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Researchers from TU Dortmund University discuss social innovation in Brazil: Giving start to a German-Brazilian exchange project

Prof. Dr. Jürgen Howaldt, Dmitri Domanski, Hendrik Lager and Marthe Zirngiebl travelled to Porto Alegre (Brazil) to meet their Brazilian partners from the university UNISINOS and initiate a bilateral co-operation in social innovation research. Within the next two years, they will be working together on the topic of “Social Innovation in Collaborative Projects”, an initiative funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Brazilian federal government agency CAPES.


Building on the methodological concept of the five key dimensions of social innovation (Concepts; Needs and Challenges; Actors and Governance; Process Dynamics; Resources and Competences), which was developed and put into practice by the EU funded project SI-DRIVE, the partners will be exploring collaborative projects in the field of social innovation. Prof. Dr. Claudia Bitencourt is leading the project at UNISINOS.

Prof. Dr. Howaldt and his team visited the new campus of UNISINOS in Porto Alegre as well as the University’s technological park TECHNOSINOS in Sao Leopoldo. They discussed the meaning of social and technological innovation for the region, their interaction as a part of an integrated understanding of innovation and the role of universities. Conversations with researchers from different areas demonstrated the importance of inter and transdisciplinary work in the field of social innovation.

In the framework of “Social Innovation in Collaborative Projects”, there will be several visits of German and Brazilian partners to their respective co-operation country. While the exchange project will deepen bilateral co-operation through joint case studies and face-to-face meetings, the partners can build on the successful experiences in the past. Among other things, researchers from Dortmund contributed with an article to the special issue “Researching, defining and theorizing social innovation“ co-edited by Prof. Dr. Bitencourt. For their part, researchers from UNISINOS presented their work at the SI-DRIVE Workshop “Social Innovation and its Research” in Rio de Janeiro.

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