On 27 November, the European Commission launched a Horizon Prize in Social Innovation which is meant to improve the mobility of older people.
The prize has a dedicated budget of €2 million and is funded under Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. One prize of €1 million and four runner-up prizes of €250,000 each will be awarded to the most innovative mobility solutions that enable older citizens to continue to fully participate in social activities, maintain their autonomy and age healthily. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, launched the contest at the “Opening up to an era of social innovation” conference in Lisbon.
The Commission looks for replicable and scalable solutions that promote bottom-up creativity by bringing together innovators and organisations from civil society and the private and public sectors. The winning projects are expected to combine technological, social and behavioural features, and they will have to be implemented for at least five months during the period of the contest. In other respects, applicants are meant to have total freedom in the approach they take to deliver their solution.
Submissions will be accepted until 28 February 2019 from any legal entities established in the EU or in countries associated to Horizon 2020. The prize is supposed to be awarded in the second quarter of 2019.
Horizon Prizes are challenge prizes (also known as 'inducement' prizes) which offer a cash reward to whoever can most effectively meet a defined challenge. They act as an incentive for innovation by prescribing the goal, but not how the goal should be achieved. The Commission is introducing a set of challenge prizes under Horizon 2020, the EU's €77 billion research and innovation programme running from 2014 to 2020.
The theme of this prize was identified on the basis of a public consultation. The Commission received 9685 votes, with 32% supporting the topic of ageing population.