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European Commission - Press release

European Innovation Partnership agrees on actions to turn ageing into an opportunity

Brussels, 7 November 2011. Today, the Steering Group of the pilot European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing agreed on joint actions in response to the societal challenge of an ageing European population. The Group is made up of people from the health and social sectors, businesses, civil society to public authorities. In today’s Strategic Implementation Plan, the Group sets out priority actions to meet the challenge of ageing through innovation. The overarching objective is to ensure that the average European citizen has two more active and healthy years to live by 2020. The implementation plan is the first step towards that objective, and focuses on three main areas of life events: prevention, care and cure, and independent living. Five specific actions, ready to be launched next year, have been determined:

  • Innovative ways to ensure patients follow their prescriptions – a concerted action in at least 30 European regions;

  • Innovative solutions to prevent falls and support early diagnosis for older people;

  • Co-operation to help prevent functional decline and frailty, with a particular focus on malnutrition;

  • Spread and promote successful innovative integrated care models for chronic diseases amongst older patients, such as through remote monitoring. Action should be taken in a number of the EU’s regions;

  • Improve the uptake of interoperable ICT independent living solutions through global standards to help older people stay independent, mobile and active for longer.

In addition, networking and knowledge sharing on innovation for age-friendly buildings, cities and environments will be pursued.

The Steering Group invites the European Commission to address barriers to innovation in the field of active and healthy ageing and to foster a more effective use of EU funding.

The European Commission's Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes; the Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli; and the Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science, Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, together, oversee the Partnership.

In a joint statement, they said, “We want to make a real difference to the lives of older Europeans and this plan seeks to do exactly that. In these challenging times for Europe, we are delighted that so many parties are committed to joining forces. It is only through their innovative approaches that we can turn the challenge of demographic ageing into a great opportunity for people, carers and businesses. We will play our part, for example, through regulation and funding, and will talk to government leaders in partnership with stakeholders, to make this plan a reality.”


The European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing is an integral part of the Innovation Union, one of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 Strategy, which aims to create smart, sustainable and inclusive growth by the end of this decade. The Innovation Union contains a number of actions that aim to make Europe a world-class science performer; remove obstacles to innovation and revolutionise the way public and private sectors work together, notably through Innovation Partnerships between the European institutions, national and regional authorities and businesses.

Its Steering Group was set up in May 2011, and is made up of over 30 stakeholders from the entire innovation chain for health and ageing, including Member States and regions, organisations representing older patients, nurses, carers and doctors, hospitals representatives, academics, industry and venture capitalists organisations. It is chaired by the European Commission's Vice-President for the Digital Agenda, Neelie Kroes, and the European Commissioner for Health and Consumer Policy, John Dalli.

The Steering Group has selected a first set of five actions, which will work as "pathfinders" to implement the European Innovation Partnership's vision. In a longer term perspective, the first group of actions will be complemented with new actions in line with priorities such as health literacy, patient empowerment, personalised health management, prevention and early diagnosis of functional and cognitive decline, and extending active and independent living through open and personalised solutions.

By properly harnessing the potential of all forms of innovation – from technology, process, and organisational to social - the Partnership encourages stakeholders to deliver care solutions that put older people in the centre of their actions.

The overarching objective of the Partnership is to increase by 2 years the average number of healthy life years in the EU by 2020. The result would be threefold:

  • An improvement of the health status and quality of life of Europeans, especially older people;

  • An improvement of the sustainability and efficiency of health and social care systems;

  • Boosted EU competitiveness through an improved business environment for innovation.

Procedure / What's next?

The European Commission will work closely with national governments and a wide range of stakeholders to move the Strategic Implementation Plan forward. Next year, it will launch calls for involvement of stakeholders beyond those that participated in the Steering Group to implement together the priorities and actions identified in the Strategic Implementation Plan.

Further information:

Website of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing:

Neelie Kroes website:

John Dalli website:

Press releases of Steering Group members are at:

Follow Commissioner Kroes on Twitter:

DG Health and Consumers website on the Partnership:

The Strategic Implementation Plan:

Digital Agenda website:

Related press material:

IP/10/1288, IP/10/581, IP/10/1609, MEMO/10/199, MEMO/10/200, IP/11/519

Contacts :

Frédéric Vincent (+32 2 298 71 66)

Aikaterini Apostola (+32 2 298 76 24)

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