Centrum für soziale Investitionen und Innovationen | Centre for Social Investment
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CrESSI – Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation in Europe

  • Duration: February 2014 - January 2018
  • Funded by: European Commission (FP-7)
  • Research agenda: Theory development and empirical testing (qualitative and quantitative design) of the relation between marginalization and social innovation
  • Objective: Understanding economic foundations, measurement approaches, relation to technological innovations, policies and lifecycles of social innovations; recommendations for policies, development of teaching material
  • Contact: Thomas Scheuerle (CSI Heidelberg)

The project aims to understand how politics and (civil) society can improve the living conditions and well-being of marginalized populations in the European Union. In an international consortium with universities and research institutes from Oxford (coordination), Budapest, Delft, Greifswald, Pavia, Tampere und Wien, we want to examine how social innovations can address marginalization. Theoretic foundations are Amartya Sen’s capability approach, German sociologist Jens Beckert’s Social Grid Model, and the framework of societal power sources by historic sociologist Michael Mann. The CSI is responsible for the coordination and conduction of several case studies as well as the analysis of life cycles of social innovation.

More information to be found at CrESSI-Project website. If you like to receive our CrESSI-Newsletter, please subscribe here: CrESSI-Newsletter.


ITSSOIN – The Impact of the Third Sector as Social Innovation

    • Duration: March 2014 - March 2017
    • Founded by: European Commission (FP-7)
    • Research Agenda: Examination of social Innovations as contribution of the Third Sector on societal developments.
    • Objective: Verifying the impact of the Third Sector on socio-economic developments in Europe.
    • Contact: Stina Preuß (CSI Heidelberg)

    The ITSSOIN project – funded by the European Commission – is based on the assumption that the impact of the third sector on socio-economic development in Europe can be captured by investigating its role in creating social innovation. The project will explore the impact of the third sector and civic engagement on society as a whole, focusing on the role of social innovation in developing this impact. Based on an empirical portrait of the Third Sector in nine countries, the project will explore the influence of structural characteristics of non-profit organizations and civic engagement on social innovations. Thereby ITSSOIN will focus on organizations (properties and practices) and context conditions (discourses and policy frameworks). The fields to be investigated will include: culture & arts; social services; health care; environmental sustainability; consumer protection; work integration; and community development.

    More information can be found at the ITSSOIN-Project website.



TEPSIE - Growing Social Inovation

  • Duration: January 2012 - January 2015
  • Funded by: European Commission (FP-7)
  • Research agenda: Theory, empirical capturing and policy in the context ofSocial Innovation
  • Objective: Investigating theoretical and practical foundations of Social Innovation
  • Contact:Gunnar Glänzel (CSI Heidelberg)

Social innovation has become a buzzword. Nevertheless, there is a widely perceived consensus that its potential is far from being utilized to the full and that social problems both in Europe and worldwide are all but solved. We are in urgent need for more effective and efficient strategies to problems such as the growing gap between the rich and the poor, environmental degradation and climate change, ageing populations and the multiplicity of tensions and conflicts that arise in pluralistic societies. Innovative solutions often do exist, but they are scattered and often small-scale. What is needed is a comprehensive and concerted effort dedicated to growing social innovation.

More information to be found at TEPSIE-Project website



BeDSI - The Behavioural Dimension of Social Investment

  • Duration: December 2012 - 31.08.2015
  • Funded by Heidelberg University's Innovation Fund "FRONTIER" (Federal Excellence Initiative)
  • In cooperation with Heidelberg University's Alfred-Weber-Institut for Economics, Prof. Dr. Christiane Schwieren
  • Contact: Dr. Robert Münscher (CSI Heidelberg)

How do variables of human decision-making affect the success of social purpose organisations? The project addresses core problems of modern social purpose organisations by connecting experimental behavioural economics to governance problems and sustainability issues in the social sector. We explore the potential of recent behavioural insights into choice architectures for improving the effectiveness of problem-solving in the non-profit world....more


Case study series on the generation of social impact by nonprofit organizations (ABN AMRO research cooperation)

  • Duration: October 2012 – December 2013 (first phase)
  • Agenda: To conduct a series of case studies on nonprofit organizations in Europe, aimed at furthering theoretical and practical knowledge on the generation of social impact in different field of activity.
  • Funded by: ABN AMRO Private Banking
  • Contact: Thomas Scheuerle | Ekkehard Thümler

ABN AMRO and the Centre for Social Investment of Heidelberg University established this research cooperation project in 2012. One of the main outcomes is a series on case studies on European nonprofit organizations, with a particular focus on issues of the generation of social impact. The project is divided into two streams...more.

Current Debates and Developments in the Nonprofit-Sector
A collaborative project of CSI and HSoG

This joint research project run by the Hertie School of Governance and Heidelberg University‘s Centre for Social Investment is the product of many years of cooperative research between the two institutions. The aim of this collaboration is to make a meaningful academic contribution to current debates and developments within the non-profi t sector. This involves ...more

International Research Symposium:
“Governance and Leadership in Hybrid Organizations”

  • Date: December 5-6, 2011
  • Funded by: Stiftung Volkswagen
  • Contact: Gorgi Krlev (CSI Heidelberg)

Hybridity has become a widely discussed subject lately, with Social Entrepreneurship as one of its most prominent examples. Ever more organizations seem to be described insufficiently by applying ‘traditional’ logics of the three sector model, subdividing society into three distinct spheres: the market, the state and civil society. An increasing number of organizations perceptibly mix and merge traits from ...more


Entrepreneurship in the Social Sphere

  • Duration: Duration: June 2010 - June 2012
  • Funded by: Mercator Foundation
  • Contact: Thomas Scheuerle und Björn Schmitz (CSI Heidelberg)

The research on social enterpreneur phenomenon has gained more relevance and attention in recent years. Social entrepreneurs act in an entrepreneurial fashion; however they do not seek profit primarily, but rather the fulfillment of social responsibilities. Unlike purely charitable organisations, they prove that such activity can indeed be profitable insofar as they finance part of...read more

Strategies for Impact in Education (SIE)

  • Duration: Duration: March 2009 - December 2011
  • Funded by: Mercator Foundation
  • Contact: Ekkehard Thümler (CSI Heidelberg)

Education is one of the most meaningful fields of action for European foundations. Over a long period of time many different projects have been launched in this field working with diverse approaches and methods. However, so far we have no scientifically confirmed results telling...read more


Governance of Hybrid Organizations

  • Duration: June 2008 - October 2010
  • Funded by: FRONTIER programme of the University of Heidelberg
  • Contact: Gunnar Glänzel (CSI Heidelberg)

Hybrid forms of organizations combine elements of private, public, forprofit and nonprofit organizations with entrepreneurial, managerial and administrative orientations. The increased presence of hybrids reflects basic changes in the institutional infrastructure of modern societies and the blurring of the boundaries between the roles of government, business and civil society...read more

 Hybride Organisationen

Qualification and Civic Engagement

  • Duration: November 2008 - October 2010
  • Funded by: Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth
  • Contact: Dr. Georg Mildenberger (CSI Heidelberg)

The research project "Qualification and Civic Engagement" seeks to identify how volunteering in Germany can be exploited and developed in its depth and breadth to meet societal standards and potentials. The existing training options for volunteering are seen as a promising point of departure. The basic hypothesis is that...more


Strategies for Impact in Philanthropy (SIP)

  • Duration: From January 2007 - December 2009
  • Funded by: King Baudouin Foundation, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Stiftelsen Riksbanken Jubileumsfond, Compagnia di San Paolo
  • Contact: Ekkehard Thümler (CSI Heidelberg)

For their future development, European foundations must develop high leverage strategies since other players - such as from the nonprofit sector, the market or the state - have a significantly larger share in the markets in which foundations operate...read more

 Strategies for Impact

Citizens as Entrepreneurs for the Future - Civic Engagement of and for the Elderly

  • Duration: January 2009 - December 2015
  • Funded by: Generali Zukunftsfonds (GZF)
  • Contact: Dr. Konstantin Kehl (CSI Heidelberg)

A broad discussion focussing on the societal relevance of volunteering in Germany has gained momentum for some years. Families, the state, the market as well as the third sector are challenged by social, economic and political developments that exceed the conventional capacity to solve problems. The ageing of society in the present context poses a social problem that...more

Civil Society in Figures

  • Duration: From January 2009 - February 2011
  • Initiated and funded by the Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft, Bertelsmann Foundation, Fritz-Thyssen Foundation
  • Contact: Norman Spengler (CSI Heidelberg)

Although civil society has become a central topic in academia and politics, it has been captured only to a small degree in terms of empirical research. The figures at hand refer mostly to specific sub domains such as the so-called third sector or aspects of...read more

 Zivilgesellschaft in Zahlen

SONG - Netzwerk: Soziales neu gestalten

  • Duration: till September 2008
  • Funded by: Bertelsmann Stiftung, Bank für Sozialwirtschaft, Bremer Heimstiftung, Caritas Betriebsführungs- und Trägergesellschaft mbH, Stiftung Liebenau, Evangelisches Johanneswerk e.V.
  • Contact: Dr. Konstantin Kehl (CSI Heidelberg)

The goal of this project is to determine Social Return on Investment (SROI), following the concept laid out by the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund (REDF). The REDF's SROI concept seeks to quantify the individual economic as well as socio-economic costs and returns of the activities of social institutions. Purely qualitative aspects - such as improved living standards - that escape quantification ...read more


European Foundation Projekt

  • Duration: till November 2008
  • Funded by: European Union (Domestic Market Comittee)
  • Contact Dr. Tobias Vahlpahl

The feasibility study is a part of the overall European Company Law and Corporate Governance review of the European Commission and it follows several public consultations on the matter. The objective of the study is to provide an overview of the main regulatory differences as regards foundations in Member States and an inventory of the main internal market barriers for foundations, as well as an estimation of the costs triggered by such obstacles...read more

 Europäische Stiftung

Professionelles Sozialmanagement zwischen Akademisierung und diakonischer Identität

Additional information in German


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