Centre d'Economie Sociale, ULg

Founded in the early 1990s by Pr. Jacques Defourny, the Centre for Social Economy (Centre d’Economie Sociale, or CES) pursues three major goals:

  • to develop research in the areas of social enterprise/entrepreneurship and the social economy, mainly from the perspectives of economics, management and organization theory, sociology and law;
  • to support, through its work, teaching in the area of social entrepreneurship and the social economy at the University of Liège and elsewhere, for Bachelor, Master and Doctoral students, as well as for practitioners in the area;
  • to offer the community and private and public decision-makers services based on its expertise.

Within HEC Management School, University of Liege, the Centre for Social Economy coordinates the "Social Enterprise and the Social Economy" peak of excellence. Research projects cover a wide range of conceptual (definitions), statistical (measurement) and more focused empirical work testing and building theory around social enterprise and the social economy. Using quantitative and/or qualitative methodologies, research questions are explored at the global level as well as in particular subfields of social enterprise such as culture, environment and energy, health, education, work integration, fair trade, etc. These research projects are led by three Professors, ten PhD students and two post-doc researchers from Belgium and abroad. From 2012 to 2017, the CES coordinates the IAP-SOCENT research programme.

Besides research, the Centre for Social Economy organizes two teaching programs. At the Master’s level, since 2010, the "Management of Social Enterprises" orientation trains students during the two years of the Master in Management Sciences. At the practitioners’ level, an executive education programme was started in 2012 for managers and entrepreneurs in the field.

Three Chairs within the CES contribute to teaching and research in management and entrepreneurship related to social enterprise and the social economy, namely the "Cera Chair in Social Entrepreneurship" (Pr. Sybille Mertens), the "SRIW-Sowecsom Chair in Social Enterprise Management" (Pr. Benjamin Huybrechts) and the newly born "Baillet-Latour Chair in Social Investment and Philanthropy".

The CES is a co-founder of the EMES European Research Network, and since 1996, it has hosted this network’s Coordination Unit. The EMES Network includes 12 research centres throughout the European Union and individual researchers specialised in the field of social enterprise and related issues (social and solidarity economy, non-profit organisations, third sector, etc.). The EMES Network, which has been registered as an international non-profit organisation (AISBL) under Belgian law since 2002, was chaired by Jacques Defourny until 2010. The next edition of the EMES International Research Conference on Social Enterprise will be organized in Liege (in July 2013), in collaboration with the CES and the IAP research programme.



Building B33, box 4
4000  Liege
+32(0)4/366.27.51 or 28.85