Co-creating policy recommendations & building the European Active and Healthy Ageing Coalition (EURAHL) – recap

Drafting policy recommendations for active and healthy ageing

IN-4-AHA’s focus is on the development of a scale-up model for innovation in the field of active and healthy ageing, but aside from that the consortium also works on drafting policy recommendations to help facilitate the right environment and market conditions for active and healthy ageing solutions to be scaled up and implemented effectively throughout Europe. EUREGHA, the reference network for European regional and local health authorities and leader of work package 7 is responsible for the development of these policy recommendations, supported by inputs and feedback from the other work packages.

After exploratory, semi-structured interviews with work packages 2 through 6, a first and second draft were developed based on the information collected. To allow for a more dynamic and fruitful exchange of thoughts, EUREGHA hosted an internal workshop for consortium partners at their office in Brussels on 20 June. Director Michele Calabro’ guided the partners through 7 draft recommendations, covering issues such as early-stage funding mechanisms, health data challenges, digital skills, community building, and more.

The third draft of the policy recommendations will be sent to partners for feedback by the end of July, and a fourth draft by mid-September. The goal is to finalize IN-4-AHA’s policy recommendations for the active and healthy ageing field by mid-October.

It was a pleasure to be able to organize this meeting in a hybrid format to ensure maximum participation from the partners, even from those unable to travel to Brussels, and to brainstorm together about how to overcome challenges to upscaling innovative solutions for active and healthy ageing.


Building the European Active and Healthy Living Coalition

Speaking of the relevance of building a European AHA community, which will also be reflected in the policy recommendations, there is an interesting initiative in the works to connect quadruple helix stakeholders active in the AHA field from all over Europe through formation of a European Coalition for Active and Healthy Living (acronym: EURAHL). Leading partners are University of Porto and EUREGHA, who have invited all IN-4-AHA partners and external stakeholders such as the Reference Site Collaborative Network, ECHAlliance, EHTEL, Estonian Connected Health Cluster, More Years – Better Lives, and a few others to work on this initiative together.

Many of the meetings have been online but coalition partners had a finally enjoyed the first opportunity to work together in person during a meeting on the 21st of June, where the Terms of Reference were finalized and accepted by all. Next steps are to conduct a gap analysis, draft a communication plan, and show our presence online and at events, so you will likely see more of the EURAHL coalition soon!

Project IN-4-AHA insights into state-of-play with investments into Active-and-Healthy ageing

As the worldwide number of elderly people is rising and causing a fundamental shift in demographics, it is key to think and act long term – and tackle the invisible drivers of long and high-quality living. It means rethinking prevention, treatment and rehabilitation as core early levers so that the burden on healthcare that deals with chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases, declining cognitive acuity and mental health can be mitigated. 

This is where the active and healthy ageing (AHA) market comes in, focusing on extending access to healthcare and scaling up innovative products and services. It contributes to the long-term sustainability of health, care and social service systems by fostering innovative and cost-effective technologies, services and policies to address the needs of an ageing population.

Project Innovation Networks for Scaling Active and Healthy Ageing (IN-4-AHA), funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme Coordination and Support Action (CSA), Grant Agreement No. 101017603, seeks to develop a practical, validated innovation scale-up model to facilitate the scale-up of innovative solutions across EU in active and healthy ageing.

One of the important steps in creating such a scale-up model is to investigate the current investment landscape of the active and healthy ageing (AHA) market, including investment readiness assessment of the AHA market, identifying current gaps and proposing potential solutions to mitigate them, at the same time structuring a how-to checklist for start-ups preparing to raise investment in this sector.

With these aspects and areas of focus in mind, research under the scope of the IN-4-AHA project was carried out, mapping the current investment landscape based on insights from companies, investors and ecosystem facilitators. Secondary research focusing on the investment landscape and past transactions was also used to provide context and quantification of the trends and insights into the experiences of individual entrepreneurs and ecosystem players.

Based on the analysis, a map of available private, public and blended investment sources (options) for entrepreneurs to finance the development and scale-up phases of their AHA businesses were identified, having in mind also product and technology readiness and company development stage. An evaluation of relative availability was also performed. 

It is evident that the availability of sources is not uniform, and special emphasis was placed on understanding the main reasons behind the situation so that the scale-up model can be built to prioritize interventions to create an impact. 

Five key gaps were identified and potential solutions to mitigate those were proposed:

Gap no. 1: The AHA market is deemed as being highly fragmented in the EU, causing less innovation and start-up activity in this market as well as challenges when trying to scale.

  • Solution 1: Initiatives on both national and EU levels.
  • Solution 2: Measures for the Innovators to be better prepared to navigate the complexities.

Gap no. 2: Innovators lack understanding of AHA market stakeholders.

  • Solution 1: Government-backed sandboxes.
  • Solution 2: Comprehensive ways to engage with the stakeholders.

Gap no. 3: There is a stigma associated with getting old/the older generation, causing overall reluctance to develop and use solutions and in turn – limited attractiveness to investors.

  • Solution 1: Initiatives to change the attitudes via education and intergenerational contact.
  • Solution 2: A move towards needs-based solutions, rather than aged-based, shifting from healthy ageing to healthy living as a key message of the emerging industry.

Gap no. 4: Lack of business support for AHA start-ups in the early stages.

  • Solution: Specialised accelerators and sandboxes for AHA businesses.

Gap no. 5: Lack of investor activity.

  • Solution 1: Implementing initiatives that encourage investor activity in the AHA market.
  • Solution 2: Utilising the ESG movement to foster investment into the AHA market.


Read the full report here.