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The European Social Network is a partner in this 36-month project led by the R&D Centre Linkoping, Linkoping Municipality, Sweden, funded by the Erasmus+ programme.

The project aims to develop and test a new 'Learning & Innovation Lab' model and approach to the delivery of more integrated and person-centred health and social care services to particularly disadvantaged groups in the community including the older people, families with young children facing multiple challenges and young people with mental health conditions.

The model will seek to create the environment needed to bring together service providers, researchers, training providers and user groups to develop new approaches to service delivery.  Learning and key objectives will include the development of new tools to enable frontline health and social care staff working with these groups to develop the new professional competencies and skillsets needed to tackle the problems identified in delivery of services and the move towards more holistic care models designed to improve their quality of care.

The LINK project will:

  • Prepare a Baseline Study based on individual national studies prepared by each of the partners.
  • Develop a Learning and Innovation Lab model including key objectives, characteristics and components in each partner region bringing together frontline professionals and managers of relevant health and social care providers, researchers, training providers, and user groups.
  • Establish a transnational Learning and Innovation Platform to host the Competency Framework/Learning Programme being developed through the project and provide flexible access to learning opportunities created, to support the exchange of practice experience and promote dissemination at regional, national and transnational levels.
  • Develop a Competency Framework and online/blended learning programme for front line health & social care staff from a variety of disciplines and managers/stakeholders.
  • Pilot the Learning and Innovation Lab model, the learning platform, competency framework and learning programme with health and social care staff and stakeholders in each of the partner regions.
  • Ensure national and transnational mainstreaming and dissemination.

ESN will support the preparation of the Baseline Study with R&D Centre Linkoping in the preparation of the Baseline Study pulling together research *typo* from the partners and from elsewhere in the EU. It will participate in using the study as a basis for development of the Learning and Innovation Lab model and the Learning Programme.

ESN will also analyse the results of the pilot projects and play a lead role in supporting mainstreaming and dissemination of the project results.


The Baseline Study, based on individual national inputs prepared by each of the partners, was finalized in mid-2023. Each partner focused on specific issues identified in services for a distinct ultimate target group in their regions (i.e., the elderly in the community in Linkoping, families with complex challenges in Ljubljana and Trondheim, young people with mental health challenges in Barcelona, young people involved in offending behavior in Zemgale and disadvantaged Roma families in Belgrade). They identified trends in the needs of and services provided to the concerned group, relevant staff training programs, gaps in provision, and the results of relevant research and projects piloted by the partners. The national reports were consolidated in a joint report by R & D Centre Linkoping and the European Social Network, who provided details of the broader EU policy context and experience based on their own research.

Under WP2 ‘Development of Learning & Innovation Lab Model’ the partners jointly analyzed the findings of the Baseline Study and established a working group to develop the model as a basis for the establishment of local/regional labs. The model includes details of potential lab objectives, the range of potential problems addressed, its methodology, the potential scope of its activities, and its structure, membership, and ownership, including the range of potential staff and stakeholders involved. It also addresses issues such as developing alternative working methods, implementing innovation, evaluating the effectiveness of interventions, and dissemination and mainstreaming. The developed model has been used by the partners to create frameworks for pilot labs in each of their regions, working with services and stakeholders relevant to their different priority target groups. The Trondheim, Ljubljana, and Barcelona labs will start their initial piloting work in September/October 2023, while the Linkoping, Belgrade, and Zemgale pilot labs are scheduled to start in early 2024.

Under WP3 ‘Development of Learning & Knowledge Platform’ the partners established a working group that scoped the key characteristics and features of the platform based on its objectives of providing a hosting facility for the ongoing exchange and transfer of knowledge, best practice, and experience relevant to the work of the regional learning and innovation labs during the course of the project and for the Learning 2 Innovate Competency Framework & Learning Programme. The working group interviewed the partner organizations to identify priority features and services that the platform needed to provide to achieve its overall objectives. A technical specialist has been appointed by R & D Centre Linkoping, and the initial framework for the platform is in place. It is hoped that the Knowledge Transfer element will be operational within the next months, but the online learning element will not be operational until the draft learning program is available in Spring 2024.

Under WP4 ‘Development of Learning 2 Innovate Competency Framework & Learning Programme’ the focus to date has been on the development of a draft competency framework, which was considered and approved by all partners at the steering group meeting in Trondheim on 7th/8th September. The framework was based on the findings of the Baseline Study, identifying the main competencies needed by front line staff and other stakeholders to implement the learning lab model and deliver innovative integrated person-centered care services. The framework will be used by the partners to plan the structure and content of the learning program, and a working group was established to begin this work.

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For more information, contact Adriana Masgras at