Social Innovation &
Social Enterprise

What is Social Innovation & Social Enterprise?

Social innovation refers to the design and implementation of new solutions that imply conceptual or organisational change that ultimately aim to improve the welfare and wellbeing of individuals and communities. Examples of social innovation include working conditions, education, community development and health.

During the last decade there has been a surge of interest in social innovation as a way to achieve sustainable economic growth – Scotland is recognised globally for its pioneering work in this area.

Social Innovation & Social Enterprise Market

A report by Biggar Economics estimated that Glasgow Caledonian University had contributed £612m (GVA) to Glasgow alone

The same report estimated they account for 5390 jobs

Why Glasgow?


Glasgow is the top ranked city in Europe for openness, tolerance and trust


Glasgow has been named the World’s Friendliest City for the 2nd time in a public vote by travel bible Rough Guides


Glasgow ranks 4th in a new measure of the UK cities with the strongest sense of community

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) has pioneered the integration of social innovation as a pivotal element of its ‘Common Good’ mission. In recognition of this the GCU became the first university in Scotland to be designated a ‘Changemaker Campus’ by Ashoka U. GCU is also the EU’s UK designated centre for Social Innovation and they have established the UK’s only Social Innovation Connect Centre.

Working closely with international development organisations, government and civil society stakeholders in the UK, Africa, Asia and the Middle East, GCU takes a global lead in the delivery of action research that will improve policy, development and critical insights into climate justice.

Over the last three years, and with EU awards totalling €4.5 million, the University has developed a portfolio of over 20 projects specifically dedicated to international capacity building.

They have also established a Centre called Social Innovation Connect. This is part of a nationally endorsed programme called the EU Social Innovation Competence Centre Network. There is one in each country and GCU hosts the UK one. They are working with stakeholders / policy makers to define priorities, understand how to measure impact and replicate and scale activity.

The work of GCU has led to significant policy impact at home and overseas, including the development of Scotland’s 10 Year Social Enterprise Strategy and the national Strategy for Internationalising Social Enterprise. There are 6 research centre’s at GCU – click here.

BEAM (Built Environment & Asset Management Research Centre): exploring the social, environmental and economic interdependencies of sustainable built environments in the context of global climate change and natural resource utilisation.

Centre for Climate Justice: committed to quality research that addresses climate change within the overarching context of the SDGs of ‘leaving no one behind’. COP26 was a great example of work here coming to the fore.
REACH (Research Centre for Health): bringing rigorous health and social science to bear on management of long-term conditions and public health improvement, evidencing ‘what works, how and for whom?’. 8 sub-groups of excellent research.

SMART Technology: The Centre explores the design, development and evaluation of largely computer-based systems and serious games, applied in commercial and industrial settings to issues such as energy resource management, industrial processes and manufacturing, digital network infrastructures. Utilise learning from AI.

WiSE Centre for Economic Justice: The Centre carries out research into economic inequality, poverty, public policy, migration and human rights issues, primarily from a gender perspective, fostering creative interdisciplinary initiatives to inform policies for more just societies.

Yunus Centre for Social Business & Health: Standalone research centre – The work of the Centre aims to transform the lives of vulnerable communities through pioneering research in the potential for microcredit, social enterprise and civil society more widely to act as generators of health and wellbeing.

Scottish Poverty and Inequality Research Unit – Understanding and intervening to support poverty reduction across Scotland.

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU)