We are all too aware of the many intractable social, cultural and environmental issues facing the world. Here in Trinity Business School we aim to deploy our research, business skills and resources to create a significant social impact on this issues, not just in Ireland but across the globe, through the new Trinity Centre of Social Innovation, launched in 2018.
The Centre has a number of exciting initiatives. Connecting Nature, a collaboration with the School of Natural Sciences, seeks to provide sustainable nature-based solutions for smart cities and climate change. Funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Innovation programme, the project is working with 11 European cities to help them transition to more sustainable and resilient cities. Beginning in 2018, the Social Innovation & Enterprise Accelerator project will pilot a digital engagement map of social innovation in Vietnam and collaborate with the Centre for Social and Entrepreneurship in the National Economics University in Hanoi to develop curricula for third level and executive education programmes in social innovation and enterprise.
Pathways to business, is a project with a local focus. Working with the Trinity Access Programme (TAP), the Centre will launch a programme to reach out to second level students in disadvantaged areas of Ireland. It will provide information, encouragement, support and mentors to encourage greater participation in third level institutions and fulfilling employment. Little Heresies, will be a series of events that will provide opportunities for a wider audience to participate in discussing disruptive ideas to tackle critical societal issues.
The launch of the Centre in 2018 signaled a significant expansion of the scope of the previous Centre for Non-profit Management which was established in 2000 on the back of a grant from Atlantic Philanthropies and was the first of its kind in Ireland. Members of the Centre produced two seminal reports on the state of non-profit organisations in Ireland in the early years and continued to publish in a broad range of non-profit and public sector journals and books. Members also served on international research associations and editorial boards and engaged directly with policy, practice and community stakeholders to contribute to the wider debate and development across key social policy domains.
The expansion of Trinity Business School provides a tremendous opportunity to expand the actives of the Centre by recruiting international scholars into the School who bring additional insight, energy and experience in social innovation and enterprise, corporate social responsibility and business ethics and who contribute to the School’s core value of ‘putting in more than you take out’. There is an air of excitement and expectation as we plan the launch of the expanded Centre to research topics across the spectrum of social innovation and engage with philanthropists, entrepreneurs, corporations, policy-makers, citizens and our own Trinity community of scholars to inspire and innovate for the benefit of society and the environment.
The objective of the Centre is to become a centre of excellence in research into and the teaching of the cycle of social engagement, innovation, enterprise and impact. Members of the Centre for Social Innovation will not only advance knowledge in their chosen domains but also contribute in a meaningful way to changing the way people and institutions in Ireland and around the world develop and deploy business skills and resources to create social impact. To achieve this goal the Centre will work both independently and symbiotically alongside the existing activities of the TCD Research Themes and Centres, and the Trinity Civic Engagement Office, The Trinity Business School and the Trinity Innovation and Entrepreneurship Hub.
If you want to get involved please contact Dr Mary Lee Rhodes, Co-Director of the Trinity Centre for Social Innovation.