Social innovation drafts solutions to pressing social challenges. It provides room for new approaches, gives innovative answers and lays news paths. Social innovation either reacts to a new social question or it solves a known problem by a new practice. Action can be taken by the affected social group itself, it must in any case be appropriated and co-implemented by those concerned. In this manner, social innovation creates sustainable, exemplary solutions that inspire others.


Definition social innovation, Unruhe Private Foundation

SozialMarie Prize Statue

SozialMarie is a prize for social innovation awarded to 15 outstanding projects every year. With its first call for applications in 2004 and awarding in 2005 it has been the first prize for social innovation in Europe. Beyond a financial recognition adding up to €54,000, SozialMarie primarily offers a public platform for social innovative projects in Central Eastern Europe.

SozialMarie Prize Statue

International right from the start, SozialMarie has acquired a solid reputation in Austria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia. Unruhe Private Foundation, established by Wanda Moser-Heindl and Friedrich Moser in 2000, manages the prize.


for courageous


Beyond novelty of the idea, the SozialMarie Criteria for Social Innovation focus on involvement of different groups, effectiveness of implementation and example effect. SozialMarie awards successfully implemented projects and is a premium seal of quality for effective social innovation. To promote and disseminate exemplary projects, as well as to advance the discussion about social innovation are SozialMarie’s main goals.

Award ceremony

From all submissions to the annual call, the expert jury nominates max. 35 projects for the prize and consequently selects the best 15 projects to be awarded and announced on May 1 at the Award Ceremony in ORF RadioKulturhaus in Vienna. The first three prizes are endowed with €15,000, €10,000 and €5,000; the other twelve prizes are endowed with €2,000 each.

Active patronage

Inspiring personalities overtake the active patronage of awarded or nominated projects of their choice at the Award Ceremony every year. The role of the patrons is an active one, they accompany or support the project over the following year.

See all patrons

Audience Award

The Audience Award is bestowed by the public on one of the annual nominations in an online voting. The winner will receive a grant for educational purposes. The Audience Award is separate from the jury prizes.