About the Social Economy Project
Enhancing Studies & Practice of Social Economy and
Social Capital in Higher Education
Not sure what the social economy is? Click here
Summary of the research within the project
What is the project
We aim to gain an in-depth understanding of the social
economy system in order to promote the study and practice
of this field in higher
How will we do this?
Through an empirical study based on an (e) survey, focus
groups, interviews and case studies with the people who are
working in the field. This will be carried out by partners and
associate partners in different geographical
What will we do with this
We will create a handbook that will inform higher education
institutions who are interested in developing curricula
about social economy to be taught at their
What will be in the handbook?
(Draft outline of chapters)
Chapter i: Epistemology ('ways of
knowing') and values - what knowledge and values do
people in the social economy claim to have?
Chapter ii: Identity, territory and
profile of organisations - who are they? Where are they?
Chapter iii: Ways of working -
law, project management, administrative,
operational. How do they work? What differentiates
them from other economic systems?
Chapter iv: Professional competences - what
knowledge, skills and behaviour are needed for the job?
Chapter v: ICT - good practices within the
field. How does ICT make their work more effective?
Chapter vi: Social capital and political
influence - how is it built? What sustains it?
Chapter vii: Social responsibility and
transformation - how do organisations/enterprises bring about
positive social change? How are they accountable?
Chapter viii: Social enterprise incubators -
how can private, public and social systems work together
Transversal throughout chapters: Curriculum and
pedagogical design - what needs to be taught and how?
Why do we think this is important?
Universities should offer broad and
in-depth knowledge and understanding of ways of organising
economic life. We believe in a people-centred approach to
economic value. We also believe that Higher Education
should provide education and training which serves the
If Higher Education is to remain relevant it needs to review its
ethos, purpose and curricula. It needs to consider human well-being
as well as wealth creation.
This international, three year project aims to gain an
in-depth knowledge of the nature, origins and practice of
people-centred economic approaches. This is the social
economy system with social capital as its backbone and it has its
own values framework, thinking and behavioural model. It seeks to
make this more accessible to higher education students. The project
also seeks to understand and give recommendations on how this
system could interact and link more efficiently with other economic
systems and mechanisms, such as corporate social responsibility, to
enhance the values of equality, efficiency and reciprocity for
- Strategically develop the quality and attractiveness of studies
of social economy and social capital in higher education in
Europe, by drawing upon worldwide expertise and
- Build a knowledge and practice base which encompasses values
and experience within the field of social economy from a
wide range of geographical areas, through dialogical action.
- Review and improve current European higher education curricula
in the subject to increase its relevance to European, African,
Asian and North and South American higher education students and
workers in the field.
- Promote intercultural dialogue and mutual understanding between
higher education teachers from the geographical scope of the
Target groups: The consortium universities, the wider community
of higher education teaching professionals and course designers in
Europe and worldwide; organizations of the 3rd
- Design, apply and analyse a comprehensive (e)-survey and
interviews with practitioners in the social economy
- Write a reference handbook, based on the above, to inform
higher education curriculum design
- A reference handbook published for curriculum design based on
the findings of the (e)-survey and case studies
- Publish academic articles in international journals, regarding
the social economy, social capital and corporate social
responsibility knowledge, values and practice, and the challenges
to the full inclusion of these areas in higher education
- A business plan for consultancy and handbook distribution to
promote effective course design in the field in European and
- An increase in the interest of non-Europeans in
following social economy courses within the consortium
- Consultancy to higher education institutions and government
Dissemination of results through
- Publications in academic journals
- International conferences organized and attended
- Website of project information and findings
As well as the Erasmus Mundus programme, the
project gained the support of United Nations, Alliance of
Civilization unit, the Erasmus Mundus Students and Alumni
Association and the Joseph Rowntree Foundation of the United
Kingdom. Over 50 universities worldwide have become Associate
Partners of the project. It is expected that this
list will increase as other universities and organizations
from the private and public sector are showing interest in
- Associate partners (involved
in the implementation of the project in their own countries).
- Network facilitators (making
links between project and organisations interested).
- Friends of the programme
(interested in receiving information on how the project