All over Europe, many current initiatives share a common objective: to promote optimal ageing so that citizens have longer, better lives. These initiatives bring together public administrations, private enterprise, civil society associations, healthcare institutions, schools and scientific societies, with each organization contributing solutions based on its own area of expertise and experience. However, no network exists to facilitate and strengthen contact among them. This is the goal of SIforAGE: to connect the many different agents who are working to make active and healthy ageing possible.
The project is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Union, which has given 3.5 million euros for its implementation. SIforAGE is a transnational consortium that seeks to strengthen Europe’s competitiveness in promoting research and the marketing of products and services in the area of active and healthy ageing. The project’s aim is to act as a cohesive framework for existing programmes, but it also intends to support the formulation of new proposals. This is, for example, what the Social Innovation Incubator will do by fostering the development of new tools and mechanisms that support optimal ageing.
Solutions for optimal ageing
SIforAGE also has other objectives. These include encouraging civil society to become involved in the project, introducing public policies based on evidence through educational activities, raising awareness among the scientific community about the social and ethical challenges posed by the issue, analysing and enhancing market access for new products and services, and lastly, publicizing knowledge generated from the project’s implementation. The members of the consortium are research institutes and centres, private foundations, public innovation agencies, town councils, universities, non-profit organizations, think tanks and research groups. The coordinating organization for the project is Gisme (Interdisciplinary Group of Reflection and Mathematical Solutions for Entities), a working group associated with the University of Barcelona.
Prize for Research in Social Innovation
This year marks the first prize-giving for research in social innovation for active and healthy ageing. The prize will recognize projects that contribute to the inclusion of older citizens on the basis of their needs and the needs of their family members and carers. Nominated projects must be presented jointly by at least one public administration, one research institution and one civil society association and they must address one or more of the five top priority areas: solutions for the home, information and communication technologies, social participation, town planning, and health and well-being. The competition closes on 31 December 2014 and the prize will be 5,000 euros for the implementation of the winning projects.