European Policy Review on Social Innovation by Dr Abid Mehmood

8 January 2018

Glamorgan Building
Glamorgan Building

Dr Abid Mehmood, Research Fellow at Sustainable Places Research Institute and the School of Social Sciences, has produced a policy paper for the European Commission; ‘Social Innovation as a Trigger for Transformations - The Role of Research’.

Co-authored with Prof Frank Moulaert (KU Leuven), Dr Diana MacCallum (Curtin University) and Dr Bernhard Leubolt (WU Vienna), the report sets priorities for social innovation research to strengthen the position of Social Sciences and Humanities (SSH) in the contemporary and future European research and policy landscape.

The report was announced on 27 November by the European Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation at the conference ‘Opening up to an Era of Social Innovation’ in Lisbon.

The policy review considers social innovation as a way of understanding a wide range of activities and practices for addressing social problems or meeting human needs. Social innovation policy should support economically and socially marginalised and, consequently, vulnerable people as productive economic actors with an emphasis on individual empowerment.

The report proposes giving prominence to the epistemological and methodological research in European SSH. It also recommends redefining the terms of cooperation between social sciences and the so-called ‘hard sciences’, acknowledging the long-standing contribution of social sciences in inter- and trans-disciplinary research.

The authors recommend that a future research programme should focus on a fully developed and separate set of ‘Societal Challenges’ on the future of democracies, societies and economies, and construction of solidarities beyond national borders.

The full report can be viewed at