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“At EU level, we’re making every effort to mobilise as many stakeholders

as possible, in particular through research partnerships. One of these

partnerships is the Innovative Medicines Initiative, which pioneered an

entirely new scale of public private partnership between the European

Commission and the pharmaceutical industry.

“Over €5bn of investment has gone into the two IMIs … the European

Commission shares costs with industry, engaging pharmaceutical

companies on health issues important to European society. The JPND is

another strategic partnership. Joint programming initiatives are created

to align national research agendas with societal challenges to make the

best use of public money. We’re making headway through a number of

initiatives and through the hard work of countless dedicated individuals.”

Moedas then moved to congratulate delegates on the work

undertaken by the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Active

and Healthy Ageing.

“You were the first of five EIPs to be set up under the previous

Commission’s Innovation Union flagship initiative. As the turnout here

today testifies, you have taken important steps in mobilising many

actors, bringing together the demand and supply side of innovation to

ensure that the solutions being developed can be applied in practice

and meet market demand, turning knowledge into value while delivering

better public services to citizens. For all the EIPs, the word ‘partnership’

is the essence.”

The Commission is taking action on multiple platforms to overcome the

difficulties of a growing, ageing population. Through R&I and

partnerships, what may be presented as new obstacles are in fact

providing new opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs in the EU.

cheaper, more efficient, personalised

approaches to healthcare, and a growing

customer base for tailored goods and services.

“When technology is called for, the primary goal

should be to ensure that dignity and quality of

care is accessible, and affordable, to every

individual. European health start-ups are

already pioneering a whole new range of

solutions for elderly care.

“One example is NurseBuddy. Developed by a

Finnish company in 2013, NurseBuddy was

selected as one of the eight most promising

healthcare start-ups worldwide. In homes

where more than one relative or carer look after

an elderly family member, NurseBuddy software

helps to co-ordinate care and improve

communication between everyone involved.

Such innovations and business ideas are what

we need more of.”

Ageing well

Moedas then outlined the key implications and

responsibilities of an ageing population,

particularly for individuals, society and public

services. He cited the need for continued

research and innovation funding: “By 2025

more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 or over,

with a particularly rapid increase in the number

of over 80s. Greater life expectancy is absolutely

something to celebrate, but if Europeans are

living longer, that also means we are at

increased risk of physical, sensory and mental

diseases. Old age is not an affliction, it is a joyful

part of life, but our eyes must be open to the

vulnerabilities more of our population will face.

“There is a great need for continued research

and innovation to improve health and wellbeing

in old age and to ensure public services are

prepared for this generational shift. Indeed,

healthy ageing is far too big an objective to be

met by any one part of society alone, and it is

certainly significant to each and every part of

society. Healthy ageing requires the

involvement and commitment of countries,

regions, local authorities, health services,

entrepreneurs, civil society, businesses,

families, and the elderly themselves.”

Key collaboration

There was then talk about the role the EU is

playing in bringing together key players for

action to tackle ageing, including the Innovative

Medicines initiatives (IMI) and the Joint

Programming Initiative on Neurodegenerative

Disease (JPND).

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S O C I E TA L C H A L L E N G E S : H E A L T H & W E L L B E I N G

Collaboration is key:

Carlos Moedas drew

attention to the work

of the IMIs, JPND