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SIKE – Social Innovation through Knowledge Exchange

Key words: education, social innovation, knowledge

Project duration: 01.01.2018 - 30.04.2021

In gray letters "Sike". The K without a vertical line in orange. Below it in English "social Innovation through knowledge exchange". The word "knowledge" written in orange.
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Europäische Union - Erasmus+

“Social Innovation through Knowledge Exchange” (SIKE) demonstrates the potential of universities to use their knowledge in order to affect social change in a direct and meaningful way. The project is doing so by developing new paradigms and tools for knowledge exchange practice that embrace social innovation, encourage social entrepreneurship and offer more effective support to local communities. The partners – leading socially innovative universities and experienced social innovation drivers – are working together to create an ecosystem that nurtures and supports sustainable, resilient and responsible innovation.

  • Coordinator: Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) United Kingdom
  • The Melting Pot (TMP) United Kingdom
  • Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) United Kingdom
  • The University of Aveiro (UAV) Portugal
  • Santa Casa da Misericórdia de Lisboa (SCML) Portugal
  • Universidad de Deusto (UD) Spain
  • Business Innovation Brokers (BiB) Spain
  • University of Applied Science (VERN) Croatia
  • Social Innovation Laboratory (SIL) Croatia
  • Duisburg Social Impact Lab (DSIL) Germany

The main objective of the project SIKE is to support social innovation through knowledge exchange. In order to do so, alliances are forged between the stakeholders of the social innovation ecosystem. The aim is to develop Social Innovation through Knowledge Exchange Units that specifically adapt knowledge exchange tools and processes to the needs of social innovators. The project also aims at stimulating social entrepreneurial skills within the University and the regional community. Summed up, the following five objectives and outcomes play an important role within the scope of SIKE:

  • SIKE stimulates the flow and exchange of knowledge between higher education and enterprises, in this case, social enterprises directly involved in supporting social innovators.
  • SIKE boosts innovation within the participating institutions and the broader socioeconomic environment by jointly developing and implementing new multidisciplinary, problem-based continuing educational programmes; jointly developing solutions for challenging issues and developing SI practice.
  • SIKE develops socially entrepreneurial mind-set and skills, creating schemes of transversal skills learning and application in cooperation with social enterprises aiming at strengthening employability, creativity and new professional paths;
  • SIKE opens up new learning opportunities through the practical application of socially entrepreneurial skills, which can involve and/or lead to the commercialisation of new services, products and prototypes, to the creation of start-ups and spin-offs.
    SIKE tests innovative measures to boost SI.

The SIKE Project responds to the need for Universities to become more proactive in driving social change through knowledge exchange and social innovation (SI). “Social innovations are new ideas (products, services and models) that simultaneously meet social needs (more effectively than alternatives) and create new social relationships or collaborations.” (Murray, Caulier-Grice and Mulgan, March 2010).

The SIKE project aligns very closely with existing initiatives and core missions of the participating organisations. All the participating Universities play an active role in researching, teaching or supporting social innovators within their community, often collaborating with them on projects. In addition, all the SI partners have worked extensively with the University partners – and others - looking to embed a SI ecosystem within their region.

By focusing on knowledge exchange that specifically promotes social innovation and entrepreneurship, the SIKE project directly promotes equity, social cohesion, and active citizenship while enhancing creativity and innovation, including entrepreneurship, at all levels of education and training.

All in all, this project aims to lay the foundations for a radical shift in knowledge exchange practice that embraces social innovation by adapting more conventional, commercial and process innovation to the social needs of communities. As such, SIKE both facilitates the exchange, flow and co-creation of knowledge and stimulates entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial skills of its participants and stakeholders while also developing new and innovative approaches to teaching and learning through its training programme and online tools.

The SIKE project takes a co-creative approach in developing parallel initiatives within all five partnering regions. The project delivers its objectives through 9 work packages (WPs) implemented over three phases:

i) Preparation and Contextualisation;

ii) Implementation; and

iii) Consolidation and Validation.

Responsibility for the Management and leadership of these WPs have been distributed evenly among the partners so that each partner has shared responsibility for at least one work package, to ensure ownership is distributed evenly across the Consortium (WP9). Moreover, all Partner institutions coordinate the core Development activities within their own region. The Quality Assurance and Evaluation of the project is carried out by an Advisory and Evaluation Committee established in each region comprising four associate partners and representatives from the partner institutions. The establishment of the Committee is overseen by SIL and VERN. They all meet together four times (either face-to-face or virtually) during the course of the project to present their evaluations. The Committee has a dual role: to evaluate the Social innovation projects – the case studies and projects developed through the activities of SIKE (WP6) and the quality of the project deliverables and overall project activities (WP7).

Project leadership:


Location & approach

Exit 13 (Kreuz Dortmund Nord-Ost), direction Derne/Schwerte (B236), 1st exit direction Dortmund-Eving, next traffic lights turn right (Kemminghauser Str.), after 2.7km turn left (Evinger Str./B 54), after 1.1km traffic lights turn left (Deutsche Straße), after 500m on the left is the Evinger Platz.

From the Bundesstraße 1 (extension A40 or A44) to the intersection B1/B236 direction Lünen, 3rd exit direction Dortmund-Eving.

Exit Dortmund Hafen, turn left until the intersection Münsterstraße (B54), direction Eving, after about three kilometers turn into Deutsche Straße.

You can download an enlarged general map here

From Dortmund Airport, it takes just about 20 minutes to get to Dortmund Central Station by AirportExpress and from there to the university by subway (U-Bahn) 41. The stop is "Zeche Minister Stein". A wider range of international flight connections is offered by Düsseldorf Airport, about 60 kilometers away, which can be reached directly by S-Bahn from the university station. From there, you can get directly to Dortmund Central Station.

From Dortmund Central Station, take the U 41 light rail (direction Brambauer / Brechten). The stop is "Zeche Minister Stein". The Minister Stein Center is located on the right in the direction of travel of the streetcar.

You can find an overview map here.