GCU hosts social innovation research conference

18 November 2013

Social Frontiers was held at GCU London

Social Frontiers was held at GCU London

More than 120 leading academics have gathered at GCU London for one of the world’s first international conferences specialising in social innovation research.

17 countries were represented at 'Social Frontiers: The Next Edge of Social Innovation Research' which took place on Thursday 14 and Friday 15 November. These included representatives from the EU but also from South Africa, India, Canada, Australia, US, Colombia, Brazil, Korea, China and Egypt.

The conference was organised by the National Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts (NESTA), Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and TEPSIE with support from The Skoll Centre for Social Entrepreneurship at the University of Oxford, The Social Innovation Exchange (SIX), DESIS Network and The Rockefeller Foundation.

GCU academics Katherine Miller, Professor Duncan McTavish and Dr Colin Combe featured. Other world-renowned scholars in the field included philosopher, social theorist, and politician Professor Roberto Unger, NESTA chief executive Geoff Mulgan and University of Waterloo Chair in Social Innovation Dr Frances Westley.

The aim of the event was to build and strengthen the community of social innovation researchers, share learning, promote collaboration, identify gaps in knowledge and work together to build a common research agenda for the next decade.

The social innovation field refers to new ideas which help society meet up and coming challenges by engaging all sectors of the community. In the words of Roberto Unger at the conference: "'the task of the social innovation movement is to create an alternative to the path of least resistance."

Mark Anderson, GCU’s Head of European Programmes, said: “This event put GCU squarely at the forefront of social innovation research and practice, a topic that has become increasingly pervasive in EU programmes especially within the forthcoming Horizon 2020 funding programme.

“With its mission statement ‘for the common weal’ and Professor Muhammad Yunus as Chancellor, the University is perfectly aligned both in its strategy and vision to lead the way for Higher Education Institutions in social innovation practice." 

Dr Combe added: “The event was an ideal opportunity to disseminate information on the call for papers for the inaugural issue of the eJournal of Social Innovation scheduled for February 2014 by Glasgow Caledonian University.”