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Innovation and Social Investment Programmes in Europe

O'Leary, Chris and Baines, Sue and Bailey, Gavin and McNeill, Tamara and Csoba, Judit and Sipos, Florian (2018) Innovation and Social Investment Programmes in Europe. European Policy Analysis, 4 (2). pp. 294-312. ISSN 2380-6567


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There is a lack of empirical research around sub‐national Social Investment programs, and a lack of connectivity with social innovation. This paper addresses these gaps by drawing on twenty individual case study evaluations, conducted across ten EU member states as part of a larger Horizon 2020 project (Innovative Social Investment: Strengthening communities in Europe, grant agreement number: 649189). It does so through a “governance of activation” lens. We find that volunteering was a significant feature of many of the cases we researched, as both a means of funding Social Investment, and a means by which activation (through the development of human and social capital) might be achieved. Yet volunteering is a gap in the theoretical literature around Social Investment, and one that needs to be addressed. We also find that examining Social Investment at the local level provides a much more nuanced and complex picture than nationally focused extant research.

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