In 2012, an Interuniversity Attraction Pole (IAP) proposal entitled "If Not for Profit, for What? And How?" was submitted by four Belgian universities and selected to be funded from October 2012 through September 2017.
Around 45 faculty members and researchers in economics, management, sociology and psychology from Belgian universities and four international research partners were involved in this IAP from the outset (although only some of them were directly financed by the IAP). They focused on one overall objective, defined by the subtitle of the research programme, i.e. "Building interdisciplinary and integrated knowledge on social entrepreneurship and social enterprise" (the acronym of the programme, namely "SOCENT", is derived from this subtitle).
The SOCENT research programme covers various thematic lines, among which a major International Comparative Social Enterprise Models – ICSEM – Project, carried out in close partnership with the EMES European Research Network.