Getting to know our partners: University of Aveiro

Getting to know our partners: University of Aveiro

We interviewed Teresa Franqueira, Director, ID+ DESIS Lab @University of Aveiro about her thoughts on the role of universities in enabling social innovation. 

1) In your perspective, what kind of role should universities (HEIs) play in the society? What is HEI’s role supporting social innovation?

Universities should work FOR and WITH society. The knowledge produced, the technology developed and the research must be useful for society. The higher education institution’s (HEI) role in supporting social innovation comes from the policy strategies defined by HEI with government and, in particular, with local governments.

Image from ID+ DESIS Lab

2) What does social innovation look like in your country? What is it’s potential?

Social Innovation is quickly developing in the fields of economics, social sciences and design. In Portugal, it’s quite related and associated with volunteering and social services provided by charity institutions,  with a strong role in the Catholic church. However, there is also a boom with start-ups related with social innovation businesses and enterprises. The potential is enormous due to the European financial crisis with the weakening of the traditional welfare state and the need to find new solutions for the social problems arising from this new reality.

3) What do you hope to achieve out of SEASIN project?

The University of Aveiro (UA)  is hoping to strengthen its networks and relationships with a global group of HEI and institutions specialists in the field of social innovation. Moreover, UA is expecting to create new knowledge to increase the teaching and researching in Social Innovation.

4) What are you most excited about for this project?

The exchange of experience and knowledge in a culturally diverse group.

Find out more about the work of ID+ DESIS Lab here.



What is Impact Connect?
Impact Connect is a regional programme of the Southeast Asian Social Innovation Network (SEASIN) designed to help develop the capacity of social innovators in South East Asia and connect them to leading universities and global changemakers. As part of the programme selected participants will have the opportunity to participate in the Social Innovation Studios aimed at students and early-stage innovators in 4 countries (Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand) in early 2018.

What are the Social Innovation Studios?
The Social Innovation Studios are workshops that have been designed to bring together social innovation practitioners who are connected to the universities to develop their understanding of social innovation and facilitate knowledge transfer to better understand the existing patterns and emerging trends in the social innovation ecosystem.

How are the Social Innovation Studios different from other work- shops/ programmes on Social Innovation?
This unique programme allows participants to connect with different stakeholders in the social innovation ecosystem at the local and international level. Through hands-on training and experiential learning, these diverse studios will help to show- case the best practices in social innovation, both locally and internationally, and help participants to understand existing resources, challenges and policy-level gaps in implementing social innovation projects in the country.

What’s in it for me?

• The chance to develop your ideas and projects
• To learn about the best social innovation practices and methods from international experts
• Hands-on exercises to implement your ideas
• International recognition of your participation and achievements
• Opportunities for cross-sector collaboration
• A connection into a regional and global network of social innovators
• A certificate of participation from the organisers

How do you select the participants to the Social Innovation Studios?

The participants to the Social Innovation Studios are selected through the Impact Connect selection process. Students/ social innovators from the participating countries (Cambodia, Malaysia, Myanmar and Thailand) can submit their application online. Submissions are then judged by a distinguished panel of judges.

What are the criteria on which the applications will be evaluated?
The applications will be evaluated based on the following criteria:
• Motivation and commitment to social innovation and passion for social change
• Interest in sharing ideas and working in a collaborative environment
• Passion for community engagement and interest in cross-sector collaborations
• Volunteering/work experience in social innovation or the social sector (Desired)

Do I need to have an incorporated business or started a social enterprise/venture to participate in the Social Innovation Studios?
No, you are not required to have an incorporated business or have started a social enterprise/ venture. Anyone with an idea or a potential project plan can apply.

How many participants are able to attend?
In total 20 participants will be shortlisted for each Social Innovation Studio.

For how many days will be the Social Innovation Studios be conducted?
Every Social Innovation Studio will be conducted over two-days. It is mandatory for every participant to attend all the sessions on both the days.

When will the Social Innovation Studios be held?
The Social Innovation Studios will be held in March-April 2018.
We will be in the following locations on these dates:
19-20 March – Yangon, Myanmar
22-23 March – Bangkok, Thailand
9-10 April – Phnom Penh, Cambodia
12-13 April – Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
The exact venue of the Studios will be announced end of February.

Is there an application fee to participate in the Social Innovation Studios?
No, there is no application fee to participate in the Social Innovation Studios.

How will I know if I have been selected as one of the participants?
Shortlisted participants will be notified by email on 28 February 2018. Announcements will also be made on our website and on our Facebook page.

Will I receive a certificate at the end of the studios?
Yes, every participant who has successfully participated in the studios on both the days will be awarded a certificate of participation at the end of the studio.

Will the organiser cover my travel costs for the Social Innovation Workshops?
We will not reimburse you for any travel expenses, meals or other expenses incurred in relation to the Social Innovation Studios.