Social intervention research meets social enterprise

Social intervention research meets social enterprise

Two years ago the Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences (Frankfurt UAS) in Germany established a Competence Center for Social Intervention Research (Kompetenzzentrum Soziale Interventionsforschung or KomSI).

Our member Nicole Göler von Ravensburg joined the management committee of KomSI and began creating links among KomSI and EMES. She has been a member of the network for many years and a Board member since 2016 so there are fruitful connections among us: for instance, KomSI was our local organizing partner for the second the Empower-SE workshops as part of Working Group 2 in February-Mach 2019 on social enterprise in social and health services that attracted 54 international researchers and early career investigators.

What’s in a research profile?

KomSI shares many aims of EMES. According to Nicole:

“in its endeavours to develop social intervention research methodologically and theoretically its members (16 researchers and several dozen PhD and Master students as well as early career investigators) study social challenges such as poverty, the situation of unemployed, marginalized and homeless persons, migrants and refugees, violence, criminality and radicalization, as well as interventions addressing these problems.”

KomSI especially focuses on three main research: (1) the critical research of institutions of social work, (2) research of interactions between social work professionals, civil engagement and clients, and (3) profession research. The centre uses an interdisciplinary mode of research, e.g. integrating socio-political, legal, socio-economic and psychological approaches, and the conducted research is characterized by a diversity of methodologies. Special focus is placed on applied research and participatory approaches. The members (senior researchers and post-docs) have a high level of expertise in the field of intersectionality.

A “Methods Lab” to support students and researchers

An important part of KomSI is the Methods Lab, which advises students and researchers alike, in the realization of research activities in the field of social intervention research and supports them technically.
Support and assistance is offered in the following areas:

  • Development of research designs
  • Conception of empirical work
  • Advice on the collection and analysis of empirical data
  • Applying for research funding and conducting research projects

The discussion and development of research methods is supported by lectures, methodological workshops and seminars. The Methods Lab offers a stimulating research environment and also supports research-based learning in undergraduate and postgraduate social work programs.

Transfer of knowledge initiatives

KomSI sees itself as a place of exchange and networking between researchers, PhD and Master students, practice partners, social policy actors and the public. The main objective is the mutual transfer of research ideas and results using research-based learning, the implementation of research projects, lectures, workshops and conferences, the support of scientific publications, cooperation with civic organizations and social work practitioners in participatory and user-controlled intervention research.

The KomSI would be happy to cooperate with other EMES institutional and individual members in research projects looking at social entrepreneurship type interventions.

Wish to learn more about KomSI? Visit their description or download the latest call for papers for the 2020 Annual Conference on “Controversies over the complexity of social issues –Debating social intervention research” (submission deadline 15 June 2020).


Photo by Kevin Rupp for Frankfurt UAS.

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