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Social challenges

Social innovation involves the development of new ideas, services and models to better address current and future challenges. In addition to generating efficiency and growth, R&D&I is also essential for finding solutions to today’s major economic, social and environmental challenges.

The European Commission is actively working to encourage market uptake of innovative solutions, while stimulating socio-economic aspects such as decent and inclusive employment. Since the creation in 2015 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), social innovation is focused on the development of projects framed within these goals.

Main objectives of the Social Challenges area

Considering social innovation as the ideal instrument for promoting innovation that is both sustainable and responsible, at Zabala Innovation we work along two lines. On the one hand, we support the design and development of social innovation projects and, on the other, we contribute to integrating the social dimension into more technological projects.

In relation to the first, we highlight the preparation of projects within Cluster 2 of the Horizon Europe programme, dedicated to the themes of democracy and governance, cultural and creative industries, or socio-economic transformations. We also specialise in funding programmes such as CERV or AMIF, which deal with issues related to Citizen Participation, Equality, Rights and Values, or Asylum, Migration and Integration respectively.

With regard to the integration of the social dimension in technological projects, the concept of socially responsible innovation, which is one that takes into account the impact of R&D&I on society and seeks to have a positive effect on it, is particularly relevant. The European Commission is gradually demanding greater guarantees that public funding for innovation projects does not limit its impact to the generation of technology or wealth, but also has a social (SSH integration) and environmental (DNSH principle) scope.

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Social innovation projects

Social innovation involves the development of new ideas, services and models to better address current and future challenges.

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Social challenges


Sustainability is a variable that is becoming increasingly relevant in the markets, so integrating it as one of the axes or values of a product, service, or even an organisation, offers a competitive advantage to position itself before different interest groups.

In order to implement this type of innovation based on sustainability, collaboration between the different social agents is essential. Social innovation projects at European level have shown that innovation requires the merging of different sectors to combine different disciplines and different areas of knowledge.

Until now, the need for collaboration between public administration, private enterprise and academia has been highlighted. But, in recent years, it has become clear that a new actor, society, needs to be included, forming the quadruple helix.

Sustainable development therefore aims to achieve a continuous improvement in the quality of life and well-being of citizens, without compromising the well-being of future generations.