Digital Single Market
Digital Single Market Newsroom

News :: Tackling the demographic challenge to create growth and jobs - Commission proposal for a renewed Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP)

Tackling the demographic challenge to create growth and jobs - Commission proposal for a renewed Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP)

(11/07/2013) The European Commission has proposed a follow up to the Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme (AAL JP) for 2014 – 2020, to continue the success of the present programme in applied research for ageing well with ICT. The aim of the AAL JP is to support industry, in particular SME to bring digital innovative products and services for ageing well to the European market. Alignment with the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA) could further boost deployment at European scale.

What proofs the AAL JP has been successful?

In the current AAL JP (2008 – 2013), 19 EU countries, plus Israel, Norway and Switzerland work together. In each of the more than 120 projects at least 3 Member States, one SME, a knowledge institute and a user organisation take part. Many SME-have joined (over 350, around 50% - as opposed to 25% on average in FP7) and the AAL JP has shown an extremely efficient leverage of financial means. The national financial contributions for the first 4 calls on average were 36% above the required minimum of 50%, in spite of austerity. Many projects have shown real potential for market deployment e.g. by securing financing beyond project duration.

Some examples:

The HELP project (Home-based Empowered living for Parkinson's Disease Patients) will make a massive breakthrough on the treatment of Parkinson's disease (PD) with two new cutting-edge products: a sensor that detects PD symptoms and an intraoral device to administer PD medication in a non-invasive way. A spin-off company of the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (Spain) has been created, Sense4Care, to commercialise the sensor.

HOMEdotOLD helps older people stay in touch with the world around them and have a social life, even if it's not easy for them to leave the house. Via their own trusted tv they can share a 'remote dinner' with distant friends, exchange photos with relatives, keep their calendar and receive personalised news. A personalised bundle of social networking services is provided through IPTV, Net TV and Internet platforms, for which the user pays a standard fee. Estimated revenues in 2017 will be €1.4 million.

SOFTCARE is a prototype monitoring system for older adults that gives real-time alarm to (in)formal carers and users in dangerous situations and warnings on long-term trends that could indicate a future problem. The business plan of the SOFTCARE project provided estimates that by 2018 there will be 100.000 users with projected revenues of € 66 million, from the sales of devices and provision of services.

Why did the Commission propose to continue the AAL JP till 2020?

The large SME participation, the proven exploitation potential and the percentage of companies that secured financing beyond the project duration (about 50%) were reasons for the Commission to propose to continue the programme from 2014 till 2020 under the new Horizon 2020 research framework programme.

How much will it cost?

The AAL JP receives €175 million from the European Commission, €350 million from industrial partners and another € 175 million from Member States: more than € 700 million for 7 years.

What are the main goals of the initiative?

  • To give older adults access to more and better products and services for ageing well. These will help them to keep living independently in their own homes and to participate in economy and society for more years.
  • To create a larger market for industry and especially SMEs at European level and improve EU competitiveness in ICT based products and services for ageing well.
  • To make researchers benefit from collaboration with other experts at European scale.
  • To help governments gain cost efficiencies and increased sustainability of health and social care, while tackling the societal challenge of demographic ageing.

What is new about the new AAL JP?

The new AAL JP will be further optimised for rapid decision making and new types of support (like prizes and innovation grants) to ensure fast response time to opportunities and even further lower entrance barriers.
The new AAL JP will support the implementation of the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing by aligning to its scope covering ICT based innovation: from independent living and integrated care (including telehealth and telecare) to fall prevention, medication adherence and age-friendly environments and communities.

How will AAL JP be managed?

The participating countries manage the dedicated Ambient Assisted Living Association, which takes all the strategic and funding decisions, while the European Commission is an observer. The EU provides financial support subject to at least 50% of the public funding provided by participating countries.

Why is action needed at European Level?

EU action is needed to counter fragmentation of research efforts, which causes currently a lack of innovative products and services for ageing well that meets user needs across Europe. By joining forces between Member States and the EU a critical mass of investment can be mobilised to help turn research investments into growth and to help Europe develop a competitive edge in the international market.

Useful links

AAL JP Annual Forum:
EIP on Active and Healthy Ageing: