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ZSI is a private non-profit institute for applied social sciences based in Vienna (Austria).

ZSI implements research and application projects on the social embedding and impact of all types of innovations and contributes to the design and diffusion of socially accepted and sustainable innovations to meet global challenges.

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Legal basis: non-profit limited liability company

The Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) is a scientific institute, founded as a not for profit association under Austrian law in 1988 and duly operationalised since 1990. On 1 July 2014, the Centre for Social Innovation changed its legal basis to a not for profit ZSI GmbH (Limited Liability Company, LLC).The ZSI Association has been retained and acts as the sole owner of the ZSI LLC since this day.
ZSI follows the model of a self-governing institution: The Executive Board of the ZSI LLC is elected by the General Assembly of the ZSI Association for a three years term.

Structure of ZSI

ZSI is organised along three departments

The Executive Board of ZSI consists of

Diversification of services and a broad spectrum of expertise guarantee the independence of the institute, its level of employment and the achievement of its purpose.

Mission statement: "All Innovations are socially relevant"

  • ZSI conducts research and application projects on the social embedding and impact of all types of innovations and contributes to the design and diffusion of socially accepted and sustainable innovations to meet global challenges.
  • By deployment of innovative research, education, advisory services and co-ordination of networks, we create new knowledge, reflect and configure existing knowledge, evaluate measures, develop concepts and forward their implementation.
  • As independent and globally acting scientific institution, we are engaged in the development of theories, methodologies, instruments and measures as well as in the dissemination of a systemically conceptualised broad innovation approach, contributing also to the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.
  • We apply a set of methodological competences and skills in a broad range of thematic areas with expertise in many world regions.

Definition of social innovation by ZSI

Social innovations are novel or more effective practices that prove capable to tackle societal issues and are adopted and successfully utilised by individuals, groups and organisations concerned.

Strategic principles and ethical code

ZSI works in science and praxis, linking research systematically with application. Many ZSI-projects transcend scientific domains, and thus are interdisciplinary. Some also include collaboration with professionals and laymen from non-scientific realms. With this nexus between scientific and practical knowledge the criterion of transdisciplinarity is fulfilled.

ZSI considers the European Charta for Researchers and the Code of Ethics of the International Sociological Association (ISA), as well as the RESPECT Code of Practice for Socio-Economic Research.

Facts at a glance

operational since 1990 / currently on average 50+ projects in progress / more than 450 projects concluded / 60+ team members employed / more than 800 cooperation partners (organisations that we worked with in our projects) / several 100 publications (project reports, articles and book contributions) / 100s of past events organised (workshops, conferences, seminars, etc.) / more than 2000 fans on Facebook and twitter / 100 different social media canals by current projects and individual ZSI experts / 1000s of visitors at our project related websites and more than several 10.000 subscribers of our project related eNewsletters

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