About the Prize

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.

Expert Jury

Elisabeth Hammer

Mag.a DSAin Elisabeth Hammer

Elisabeth Hammer is chief executive at neunerhaus, social scientist and social worker. She is editor of several textbooks and regularly publishes papers on homelessness. Currently she is chairlady of BAWO – Bundesarbeitsgemeinschaft Wohnungslosenhilfe (National Association Assistance to the Homeless).

Dr. Josef Hochgerner

Univ.-Prof. Dr. Josef Hochgerner

Josef Hochgerner, founder and scientific director of the Centre for Social Innovation (ZSI) until 2014, is a sociologist, researcher, teacher and expert in social innovation. 2001-2005 he was president of the Austrian Association for Sociology (ÖGS). Together with Danube University Krems he developed the curriculum of the study program Master of Arts in Social Innovation (MASI). Furthermore, he is initiator and director of the European School of Social Innovation (ESSI).

DI Ana Jeinić

Ana Jeinić is a doctoral student at the Institute for Architectural Theory, Art and Cultural Studies in Graz, studied architecture and philosophy in Graz, Venice and Delft. She researched and taught critical design and spatial theory at the Graz University of Technology and as a guest lecturer at the University of Edinburgh. In her current research she tries to trace a post neoliberal concept of design and innovation.

Miro Kocur

Dr. Miroslav Kocúr, PhD

Miroslav Kocúr works at the non-profit organization LEAF, focusing on the support of young people who run innovative educational, business and non-profit projects. He was the first director of the C.S. Lewis Bilingual High School in Bratislava. He publishes regularly on socio-ethical issues and moderates a debate program on contemporary cultural-societal and philosophical-religious topics in cooperation with the Slovak Radio.

Katalin Teller

Katalin Teller, PhD

Katalin Teller is assistant professor at the Department of Aesthetics of the Institute for Art Theory and Media Studies at Eötvös Loránd University Budapest. She is working on international and interdisciplinary research projects on cultural techniques, migration literature, urban history and popular culture, recently at the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society in Vienna. She regularly translates in the fields of cultural theory and history, as well as journalistic works.

Veronika Janyrova

Mag.a Veronika Č. Janýrová, MBA

Veronika Janýrová is project manager at The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (wiiw), focusing on the organizational management of international research consortia and the coordination of EU-funded research projects. She is a simultaneous interpreter and has been engaged in numerous film, art, print and cultural productions with an Austrian-Czech dimension as well.



Petra Radeshcnig

Mag.a Petra Radeschnig


Petra Radeschnig is an organizational consultant, trainer and coach with systemic background. 2002–2004 she worked for the German and 2005–2007 for the Austrian development cooperation in Burkina Faso, West Africa. She has management and leadership experience in very diverse cultural contexts.


The special task of SozialMarie active patrons is the accompaniment and/or support of one of the prize winning or nominated projects over the year following their awarding. Every year during the Award Ceremony on 1st of May inspiring personalities overtake the active patronage for those countries which are part of SozialMarie's submission area: Austria, Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Croatia.

Milo Tesselaar

Patron in Austria 2021

Boris Jokić

Patron in Croatia 2021

Márton Galambos

Patron in Hungary 2021

Adela Vinczeová

Patron in Slovakia 2021

Yemi A. D.

Patron in Czech Republic 2021

Former Patrons

Open Former Patron List

Nenad Maljković

Patron in Croatia 2020

Herta Stockbauer

Patron in Austria 2020

Barbara Erős

Patron in Hungary 2020

Dušan Ondrušek

Patron in Slovakia 2020

Petr Šmíd

Patron in Czech Republic 2020

Petra Hubačová

Patron in Czech Republic 2019

Sandra Pázmán Tordová

Patron in Slovakia 2019

Michael Köhlmeier

Patron in Austria 2019

János Czafrangó

Patron in Hungary 2019

László Ágoston

Patron in Hungary 2018

Tomáš Jindříšek

Patron in Czech Republic 2018

Ján Orlovský

Patron in Slovakia 2018

Karl Amon

Patron in Austria 2018

Iveta Radičová

Patron in Slovakia 2017

Lejla Abbasová

Patron in Czech Republic 2017

Tímea Junghaus

Patron in Hungary 2017

Augustin (Prince) Pallikunnel

Patron in Austria 2017

Zsófia Mautner

Patron in Hungary 2016

Pavel Kysilka

Patron in Czech Republic 2016

Josef Hader

Patron in Austria 2016

Ádám Somlai-Fischer

Patron in Hungary 2015

Zbyněk Frolík

Patron in Czech Republic 2015

Dominik Cofalka, Christophe Gilet und Wolfgang Schreiner, Partner Mensalia

Patrons in Austria 2015

Sima & Ahmad Porkar

Patrons in Austria 2014

PhDr. Tomáš Sedláček

Patron in Czech Republic 2014

Edit Sasvári

Patron in Hungary 2014

András Ujlaky

Patron in Hungary 2013

Táňa Fischerová

Patron in Czech Republic 2013

Dr. Gabriele Zuna-Kratky

Patron in Austria 2013

Milán Gauder

Patron in Hungary 2012

Susanne Schubert Lustig & Francis Lustig

Patrons in Austria 2012

Renate Brauner

Patron in Austria 2006

Maria Rauch-Kallat

Patron in Austria 2006