Small and medium-sized enterprises can now apply online to receive up to €60,000 in financial aid to develop “innovative ideas, products, and technology" within the field of personal nutrition for “the silver economy”, INCluSilver announced today (22 September).
INCluSilver is a three-year project supported by the EU Horizon 2020 program. A total of €2.8m in has been allocated for the project.
Three types of vouchers are available. Firstly, the “ideas innovation voucher” aims to help the maturation of relevant ideas and project needs. Secondly, the “proposal innovation voucher” is intended to support scalability and internationalisation, the demonstration of technology readiness, transferability potential, and assistance with strategic decisions. Finally, the intellectual property rights innovation voucher is targeted at companies who need to protect “foreground and results” in collaborative projects with the appropriate tools, such as patents or consortium agreements.
The vouchers can be used to purchase services from public knowledge providers with a view to introducing product, process or service innovations. INCluSilver said it hopes this will provide SMEs with access to know-how and technologies while providing “incentives” for universities, research centres and private companies to collaborate with SMEs.
SMEs from the following INCluSilver member countries are eligible to apply: Denmark, France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, the Republic of Ireland, Spain, Sweden, and the UK.
To kick-start innovation within the field of personalised nutrition and services for the elderly, INCluSilver said it hopes to foster co-operation from across different sectors and industries, with an open application policy for the project’s innovation vouchers.
“By combining the strengths of different sectors, we hope to achieve implementable results that can positively impact the silver economy’s everyday life,” said Magnus Lagnevik, project coordinator.
INCluSilver also runs innovation training and networking events to “build new relationships between SMEs and public research institutions” and form “cross-border and cross-sectoral relationships between SMEs”.
'Silver economy' offers golden opportunity
Europe’s population is ageing and the proportion of people of working age is shrinking. According to figures from Eurostat, this trend is expected to continue at least through to 2050.
“During the period from 2016 to 2080 the share of the population of working age is expected to decline steadily through until 2050 before stabilising somewhat, while older persons will likely account for an increasing share of the total population: those aged 65 years or over will account for 29.1 % of the EU-28’s population by 2080, compared with 19.2 % in 2016,” Eurostat noted in its most recent report on population structure and ageing.
This clearly presents a challenge for European policymakers – but Europe’s rapidly ageing demographic also presents a growing market, as well as a “major opportunity for economic growth”, the EU-backed project asserted.
“The EU provides us with the perfect network of knowledge and resources,” explained Lagnevik. “And who better to improve the quality of life for our elderly and boost our shared economy than ourselves?”