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Fostering research excellence
in EU Outermost Regions

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Social sciences and social innovation

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ORs can be "laboratories of social cohesion"

The insular nature and the specific characteristics of the ORs make these territories vulnerable, no matter their assets and their capacity for further development.

To cope with strong contemporary mutations and mitigate vulnerability, social innovation seems to be one of the solutions. Therefore, the strengthening of social cohesion in all sectors is essential.

Despite concerning social and economic indicators, the ORs have a capacity of initiative allowing for creation of projects that promote proximity (collaborations, local dynamics, democratic practices and above all, putting the citizen at the heart of territorial policies…).

Their innovative and creative potential reveals the development capacities of these territories.

In this sense, the ORs can be “laboratories of social cohesion”.

Two OR’s have chosen the theme of social innovation in order to make their territories more creative: La Reunion and Martinique.

Challenges :

Policies in favor of social innovation are being put in place at different levels (local, regional, national, European). A common vision of social innovation is being sought for the ORs to meet the following challenges:

– To encourage the creation of ecosystems conducive to social innovation.

The search for suitable conditions for the emergence and diffusion of innovation makes it possible to re-evaluate the role of all actors and to boost the capacity and willingness of actors to organize themselves.

– To Improve social dialogue in companies and organizations

The need for conflict prevention and follow-up, their inevitable impact on social cohesion fully justify the setting up of a dedicated research and training area to identify the tools and methodologies to be implemented to improve crisis management.

In addition, the multiplicity of inter-related risks (health, technological, natural, societal) strongly favors the construction of an offer on the management of crises in insular environment.

– To promote the emergence of management methods in companies and organizations

– To develop other forms of entrepreneurship (for example social entrepreneurship)

– To enhance/promote traditional skills, know-how and sustainable practices to prevent our vulnerability to risks

– To develop a unified society and to create the conditions for good living together (The ORs must become “destinations for better living, for living the good life”)

– To make research in Social Sciences an innovative lever for sustainable development

– To support community activities which create employment

Assets of the Outermost Regions :

– The insular nature, the geographical location of the ORs:

The ORs possess undeniable wealth and cultural diversity that open up a remarkable field of research for all social innovation, as well as for human and social sciences. They are unique spaces for reflection, for the elaboration and implementation of original strategies, and also for new experimentation.

Furthermore, the intercultural, linguistic, historical, geographical, natural and legal domains are essential characteristics of the socio-economic context of the ORs.

– The development of partnerships with the OR’s within their geographic basin.

The ORs, which are present in all three oceans, rely on their anchoring in the geographic basins in which they operate. They are linked by common challenges; that requires the construction of coherent and voluntary strategies.

– The ORs can be «experimental laboratories that can be modelised”. The ORs focus on common issues in terms of demographics, the environment, health, agriculture or the economy.

– The existence of a dynamic network of associations in the social economy

Fields of investigations/expertise : 

Given their diversity and common social problems, the ORs are increasingly engaged in a process of social change to reduce fragility and develop new “enablers” for sustainable economic development.

The underlying areas of investigation are:

– methods and tools for social regulation or methods for analysing and understanding social relations,

– psychology,

– negotiation skills,

– sociology,

– ergonomics,

– occupational psychology,

– database management.

In addition, the products and services desired and expected are among others: initial and continuing training, the emergence of an ecosystem of interconnected applications (ICT).



Social sciences and social innovation in a few numbers