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Commission launches €2 million Horizon Prize in Social Innovation

Brussels, 27 November 2017

The European Commission today launched a Horizon Prize in Social Innovation to improve the mobility of older people.

The prize has a budget of €2 million and is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. One prize of €1 million and four runner-up prizes of €250,000 each will be awarded to the most innovative mobility solutions that enable older citizens to continue to fully participate in social activities, maintain their autonomy and age healthily. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, launched the contest at the “Opening up to an era of social innovation” conference in Lisbon.

Commissioner Moedas said: "In 2060, almost a third of population of the European Union will be over 65. This share is nearly twice as big as it is today. We have no choice but to innovate now in order to address the increasing needs of older citizens, especially the need for improved mobility. Designing and operating mobility solutions will provide new opportunities for innovators and social entrepreneurs."

The Commission is looking for replicable and scalable solutions that promote bottom-up creativity by bringing together innovators and organisations from civil society and the private and public sectors. The winning projects will be expected to combine technological, social and behavioural features, and they will have to be implemented for at least five months during the period of the contest. In other respects, applicants will have total freedom in the approach they take to deliver their solution.

Submissions will be accepted until 28 February 2019 from any legal entities established in the EU or in countries associated to Horizon 2020. The prize will be awarded in the second quarter of 2019.

Background

Horizon Prizes are challenge prizes (also known as 'inducement' prizes) which offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. They act as an incentive for innovation by prescribing the goal, but not how the goal should be achieved. The Commission is introducing a set of challenge prizes under Horizon 2020, the EU's €77 billion research and innovation programme running from 2014 to 2020.

The theme of this prize was identified on the basis of a public consultation. The Commission received 9685 votes, with 32% supporting the topic of ageing population.