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Horizon Prize for Social Innovation in Europe


Innovations are new or significantly improved goods, services, processes and methods which are social when they aim at gains for society rather than for the individual, i.e. when they are good for society and enhance society’s capacity to act. Very often social challenges cannot be met with traditional recipes and approaches.

The European Commission plans to launch a € 2 Million Horizon prize on social innovation in the area of Aging Population to stimulate novel replicable solutions for the benefit of European citizens. By 2025 more than 20% of Europeans will be 65 or over, with a particularly rapid increase in the number of people aged over 80 years.


For selecting the specific challenge to be addressed, the European Commission invited citizens to ""vote"" through an easy to use on-line system. The general public were invited to cast their vote online via the domain from all across Europe on among following five topics:

  1. Obesity in children

  2. Aging population

  3. Immigrants in the labour market

  4. Women entrepreneurship and women-led enterprises

  5. Citizens for clean energy

The topic with the most votes was Aging Population. An inducement prize, incentivizing communities to bring about innovations to solve problems in the area, will be launched in 2017. The specific rules of the contest will be published in 2017 by the European Commission on the Participant Portal but also actively publicised elsewhere to maximise participation. The European Commission will directly launch and manage the contest and award the prize based on the judgement of independent experts.

The specific rules of contest will more fully describe the prize which may award more than one winner and contain more than one award category.

With the prize on Aging Population the European Union would like to bring about novel ways to respond to issues and opportunities of aging, and ensure a good quality of life and well-being of the elderly, and make active ageing a reality by keeping older people healthy, independent and fulfilled, including life satisfaction and social activities.

The social innovation Horizon prize will pull together society's resources from different spheres including the public, private and social economy to deliver new solutions to the challenge of Aging Population. The aim is to spur interest and citizen's engagement, incite new collaborations, incentivize behavioural change towards a particular issue, attract new dynamic innovators to the area, mobilise additional private investment for innovation, generate social solutions and encourage a European social innovation ""doers"" community, while creating jobs and opening markets in new areas and create new social value, relationships and collaborations.