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The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF)

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The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF) is a new initiative designed to have significant impact on some of Europe's most pressing social challenges. The objective of the ESCF is to bring together public and private resources to improve social services to enable people who need support to live as valued and participating members of their communities.

The ESCF will provide financial and capacity building support to develop plans to scale proven social service innovations. It is anticipated that these plans will provide details of how public and private resources (philanthropy and/or social investment) can be brought together in a range of collaborations to help re-focus public spending in a more effective direction in the interest of European citizens. It is intended that during the project a further phase will be designed, based on learning obtained, which will include a focus on supporting implementation of plans to scale proven social service innovations.

The ESCF has been established and co-funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Genio, the Robert Bosch Stiftung and the King Baudouin Foundation. It will award planning grants across a range of priority social challenge areas within, or across, European Union Member States. The purpose of the grants is to support the development of detailed implementation plans aimed at reducing, or overcoming, social challenges. Innovations will be identified through a pan-European call and all eligible applications will be evaluated against published criteria. Preference will be given to innovations that have the most robust evidence of success and that aim to reach the most significant scale. Each selected application will receive a planning grant of up to €100,000 along with capacity building support. A minimum of €600,000 will be allocated to support at least 6 plans.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Applications can be made by a) collaborations involving public and private agencies (lead applicant must be a non-profit); b) public agencies; or c) private non-profit agencies, in EU Member States, that aim to scale proven innovations that can effectively contribute to reducing, or overcoming, social challenges within or across countries.
  • The application must address social challenges within at least one of the listed focus areas below drawn from the Sustainable Development Goals and align with the three main categories of the European Pillar of Social Rights: equal opportunities and access to the labour market; fair working conditions; social protection and inclusion.    ageing
    •     poverty and marginalisation
    •     homelessness
    •     disability
    •     mental health
    •     migration
    •     promoting gender equality
    •     dementia
    •     digital inclusiveness
    •     employment and job creation
    •     inequalities
    •     education, training, skills
    •     community development
    •     the role and place of young people in society
    •     inter-generational solidarity
    •     ecological and social transition
  • Applications must relate to evidence-based models of intervention that have been tried and tested. Preference will be given to innovations that have the most robust evidence of success.
  • At least one member of the organisation(s) applying must have prior involvement in implementing the innovative model under proposal.
  • Plans also must be relevant to the social and implementation challenges in at least five EU Member States, two of which will be CEEC's – acknowledging the need for tailoring to meet the specific requirements determined by varying cultural and operational environments.
  • Organisations or lead organisations of consortia applying shall:
    • Provide audited financial statements for the previous 2 years and shall complete a declaration that they do not have any 'going concern' issues.
    • Provide evidence of adequate management and financial systems.
    • Be GDPR compliant.
    • Ensure processes are compliant with EU ethical standards.
    • Demonstrate a commitment to gender equality.
  • Funding from the project is intended to support the planning process and will not be given for capital costs. The lead applicant receiving funding must be a non-profit public purpose organisation.

How to Apply

Applicants can apply online via given website.

For more information, visit https://www.euscf.eu/

Key dates 

  • Launch:16 January 2020

  • Applications close: 15 April 2020

  • Successful applications selected: 23 July 2020

  • Plan development: August 2020 – March 2021

  • Plans submitted: 25 March 2021


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