CCR Cooperative Research Conference in Leuven: advancing cooperative thinking

19 Jul 2023
CCR Leuven

Over 150 participants from across the world gathered at the ICA Committee on Cooperative Research (CCR) Global and European Cooperative Research Conference “Innovating in cooperative governance. Governing cooperative innovation”, held from 10 to 13 July at the KU Leuven University, Belgium.

Co-organised by the ICA CCR, the Centre of Expertise for Cooperative Entrepreneurship (KCO) of the KU Leuven, and the Centre for Social Economy of the HEC Liège Management School, the event comprised 4 plenaries, 10 panel sessions, and workshops with practitioners. Aside from the cross-cutting themes of cooperative innovation and governance, these sessions dealt with multiple topics that are shaping the present and the future of the cooperative model, such as new technologies, ecological sustainability, social innovation and civic wealth creation, resilience, new forms of cooperativism, cooperative law, and education and training. In addition, plenary sessions covered aspects that open new potentialities for cooperative development such as university spin-offs and further analysis on cooperative ecosystems.

The conference was preceded by the pre-conference research and practice exchange day “Let’s cooperate!”, engaging researchers and practitioners in 11 dynamic and participatory workshops that stimulated debate between academics and cooperators from the field. In addition, prior the conference, young researchers had the opportunity to peer-learn and discuss about opportunities and challenges at the Young Scholar Workshop.

European CCR Award for lifetime achievement was awarded to Professor Marie J. Bouchard, University of Québec in Montreal, Canada for her contributions to research on cooperatives and social and solidarity economy. 2023 UNTFSSE Ana María O'Neill Award were given to two best papers selected by the selection committee. For young scholars, a paper of Louis Cousin (University of Laval, Canada) and Luc Audebrand (University of Paris-Saclay, France), titled “Cooperative associations: Frameworks of distributed leadership for collective digital innovation” was selected. For experienced researchers, a paper of Anu Puusa, Boksha Leena and Juha Kinnunen (University of Eastern Finland, Finland) was selected.

The event proved the need for strengthened international collaboration in the cooperative research family. Mutual exchanges and open dialogue not only facilitate knowledge creation, but it also prompts engagement and commitment among scholars and inspires new angles of study. These four days showed that, given the potential of the cooperative business model for positive social and economic transformation at local and global levels, there is momentum for cooperative thinking to thrive!

It was announced that the next ICA CCR European Research Conference will be held in Dundee, Scotland, 24-26 June 2024.

For more information visit the event website here or follow the hashtag #ICACCR2023 on social media.

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