[FUNDED] SYNCLUSIVE: Closing the employment gap and creating a more inclusive labour market

An international interdisciplinary, and cross-sectoral consortium led by TNO acquired funding to test and study an innovative, integral, and interdisciplinary systems’ approach to stimulate inclusion of vulnerable groups in the labour market. The project is carried out by sixteen research, academic and stakeholder organisations and SMEs across Europe. It will use Living Labs as a central research approach. The ambition is to reduce inequalities in the labour market and promote inclusion by building active regional community coalitions in 4 Living Labs to stimulate upward mobility in organisations resulting in better access of vulnerable job seekers.

SYNCLUSIVE EU project logo

Funding programme: Horizon Europe Research and Innovation Action
Duration: March 2023 – February 2027
Total budget: 3 M€
Consortium: 16 partners in 7 European countries
Coordinator: TNO


Showcase of a successful project


In the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, uncertainties related to the impact of Russia’s war against Ukraine, the accelerated energy transition, the introduction of new technologies, and the ageing population are among the main factors that impact EU labour markets. Vulnerable groups take the hit of the growing and shrinking labour market due to macro-economic developments. They are the first to be ‘pushed out’ and are stimulated to re-train to enter in other sectors where there are human resource shortages. In the long run, this exclusion from the labour market leads to a widening employment gap between vulnerable and mainstream groups, extending beyond the borders of work life into societal structures of solidarity, trust, satisfaction and (mental) wellbeing.

It is thus urgent to address and reduce these inequalities. Promoting labour market inclusion of vulnerable groups is not only about inclusion of those who are still outside the labour market. SYNCLUSIVE’s vision is that stimulating mobility of current employees creates traction for inclusion of vulnerable job seekers in the regional labour market. To create such mobility and at the same time mitigate discrimination, an innovative systems approach is required. SYNCLUSIVE aims to develop, implement, and evaluate such integral and interdisciplinary systems approach to promote inflow, retention and further professional development of vulnerable groups in the labour market.

In 4 Living Labs, SYNCLUSIVE develops and consolidates a network of stakeholders to test the usefulness and applicability of the system-based approach for different vulnerable groups. Within these labs, stakeholders will identify drivers and barriers and implement an integrated package of interventions for both upward or sideward mobility of employees and the inflow of vulnerable groups.

In the short term, SYNCLUSIVE yields outcomes directly in regional Living Labs in the Netherlands, Finland, Portugal and Bulgaria.  Social partners, relevant stakeholders, and experts in three other EU countries will reflect on opportunities for further upscaling.

Read more about our support in preparing strong proposals.

Author: Linde van Ittersum

Co-founder and Research Funding Professional at Fundament.

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