ERASMUS+ Sport and Social Cohesion Lab (SSCL)

Head of the project
Dr. Karen Petry

IESF staff entrusted with the project
Katrin Bauer M.A.
Louis Moustakas M.Sc.

Period of project
January 2021 – December 2023


  • In Safe Hands Ev (Germany)
  • Sport Against Racism Ireland (Ireland)
  • Institute Of Technology Tralee (Ireland)
  • The Hague University of Applied Science (Netherlands)
  • International Sports Alliance (Netherlands)
  • Palacky University Olomouc (Czechia)
  • INEX-SDA / fotbal pro Rozvoj (Czechia)
  • Swiss Academy for Development (Switzerland)
  • European Network of Sport Education (Austria)

Project Funding
European Commission - Erasmus+622025-EPP-1-2020-1-DE-SPO-SCP

Given the increasing change and diversity in European cities, encouraging social cohesion more is seen as of the utmost importance for the stability, growth and solidarity of European cities.

Acknowledging the critical importance of social cohesion, over the last decade, sport and physical activity have become increasingly recognized and implemented as tools to foster social cohesion in neighbourhoods, cities and communities around Europe. As a result, numerous programmes have emerged that attempt to enhance social cohesion through a variety of sport-based approaches.

However, despite this boom in sport and social cohesion, there remain some “wicked problems” to be addressed. First and foremost, current definitions and understandings of social cohesion rarely take into account the needs, expectations or understanding of practitioners and participants on the ground. Second,  practitioners in the field often lack the skills and tools necessary to design, measure, evaluate and improve their programmes. And, finally, there is a lack of evidence, transparency and understanding of these programmes.

The Living Lab concept provides an innovative approach to address these gaps in knowledge and implementation. As such, the Sport for Social Cohesion Lab (SSCL) project will implement a Living Lab approach. This will directly engage programme participants, generate understanding of the elements that promote social cohesion in a sport setting and to develop relevant tools to allow for the exploration, measurement and improvement of social cohesion outcomes in highly diverse but vulnerable urban neighbourhoods.

Through this, the SSCL project aims to increase social cohesion in diverse, vulnerable urban neighbourhoods and support practitioners in delivering high-quality sport for social cohesion programmes. We do this by creating tools and disseminating knowledge based on a greater understanding of social cohesion at the neighbourhood level. In the end, the SSCL project will facilitate greater social cohesion for the neighbourhoods and individuals who need it most.