Coordinated action to support the recognition of Silver Economy opportunities arising from demographic change

Specific Challenge

The ageing of European populations coincides with the increasing digitalisation of both, the economy and the society. The emerging European Silver Economy offers numerous opportunities for digital solutions to help address the ageing challenge and to create new socio-economic opportunities.

Despite becoming an increasingly large section of Europe's population very often older adults remain an "overlooked demographic", underserved by products and services that do not meet their particular needs.

Developing products, services and solutions for the older population is not naturally perceived as an attractive proposition by some of the most talented innovators and (social) entrepreneurs. Very often the negative connotation of "old-age" reduces the talent-pool of entrepreneurs that could be engaged in developing ICT solutions for active and healthy ageing. It also hampers the attractiveness of capital investment channelled into active and healthy ageing solutions already developed and finally reduces significantly the market up-take of innovative solutions for active and healthy ageing.

The challenge is to reward excellence in innovative products and services for the ageing population, and highlight the opportunities that a growing ageing population can generate for entrepreneurs, investors, public authorities and civil society interested in developing new products, services and solutions.


This shall be achieved by establishing a widely recognised European annual award scheme for innovative solutions which can demonstrate a significant impact improving the quality of life of the ageing population, for both women and men, and sustaining a viable and promising business model.

This Annual award will bring together all relevant societal actors and economic sectors to create a pan-European movement that acknowledges and exploits the opportunities brought about by demographic change and innovation.

The proposal should develop and implement an integrated communication and innovation concept, built upon this annual European award scheme promoting the best examples of ICT innovation for active and healthy ageing, addressing key stakeholders and sectors of the Silver Economy, such as advertising, innovative consumer products and services, age-friendly workplaces, age friendly living environments etc.

Specific issues to be addressed include:

  • Identification of the most relevant categories of awards (products, services and solutions, supporting uptake of ICT innovation for active and healthy ageing);
  • Establishment of a high-level selection jury which can ensure widespread recognition of the movement and award scheme;
  • Implementation of an annual European award scheme with high visibility;
  • Identification of award sponsors and securing commitment including funding;
  • Achieving a considerable number of high-quality applications for the awards;
  • Effective engagement of key stakeholders and dissemination of awarded projects across Europe on the basis of a positive narrative for demographic change and ICT innovation;
  • Effective engagement of and networking with similar initiatives within Member States;
  • Establishment and implementation of a methodology for tracking the outreach and impact of the award scheme;
  • Mobilisation of (social) entrepreneurs, social partners, citizens, grass-roots initiatives, designers, brands, retailers, industrial operators, researchers, innovators, investors and other societal actors.

The proposal should present ways to promote and reward innovative and creative ideas that tap into the potential that lies in an ever growing number of active, healthy, mobile and solvent older citizens. Ideas may be found in enterprises, social innovation initiatives, local and regional governments.

The proposal can cover partly or fully the funding dedicated to the award itself during the first year of the project with the aim of attracting other sponsors for a long-term establishment of the award scheme. Until alternative long-term funding sources are defined and secured, proposals may use a share of the action budget during the project for the provision of financial support to third parties in the form of an award (prize) in line with the conditions set out in Part K of the General Annexes.

It must be clearly demonstrated how this action promotes the opportunities arising from demographic change and how it will build on existing EU and national networks and fora in the area (e.g. Horizon 2020, EIP-AHA, AAL JP, JPI MYBL, EIT Health, national strategies on demographic change, research networks…).

The Commission considers that proposals requesting a contribution from the EU of up to EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The proposal should present quantitative and qualitative metrics for measuring its progress towards the expected impact in:

  • Sustainable establishment and widespread recognition of a European Silver Economy Innovation Award scheme.
  • Encouraging further innovation and entrepreneurship to improve the quality of life of the ageing population
  • Increased interest by social entrepreneurs, investors, retailers, brands, designers, and public authorities in supporting the development of innovation for active and healthy ageing.
  • Increased public awareness about the opportunities and potential of demographic change and innovation across Europe.
Application date
Social sciences
Humanities : Anthropology & Ethnology