Centre for Social Innovation
ZSI (Centre for Social Innovation) is a private non-profit research organisation, established 1990 and transformed into a company with limited liability with officially recognised common public interest status in 2014. ZSI is Austria’s most successful social scientific research institute in FP7. The main funders and clients are ministries, municipalities, EC, OECD, ILO, other public bodies and NGOs. ZSI performs project-based agency functions for the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) in promotion and support of international STI cooperation. ZSI’s key activities are clustered in three dedicated units:
- Research Policy and Development (incl. techno-globalisation; R&D internationalisation; science-technology society studies; scientometrics; evaluation),
- Work and Equal Opportunities (incl. labour market governance; migration research; ageing; innovative labour market policies and inclusion),
- Technology and Knowledge – (incl. participatory technology assessment; technology enhanced learning; science-society dialogue).
ZSI also hosts the fteval platform, whose members are all ministries dealing with RTI in Austria, the major RTI funding agencies and a couple of evaluation providers.
Since 2007, ZSI endeavors to establish and foster linkages with research partners in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) to include a Latin American perspective in the study and analysis of internationalisation of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI). Meanwhile, ZSI has a noteworthy history of collaborating with partner institutions in the LAC region and has sound competences in adding social science topics and methods to diverse cooperation initiatives and projects with LAC in the field of STI.
The importance of linking social science research communities of Europe and Latin America - with the concrete objective to analyse and discuss the future of knowledge societies and STI policy needs - was addressed in the EULAKS project (Connecting Socio-Economic Research on the Dynamics of the Knowledge Society in the European Union and Latin American and Caribbean Countries) (funded under FP7) that was coordinated by ZSI between 2008 and 2010. The EULAKS project was an important step to position EU-LAC cooperation in the field of social sciences and humanities.
As another big sphere of activity, ZSI is involved in the process of forwarding the EU - LAC dialogue on Science and Technology (which was initiated in 1999 by the first EU-LAC Summit of Heads of State and Government in Rio de Janeiro). As a major outcome of this bi-regional political dialogue a 'Joint Initiative for Research and Innovation' was developed which shall be implemented with the strong support of the Latin American & Caribbean INCO-Net Projects EULARINET (terminated) and ALCUENET (ongoing) in both of which ZSI is a partner institution. ZSI's role in the projects was/is to support evidence-based policy making by providing analytical reports on trends, key players and impacts of the bi-regional cooperation by implementing different qualitative research methods (case studies, bibliometric analyses, expert workshops, etc.). In ALCUENET, ZSI is foremost responsible for developing a strategy for the impact monitoring and impact assessment of the project. In the framework of both projects ZSI has built enduring networks with research ministries, research institutions and the wider STI community in LAC, as well as with political decision makers and stakeholders in the bi-regional (EU-LAC) policy dialogue on STI.
Since many years ZSI has "science for society" - experience in the area of nanotechnologies. In the project NMP-DeLA, which addresses deployment of nanotechnologies for societal challenges in Latin America, ZSI combines this knowledge with regional expertise.