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SI DRIVE: PROJECT KICKOFF AT SOZIALFORSCHUNGSSTELLE / TU DORTMUND

How do social innovations work, and how do they change society? These are questions the research project „Social Innovation – Driving Force of Social Change (SI Drive)“ is focusing on. More than 50 researchers from all over the world have met at Sozialforschungsstelle (sfs) for the project kickoff on February 17th and 18th. „SI Drive“ is the most prominent of three projects on social innovation in which sfs will be involved in during the next years.

How do social innovations work, and how do they change society? These are questions the research project „Social Innovation – Driving Force of Social Change (SI Drive)“ is focusing on. More than 50 researchers from all over the world have met at Sozialforschungsstelle (sfs) for the project kickoff on February 17th and 18th. „SI Drive“ is the most prominent of three projects on social innovation in which sfs will be involved in during the next years.

In the upcoming four years, sfs / TU Dortmund scientists and all project partners will conduct research on the diversity and characteristics of social innovations in different world regions. The project’s volume is 6,25 Mio. EUR. The consortium celebrated the kickoff together with Dortmund’s mayor Ullrich Sierau and Prof. Dirk Biermann, prorector for research at TU Dortmund, in the “Dortmunder U”.

 

On the emergence and diffusion of social innovations

The project „SI-Drive“ is pursuing ambitious goals. It combines impact-oriented and fundamental research. The project team will investigate how social innovations emerge in society, and how they diffuse. On the basis of these results, policy recommendations will be developed and discussed. In total, SI Drive will compile, systematize and analyze 1000 examples of social innovation. Well-known examples of such social innovations are the fair trade movement, car sharing initiatives and micro-credit instruments. „We are facing the great challenge of extracting rules of social innovations out of this sample and deducing opportunities of providing targeted support”, says Prof. Jürgen Howaldt, Director of Sozialforschungsstelle and scientific manager of „SI Drive“. In parallel, there will be theoretical and conceptional work on social innovations and their relation to social change.

 

A tour through Dortmund

On a local level, communities more and more recognize the significance of social innovations. On a guided tour through Dortmund, organized by the economic development agency (Wirtschaftsförderung Dortmund), the consortium visited sites representing “the old and the new Dortmund”.

SI Drive

Picture from left to right: Joachim Beyer (head of the center „Arbeit und Region“), Dr Christoph Kaletka (sfs management board member and project manager of SI-Drive), Prof. Jürgen Howaldt (Director of Sozialforschungsstelle and scientific manager of SI-Drive), Prof. Dirk Biermann (Prorector for research at TU Dortmund), Ullrich Sierau (mayor of the city of Dortmund), and Antonius Schröder (sfs management board member and project manager of SI-Drive). Photo: Dr. Ralf Kopp/sfs