Reference Sites

What are Reference Sites?

Reference Sites are inspirational ecosystems, delivering creative and workable solutions that improve the lives and health of older people and the whole community.


Reference Sites are regions, cities, integrated hospitals or care organisations and their quadruple helix partners from industry, civil society, academia and government authorities that focus on a comprehensive, innovation-based approach to active and healthy ageing. They offer concrete examples of their positive impact in this field.

In the 2019 Call for Reference Sites, 103 regional and local organisations were awarded Reference Site status.


They are leading regional organisations committed to investing in innovation for active and healthy ageing and supporting the transfer and scaling-up of that innovation across Europe. 


Map of 103 Reference Sites awarded in 2019. 


The policy dashboard presents the key activities of the EIP on AHA through an integrated geographical visualisation. It displays information on the commitments, good practices and reference sites, together with contextual indicators extracted from official statistics related to Active and Healthy Ageing.


Some key facts

The community of Reference Sites represents an investment commitment of over € 4 billion (between 2016-2018) towards the deployment and scaling-up of digital innovation for active and healthy ageing. It has improved the lives of over 5 million people.


Reference Sites have developed and shared more than 200 innovative and good practices in the field of digital transformation of health and care. These are publicly available in the EIP on AHA Repository of Innovative Practices


Several EU-funded projects and initiatives are adopting the practice of twinning schemes to successfully scale up innovative solutions in the field of health and care. So far, these twinnings have mobilised funding of more than € 1 million that has been dedicated to fostering knowledge exchange and the transfer of good practices between Reference Sites


Why become a Reference Site?

The benefits of becoming a Reference Site are considerable.


The recognition of a region’s leadership acts as a catalyst for growth in the region. It brings stakeholders on board who work collaboratively in developing innovative solutions, thereby ensuring a whole system approach.


Networking and partnering is a fundamental part of being a Reference Site. Reference Sites are pioneering some of the most advanced innovative digital solutions that improve the lives of ageing populations. They have created strong links between themselves. This collaboration enables sites to share good practices and build collaboration across borders in a way that maximises outcomes and reduces the risks associated with investing in innovation.



Achievements in 2020

Digital solutions deployed by RS during the COVID-19 crisis to reduce loneliness of older persons have been collected and analysed. Read more about the study prepared by the WE4AHA partners.


Thirteen thematic workshops have been funded by the WE4AHA project in 2020. 

Reports from the 2020 thematic workshops (in chronological order):

by Long Lasting Memories Care Reference Site on 1/10/2020
by Senior Riga Reference Site on 6/10/2020
by Reference Site Slovenia on 8/10/2020
by Reference Site Skane on 13/10/2020
by Reference Site HealthRegion CologneBonn on 20/10/2020
by Reference Site Saxony on 22/10/2020
by Reference Site Sardinia Ageing Well on 27/10/2020

Continence disorders in older people with visual and hearing impairments: how to contrast the frailty of the disease and to promote its prevention

by Regional Insitute Rittmeyer for the Blind (Reference Site Friuli Venezia Giulia) on 10/11/2020

by Reference Site Extremadura on 12/11/2020


How to upscale digital health solutions for the elderly

by Reference Site Stavanger on 13/11/2020


e-Health and Telemedicine solutions empowering person-centred care: What's been going on?

by Reference Site Cantabria/IDIVAL on 17/11/2020


Reference Sites stimulating the development and implementation of Action Group commitments to achieve sustainable digital health and care transformation at scale regionally, nationally, and internationally

by Reference Site Campania on 19/11/2020


AIoTai- Advanced IoT and AI for secure, efficient and sustainable personalized health data access at regional and EU level

by Reference Site CERTH on 20/11/2020


Five twinning pairs were awarded in 2020. They kicked off their activities in June 2020. Below, you can find their reports.


The successful candidates are the following Reference Sites:


Achievements in 2019

The  five successful Twinnings Support Schemes selected in 2019 finished in December 2019/January 2020. The objective was to facilitate the deployment of large-scale digitally-enabled innovative solutions for health and care delivery for older adults. 



Two Thematic Workshops were awarded and organised in 2019 with the support of the WE4AHA team: 


Implementing a comprehensive approach to integrated caresubmitted by Federico II University Hospital/Campania Reference Site on behalf of the Italian Reference Sites.


5G enabling digital transformation in health and caresubmitted by OuluHealth Reference Site.