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Over the last year more than a million refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe. A further three million are expected to arrive in 2016. The unprecedented number of refugees and migrants travelling to the continent undoubtedly represents one of the biggest challenges facing Europe today, not only in terms of their immediate reception, but also in terms of their longer-term integration in society.

Last Thursday a consortium of partners, led by the European Commission and including Design for Europe partner Nesta, launched the 2016 edition of the European Social Innovation Competition in Amsterdam to find new and creative approaches to promoting integration.

This year the European Commission is looking for innovations in products, technologies, services and models that can help to build inclusive communities and realise the potential contribution of refugees and migrants. Ideas can relate to any aspect of the reception and integration process, including but not limited to:

  • Education and Skills Development
  • Employment and Entrepreneurship
  • Access to Appropriate Housing and Health Services
  • Safety and Human Rights
  • Community Cohesion and Cultural Diversity

The competition is now open to entries from individuals, groups and organisations in the European Union, as well as countries participating in the Horizon 2020 programme. The European Commission are particularly keen to encourage applications that are led by, or co-created with, refugees and migrants.

The competition will help the most innovative ideas to turn into real projects which can achieve sustainable impact. Thirty of the most promising applications will be chosen as semi-finalists and will be invited to a social innovation mentoring academy in Berlin in July to progress their ideas. The three best ideas will each be awarded a prize of €50,000 at the Awards Ceremony in Brussels in October.

Applying to the competition is easy. Simply take a look at these seven questions and visit the competition website for full details of how to apply. The deadline for entries is 8 April 2016, 12:00 noon Central European Time.

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