The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF) is a new initiative designed to have significant impact on some of Europe’s most pressing social challenges. It was established and co-funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme, Genio (Ireland), the Robert Bosch Stiftung (Germany) and the King Baudouin Foundation (Belgium) and launched in Brussels on January 16 2020. Genio is leading the ESCF rollout.
Objectives of the ESCF
  • To provide financial support, guidance and information to proven social service innovations selected through a pan-European competition to develop implementation plans to upscale.
  • To stimulate a broader range of public sector, philanthropic and social investment collaborations that foster the scaling of social service innovations to meet social challenges across EU Member States aligned with the principles of the European Pillar of Social Rights.
  • To produce exemplar plans across a range of priority social challenge areas that can be implemented to a substantial level of scale within two years.
  • Plans also must be relevant to the social and implementation challenges in at least five EU Member States, two of which will be Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs).
  • To develop and disseminate knowledge and skills on how to successfully plan the scaling of social service innovations.
  • To design a further phase of the European Social Catalyst Fund based on learning obtained in the process of achieving these objectives.
Applications for funding

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.

In the context of the COVID-19 crisis, the ESCF has extended the deadline for applications to 11 September 2020 (from the original date of 15 April), acknowledging the challenges and pressures that so many across Europe are currently experiencing. This will also allow more time for recognising and reflecting on what are appropriate and creative responses to the emerging changes in all our lives going forward, especially in the social economy. 

For more information please visit:

Complex Systems Change

19-21 Westland Square
Pearse St., Dublin 2, D02 YH27, Ireland
Phone +353 1 707 1700
Email [email protected]