European regions drive innovation in active and healthy ageing
Population ageing is becoming one of the most significant social transformations of the twenty-first century. As such, it has many opportunities for growth. Just like any other societal challenges, ageing is also best addressed in a concrete territory, like a city or a region. Cities and regions are essential partners for effective policy action in ageing societies and offer inspiring examples.
Funka is currently supporting the European Commission in the launch of a call to identify collaborations between regions, cities, hospitals, care organisations, NGOs and companies that are proactively working on active and healthy ageing issues. The partnerships formed between these organisations are referred to as Reference Sites as they foster innovation and knowledge sharing across sectors in the field of active and healthy ageing, becoming a reference for other areas of Europe.
The collaboration between the public sector, industry, research and academia and civil society organisations helps to drive change far beyond the scope any one particular organisation could achieve on their own says Jose Usero, Responsible for European projects at Funka who is currently focusing on the Call for Reference Sites.
To become a Reference Site, these partnerships have to demonstrate concrete examples of innovative health and care solutions that they deliver to the ageing population. Although the Call does not provide any funding, it does give organisations the opportunity to be awarded the Reference Site status and gain recognition at European level for their commitment to active and healthy ageing. It also offers them the chance to join the Reference Site Collaborative Network (RSCN) and collaborate with other like-minded alliances in Europe and beyond.
It has been a pleasure working with Funka, developing the Guidance and Criteria for the 3rd Call for Reference Sites in order to produce something that will help to drive innovation, social and economic development and competitiveness in the regions, says John Farrell, Founder and former Adviser to the RSCN and external expert of WE4AHA project, led by Funka.
Those applicants who are successful will receive a rating of between 1 to 4 stars, according to their impact on active and healthy ageing. There will be an award ceremony in Aarhus, Denmark on the 25th of September at the Ambient Assisted Living Forum where they will meet with other successful applicants and form new connections to continue and improve the work in their region.
This initiative is being carried out as part of the WE4AHA project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Framework programme. Funka is coordinating the WE4AHA project.