Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation

From 2014 until 2018, researchers from Oxford (project coordinator), Budapest, Delft, Greifswald, Heidelberg, Pavia and Tampere will explore the economic underpinnings of social innovation with a particular focus on how policy and practice can enhance the lives of the most marginalized and disempowered citizens in Europe.

GETIDOS members will contribute to these efforts in the following ways:

1.      How can we create a fair economic space for social innovation? We contribute to the conceptual framework of the project a perspective of justice focusing especially on the sustainability dimension and drawing on the capabilities approach, the concept of resilience and strong sustainability. The creation of economic space for social innovation needs to be framed taking into account the perspective of the most marginalized in the present and as well as those of future generations, and with a view to the human interaction with non-human animals, plants, ecosystems and nature in general. In this way, we explore the contribution of social innovation for the European Union and its development and regeneration as a peace project in cosmopolitan spirit.

2.      What do we know about long-run innovation processes in the EU, and what is the implication of this knowledge to foster economic space for social innovation? We will contribute to qualitative and quantitative case studies with a specific focus on freshwater infrastructure and integrated river basin management.

3.      How can researchers together with civil society and other actors contribute to learning in innovation processes that aim for justice and sustainability? Together with the European Rivers Network, we coordinate the Big Jump Challenge 2015 – as the European youth campaign for water conservation in Europe, and in this context develop a social innovation toolkit for youth campaigns.

4.      How can film complement the written word for the analysis and communication of social innovation? Watch the documentary "Air beneath your wings" here.

Final conference Oxford 2018

The videos of the final conference can be watched here.



The Research Community-Blog of the project here.

The project homepage here.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613261.


CrESSI-Publications with peer-review

Nicholls, Alex, Ziegler, Rafael (2019). Creating Economic Space for Social Innovation. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Download Flyer.

Ziegler, Rafael. 2017. “Social innovation as a collaborative concept.” Innovation: The European Journal of Social Science Research 30 (4) 388–405.

Ziegler, Rafael. 2017. “Citizen Innovation as Niche Restoration – A Type of Social Innovation and Its Relevance for Political Participation and Sustainability.” Journal of Social Entrepreneurship 8 (3) 338–353.

Ziegler, Rafael, György Molnár, Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, and Nadia von Jacobi. 2017. “Creating (Economic) Space for Social Innovation.” Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 18 (2): 293–98.

Jacobi, Nadia von, Daniel Edmiston, and Rafael Ziegler. 2017. “Tackling Marginalisation through Social Innovation? Examining the EU Social Innovation Policy Agenda from a Capabilities Perspective.” Journal of Human Development and Capabilities 18 (2): 148–62.

Ziegler, Rafael. 2017. “Innovation and justice – contributions of the capabilities approach to a 21st century, transformative perspective on innovation.” In Human development in times of crisis: Renegotiating social justice, edited by Hans-Uwe. Otto, Pantazis Spyridon, Holger Ziegler, and Antoanneta Potsi, 327–46. London: Palgrave Macmillan.

Further publications: Cressi Working Paper series.