstudium”), which is an innovative special two-semester course for students in the third year of the Bachelor degree program Rehabilitation Pedagogy. The course’s main objective is to teach competencies that enable students to find solutions for social matters by participating in a whole research circle.