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Become a key player in driving regional innovation in active and healthy ageing across Europe by applying for the 3rd Call for Reference Sites. Extended deadline: 15th July!


The European Commission, supported by Funka as Coordinator of the WE4AHA Coordination and Support Action providing a wide range of services to the EIP on AHA community, are pleased to announce the launch of the 3rd Call for Reference Sites. The Call aims to provide regions and areas across Europe with the opportunity to identify and explore proven examples of innovation and become exemplars of good policy and practice related to active and healthy ageing. 


Contribute to economic growth in regions across Europe

Reference Sites represent an alliance or partnership of stakeholders within a region or major metropolitan area. Successful Reference Sites bring together a wide range of stakeholders (e.g. Regional Government Bodies and Health and Care providers, industry, academia and civil society) into a coherent partnership to understand and address the challenges of delivering health and care services to an ageing population. These collaborations drive structural change far beyond the scope any one particular organisation could achieve on its own. They help to create an environment for other regions across Europe to learn, transfer and adapt knowledge to local realities, with regional, social and economic development as the long-term objective.


The adoption of a strategic approach allows regions to focus on the benefits obtained through the adoption of innovative practices and solutions. A wider use of this approach would help transform the EIP on AHA from being supply side driven (i.e. development of a solution), to a model that can assess impact against the required outcomes for patients and service users. This focus on outcomes therefore provides a Triple Win which all stakeholders can contribute to.


This 3rd Call is directed to new as well as to existing Reference Sites building on policy changes introduced since the 2nd Call. There have also been a number of new strategic developments which can be supported by Reference Sites e.g. Transformation of Health and Care in the Digital Single Market and work carried out through the Horizon 2020 WE4AHA CSA, particularly in the 3 horizontal initiatives, such as the Blueprint and the Innovation to Market (I2M) plan and MAFEIP.


Why become a Reference Site?

Are you interested in becoming a Reference Site? It can bring many different benefits for your region, including:

  • an enhanced strategic oversight and direction.
  • active engagement in international activities.
  • an opportunity to become a catalyst in a region to bring other stakeholders on board to work collaboratively on the development of innovative solutions.
  • an opportunity to Scale up service delivery models by ensuring health and care providers are able to adopt innovative practices through capacity building.
  • contribution to the development of Regional Strategies for Innovation, Economy and Smart Specialisation (amongst others).

The Reference Site status also provides regions and areas with an enhanced network and greater credibility to form consortia and proposals for EC funding programmes that complement and accelerate transfer and scaling up activities within and across regions.


What are the conditions to become a reference Site?

The EIP on AHA provides a framework for continuous improvement and the involvement of new relevant stakeholders to enable any Reference Site to maintain and further improve its status. The following key characteristics are therefore proposed to be used to assess the maturity of Reference Sites, which will then be reflected in the allocation of their star status. To be successful, applications should demonstrate:

  • the involvement of government/health/care, research and academia, industry, civil society representatives (quadruple helix).
  • the comprehensive strategies in place/under development supporting an active and healthy ageing population.
  • a response to health, societal and economic challenges to deliver against the EIP on AHA triple win objectives.
  • an alignment with the EIP on AHA strategy.
  • the development of partnerships with other Regions for the transfer and exchange of good practices.
  • a commitment to supporting the Digital Transformation of Health and Care.
  • contribution to the European evidence base such as the Monitoring and Assessment Framework for the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (MAFEIP).
  • the impact of good practices and the degree that they have scaled up smart health and care solutions for active and healthy ageing.

For the full conditions, please consult the Information and Guidance Document.


The process for becoming or making progress as a Reference Site incorporates an Improvement Tool which Reference Sites can use to identify gaps and opportunities for improvement, as well as develop an implementation plan. This will allow Reference Sites to continually challenge and benchmark themselves to ensure they are at the forefront in strategy and policy development and therefore contributing to the economic growth in their region and across Europe. 


Who can apply?

The 3rd Call for Reference Sites is directed to both new candidates and existing reference Sites. Applicants should:

  • represent an alliance or partnership of stakeholders within a region or major metropolitan area.
  • be any institution or entity that is in the position to act on the EIP on AHA topics, disregarding its legal status.

IMPORTANT: All existing Reference Sites must re-apply to maintain their Reference Site status. 


How do I apply?

All applications for the 3rd call for reference sites must be submitted via the online application form. This online form has four different sections which must ALL be filled out: 

 - Application Form Part I: About your organisation; Care model; Essential criterion 1&2

 - Application Form Part II: Criteria 1-2

 - Application Form Part III: Criteria 3-4

 - Application Form Part IV: Criteria 5-6


In order to help candidates to prepare their application, the following supporting documents are available:

The extended deadline for applications is the 15th July 2019.

Should you have any questions or doubts related to the call, please contact we4aha@funka.com


What are the key dates for the call?

  • 3 of June 2019. Call is published.
  • 15 of July 2019. Deadline for submitting applications.
  • 15 of July to 5 of September. Peer review evaluation.
  • 6 to 15 of September. Attribution of stars by the EC based on the peer review.
  • 15 of September. Publication of the results and communication campaign.
  • 15 to 20 of September. Funka sends out electronic certificates, logos and guidance on how to use them.
  • 25 of September. Reference Sites award ceremony at the joint event AAL Forum/EIPonAHA Conference of Partners in Aarhus (Denmark).
Related action groups: 
A1 Adherence to prescription, A2 Falls prevention, A3 Lifespan Health Promotion & Prevention of Age Related Frailty and Disease, B3 Integrated care, C2 Independent living solutions, D4 Age friendly environments
Relevance to partnership: 
Active ageing and independent living, Care and cure, Horizontal issues and framework conditions, Prevention, screening and early diagnosis