30th October 2019
Three out of 77 regional and local organisations which have been awarded in the 2019 Call for Reference Sites, come from EIT Health InnoStars regions.
The Medical University of Łódź, Porto4ageing by University of Porto and Ageing@Coimbra by Regional Authority of the Centre Region (CCRDC) – all of them received the highest score – 4 out of 5 stars in the final result.
References Sites are inspirational ecosystems which are delivering creative and useful solutions to elder people in aim to improve their health and lifestyle. They are regions, cities, integrated hospitals or care organisations which are focused on a comprehensive and innovation-based approach to active and health ageing. They are coordinated and given by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Active and Healthy Ageing.
In 2019 edition, three institutions related to the EIT Health community were awarded with the Reference Sites – the Medical University of Łódź, Porto4ageing by University of Porto, Ageing@Coimbra by Regional Authority of the Centre Region (CCRDC). The institutions demonstrated the existence of comprehensive strategies to advance innovation and to understand and address the challenges of delivering healthcare services to the ageing population.
The Medical University of Łódź is the largest public medical university in Poland and Core Partner of EIT Health InnoStars. The institution is engaged in creating and coordinating the European Reference Centre on Active and Health Ageing. The university is focused on creating broader collaboration between Polish as well as foreign researchers and entrepreneurs, in aim to improve quality of life for elder generation. Recently the university was engaged in the programme Silver Starters for all seniors interested in developing their business skills.
‘Łódź Reference Centre Site was the first of such partnerships for healthy and active aging not only in Poland but also in Eastern Europe’ – says Mikołaj Gurdała, EIT Health InnoStars Innovation and Regional Manager. He adds that ‘three years ago, only 32 European institutions had this status. Thanks to the commitment of the Medical University of Łódź, the Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, local authorities and EIT Health, with its local office in Łódź, there was a possibility to carry out several projects, including educational activities for active aging. Additional star for the university shows that working together for a healthy and active life in this region is at an ever higher level. Programmes such as Silver Starters implemented by the Medical University of Łódź, which encourage people 50+ to create innovation, are the best example’.
Porto4ageing is the Centre of Excellence in Active and Healthy Ageing, coordinated and promoted by the University of Porto, which is one of the EIT Health Hubs. The initiative was launched in 2016 in aim to be an aggregating centre and a space for discussion of issues related to active and healthy ageing in the metropolitan region of Porto, bringing together more than eighty partner institutions from four different profiles: universities and research centres, policy makers, users and industry.
Ageing@Coimbra is a consortium which aims to enhance the role of the elderly in society and the application of best practices that benefit their general well-being, active and healthy aging. Its main goal is to improve the lives of senior citizens in the Central Region of Portugal through better social services and healthcare, as well as the creation of new innovative products, services and the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic tools.
All three institutions received the score four out of five stars in the final result which is a great success. Only 25 out 77 organisations which applied for this call received this kind of high evaluation. To become a Reference Site with such a good outcome is considerable and beneficial for all sides engaged in this initiative. This recognition might cause a growth in the given region and might bring and encourage new stakeholders to collaborate with the given organisation or location.
Networking 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 and 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.