The European Social Catalyst Fund (ESCF) was 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 in January 2020 and concluded in December 2021. Genio lead 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.

This phase of the ESCF consisted of €600,000 and brought together the EU and philanthropy to provide financial and non-financial support for 7 proven innovations to plan how they can scale in a total of 16 countries. These innovations were selected from amongst 120 applications received from 22 countries. They can tackle complex problems cost-effectively such as supporting the elderly in their communities; combating energy poverty; ensuring that people who are particularly vulnerable to being unemployed get, and keep, jobs; providing social housing in challenging circumstances; enabling digital inclusion for all; and providing alternatives to detention for migrants.

​You can view the scaling plans developed here.

​You can view the ESCF Report Planning the Scaling of Successful Social Innovations here.

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]