On Monday November 25 over 600 enthusiastic participants and other stakeholders of the Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing gathered in Brussels for the second Conference of Partners. They engaged in debates on the Innovation Partnership and its contribution to economic growth and job creation, and on scaling up its activities. Other sessions were devoted to the Action Groups' first year's results and next steps; and to horizontal issues.
In his opening address, Health Commissioner Tonio Borg set the tone: "Europe's health systems need in-depth reforms now, if we want our citizens to benefit from high quality, efficient and sustainable health systems in the future." Constantijn van Oranje-Nassau, Head of Cabinet of Neelie Kroes (who sent her regrets for not being able to attend), proposed reinvesting savings and efficiencies in ICT-driven innovation for Health and Social care. MEP Mairead McGuinness pleaded for putting people in the center and for more common sense: "Sometimes the money is there, but simply needs to be better used."
In the panel session dedicated to Social and economic growth and employment, Mrs. María José Sánchez Rubio, Health Minister of Andalucía (Spain), argued for the EIP on AHA to be closer linked to policies tackling youth unemployment. She presented their Strategy on Active Ageing, which created over 5000 jobs. More examples of impact 'on the ground' were provided, but also of initiatives at regional and national level. Mr. Fabien Verdier, representing the French Minister for Minister for Elders and Autonomy, presented the French 'Silver Economy Strategy'. It has the goal of boosting supply and demand in products and services for ageing well. And Mrs. Sarah Rochira, Commissioner for older people, spoke about the Ageing Well in Wales Strategy, and its prospects to be scaled up in a Celtic Innovation Partnership with Scotland, Ireland, and Galicia.
During the panel session on scaling up, information was provided on the coherence between the EIP and other Commission initiatives, from the H2020 research and Development programme till the new Active and Assisted Living Joint Programme. Special attention was given to the ERDF and other forms of regional funding, and about the smart-specialization strategies that regions need to develop now to become eligible.
Then the discussion moved to the Action Groups' preliminary achievements (a year after the adoption of their action plans), mostly centered on the analysis and sharing of good practices, mutual learning; dissemination and awareness raising, and cooperation among partners. For the upcoming year the delivery targets clearly indicate large scale deployment as the next step, including the development of a framework for organizational models, implementation and scaling up, and impact evaluation.
The Conference continued the next day with a more operational focus: with Action Group workshops on the monitoring framework and on horizontal issues such as the repository of good practices (under construction), and a very animated twinning event with Reference Sites and other interested regions. These two intense days set a sound basis for the next EIP-AHA year.
Online publications and other material
Some of the accumulated results and insights were presented during the conference; they are all downloadable now. Great material for all those who want to be inspired or have ambitions to innovate health and care according to the EIP recipe:
- Action Groups. First Year Achievements: it offers an overview of the objectives and preliminary achievements
- The "How To" Guide for Reference Sites: valuable information is provided on how the Reference Sites have created their successes, what they learned along the way, and on what elements of their approach could be transferred or copied by others. Finally a short overview of inventories of good practices, created by the Action Groups was provided on paper, while the complete versions can now be found online.