Background to the competence centres
The session will showcase the "National Competence Centres for social innovation" and their relevance for regions and cities. This initiative is innovative in itself, and represents a bold attempt at enhancing innovation within the main Cohesion Policy fund responsible for social inclusion and employment – the ESF+. In 2020, the Commission (DG Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion) launched a call to set up national structures that will act as competence centres for social innovation. This call resulted in the selection of six consortia, each covering 4 to 6 Member States on average, and consisting of a wealth of organisations - public and private, national or local, from the academic and social entreprise sectors - and much more.
Starting in May 2021 and running for two years, the consortia will work on setting up national competence centres, provide expert support to ESF+ (1) managing authorities (2) and national ecosystems, and maximise the potential of ESF+ to support social innovation. Activities carried out by the centres will include capacity building, networking, mutual learning and information sharing.
Purpose and outline of the session
Starting with a short presentation of the competence centre project, the rationale behind it and its main objectives, the Commission will moderate an exchange of views between 3 to 4 members of the consortia, each contributing, in their own way, to bringing the local and/or regional perspective to the project. With the help of project partners from all across the EU, with diverse backgrounds and expectations, we hope to raise awareness of the project, and encourage its take-up at all levels.
The audience will be prompted to ask questions and contribute with their own experience throughout the session; however, a dedicated Q&A session is planned for the end.
(1) The European Social Fund + (ESF+) is the EU’s main instrument for investing in people. With a total budget of ca. €99 billion for 2021-2027, the ESF+ will contribute to the EU’s employment, social, education and skills policies, including structural reforms in these areas. https://ec.europa.eu/european-social-fund-plus/en
(2) Managing authorities are the public bodies responsible for providing information, selecting projects and monitoring the implementation of ESF (future ESF+) projects.