Digitalisation at the service of Silver Economy

The European Economic and Social Committee’s 2016 Opinion on “The digital pillar of growth: e-seniors, a potential of 25 of the European population” estimates that digitalisation can arguably bridge together the ageing of EU’s population and the conservation of active lifestyles. By 2060, for every young people there will be two older persons, whereby countries the most affected by this trend will be Sweden, Germany, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, followed by Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, and subsequently and gradually all the other Member States. (source)  

Consequently, the commercialisation of digital goods and services tailored to the needs of the ageing population, offered in the context of the Silver Economy, represent a tempting market. For instance, today EU citizens over 65 years old have the spending capacity of more than 3 bln EUR.

Digital goods and services can contribute to make EU’s senior independent for longer years. ICT is also becoming an essential source of innovation in relation to person-centred and distance care and offers a stronger focus on prevention and early detection.  Applications in which digital technologies and innovation can support healthy ageing include telehome technologies, mobile health market, smart homes integrated Internet of Things devices, service robots etc. 

Funding opportunities for the Silver Economy under Horizon 2020

In the framework of a growing Silver Economy Horizon 2020, the European Programme for Research and Innovation in the 2014-2020 period, is currently providing funds for international projects targeting the ageing population. The call for grants are embedded in the 2018-2020 Work Programme on “Health, demographic change and wellbeing”, under the call topic addressing digitalisation and healthy ageing. 

The aim is to support “the management of health and wellbeing while empowering the participation of citizens and facilitating the transformation of health and care services to more digitised, person-centred and community-based care models, thereby enabling better access to healthcare and the sustainability of health and care systems”.  Large companies, incubators/accelerators, SMEs and enterprises are eligible to join or form a Consortium and present a competing proposal for the calls.

Smart living environments for ageing population

Based on the EU’s definition, smart living concept underpins new way of living which give people the opportunity to “make life more efficient, controllable, economical, productive, integrated and sustainable”. 

A 4 million EUR call for international projects is available on “International cooperation in smart living environments for ageing people” (SC1-DTH-04-2020). The scope is to develop and validate new solutions leading to smart living environments, supporting independent active and healthy lifestyles. Suggested projects should bring the end-users at the centre of the service design and ensure its acceptance of the proposed solutions. Deadline for the present call is in June 18, 2020.

Multi-actor cooperation for the scaling up of digital innovations in the Silver Economy

“Scaling up innovation for active and healthy ageing” call for proposals (SC1-HCC-08-2020) offers up to 2 million EUR to promote the large scale deployment of digital innovation addressing active and healthy ageing listed in the Commission’s communication on “enabling the digital transformation of health and care in the Digital Single Market, empowering citizens and building a healthier society” (COM/2018/233 final). The proposed solutions must encourage interactions and collaborations among local and regional ecosystems, including representatives from stakeholder groups, industry, civil society, academia and public administration. Deadline for the present call is in June 18, 2020.

SILVER SMEs has been conducting multi-actors cooperation for 3 years and stresses the importance to gather different stakeholders (researchers, SMEs, local and regional authorities and older people) to boost innovation and find new solutions for seniors, especially those living in rural and remote areas. These new calls are thus potential opportunities for stakeholders involved in our project, especially SMEs, to develop their innovations.