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Evaluation of EU funding programme for the development of digital solutions for older people


Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission)



Our task

For several decades, the EU Commission has promoted research and innovation in Europe, including through the “Horizon 2020” (2014–2020) funding programme and its successor “Horizon Europe” (2021–2027). But how well do the programmes achieve their objectives and how can programme performance potentially be improved? Prognos conducted the evaluation of the Active and Assisted Living Programme (AAL2) commissioned by the Directorate-General for Research and Innovation (European Commission). The final evaluation of AAL2 is now available.

The Active and Assisted Living Programme (AAL2) – an initiative of the European Commission and several EU and non-EU countries – aims to support the development of digital solutions in the field of care and healthy ageing. Prognos' evaluation of the programme confirmed the relevance of AAL2 for the sustainability and future viability of European health and care systems. At the same time, it also showed that such a programme must be embedded in a broader system change that addresses the challenges of both supply of and demand for digital solutions.

European funding programme with a unique selling point

With its focus on digital solutions for active and healthy ageing, AAL2 (2014-2021) continues to be a unique European research and innovation funding programme. The programme promotes technological innovation and entrepreneurship building on an understanding that demographic change is an opportunity for innovation rather than a problem. More than 700 funded beneficiaries from 21 countries, who previously had little or no interaction with each other, were brought together to jointly develop solutions that will improve the well-being and the quality of life for older people. The strong market orientation of AAL2 and its comprehensive approach are particularly noteworthy as end-users are integrated into project development and implementation.

The programme succeeded in reaching its two main target groups: 40.3 percent of the beneficiaries were SMEs and 26.3 percent end-user organisations. 25 percent were universities and research institutes. Flexible implementation methods and the strong leadership role of the central programmemanagement were identified as additional strengths.

While AAL2 has made considerable progress toward its objectives, the complexity of the market for digital solutions also creates barriers on the demand side. Factors, such as the cultural expectations towards age and care, as well as the acceptance of technology and the digital competence of users, also influence the demand for digital solutions. A more comprehensive approach to overcoming market barriers is needed, if the full potential of digital solutions for active and healthy ageing is to be achieved.

Based on the results of the evaluation, recommendations were made at policy, strategy and operational levels.

Our approach

The evaluation used a mixed methods approach, including :

  • Desk research of existing reports and background information on the programme
  • Analysis of performance and monitoring data
  • Interviews with programme representatives, country partners, and funded parties
  • Two case studies
  • Consideration of the results of the interim evaluation of 2017

Links and downloads

About the study (PDF EU website)

Project team: Daniel Gehrt, Dr Stefanie Ettelt, Anja Breuer, Vera Fuhs, Anna Hornik, Salvatore Lauricella

Last update: 04.01.2023

Do you have questions?

Your contact at Prognos

Daniel Gehrt

Senior Project Manager

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Dr Stefanie Ettelt

Senior Project Manager

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