About EMI

Over the last few decades, the population of Rotterdam has gone through some significant changes. There has been a considerable increase in ethnic diversity and a large percentage of the population is socially and economically,disadvantaged, compared to other major cities in the Netherlands. South-Rotterdam deals with high levels of concentrated disadvantage, where social, economic and physical problems are accumulated. The persistent nature of these problems motivated the Dutch government, the local government of Rotterdam and several educational institutes and businesses to work together for the next 20 years, on the National Program for South-Rotterdam (NPRZ). NPRZ is not just an investment program. It is assigned to develop solutions in collaboration with people working in South-Rotterdam, on site.

'A societal innovation introduces a novel economic and/or social improvement to people’s everyday life. It brings a (radical or incremental) systemic change to society’s structures or modes of operation, and it is legitimated by the majority of societal stakeholders.'

EMI focuses on specific social topics, so called ‘wicked problems’ based on the four pillars of NPRZ; Children’s Zone (education), Career Guidance (work), Social Support & Health Innovation (healthcare & welfare) and City Life (housing). Each topic has variable programs that consist of several Communities of Practices (CoPs): collaborative partnerships between education, research and the workforce.

EMI operates by means of interaction, contact, innovation, learning by doing and sharing knowledge. The programs link education and research to actual practice. This way new knowledge can be acquired, which offers South-Rotterdam new information and expertise, and points the way towards educational innovation in study programs, for future professionals. In addition, students from Rotterdam University who are involved in these programs have the opportunity to get acquainted with the workforce.