The Welfare Technology Development Fund becomes the Public Private Innovation (PPI) Fund for Assisted Living Technology: Aarhus municipality changes its policy instrument’s name to reflect its increased focus on innovation in public private partnerships

The Welfare Technology Development Fund was selected as Aarhus municipality’s policy instrument in the EU_SHAFE project due to its broad scope covering all the municipality’s magistrates’ departments and its cooperation with the private sector. Several of the EU_SHAFE project partners chose Regional Operational Programmes as their policy instrument. As a public authority and municipality, not a region, Aarhus did not have this option.

With 4 million Danish Kroner available annually, the aim of the Welfare Technology Development Fund has been to increase the use of technological solutions across the municipal organizations for the benefit of both citizens and companies, supporting many successful projects by testing, developing and implementing innovative digital solutions.

The Many Possibilities of Assisted Living Technology

The target group for assisted living technology is constantly expanding. It is primarily in use in the field of elderly and disability care, but it is also relevant for a younger target group. For example, technology can be used as a tool for learning and increasing the well-being of children, young people or vulnerable groups. Assisted living technology can help citizens of all ages while improving, streamlining or eliminating the need for a welfare benefit. This technology can provide innovative smart solutions for urban development and the use of urban spaces in the municipality.

From Municipal Operations to Business Development

The desire to extend the fields of use for assisted living technology through innovative public private partnerships has successfully driven the Fund since 2013. In 2020 the City Council decided to emphasize the public private partnerships even further, and in January 2021 the Fund’s name and objective have been adjusted accordingly.

Innovative public-private partnerships make it possible to document if a new solution is technically possible and / or economically advantageous. Aarhus Municipality believes that cooperation with the private sector, when testing and developing new technologies and digital services, will lead to new solutions.

The Fund primarily supports PPI projects, but can also provide support for internal activities in the Aarhus Municipality for the development of ideas prior to the collaborations with companies.

Fund Objectives and Goals for Effectiveness

The Fund’s objective is to support the establishment and implementation of assisted living technology projects within the welfare technology area, and thereby pave the way for increased utilization of technologies in Aarhus, with the added aim of supporting business development through PPI.

New solutions based on assisted living technology will continue to be a very important means of:

• providing good services to the municipality’ citizens

• ensuring a good working environment for the municipality ‘employees

• streamlining the municipality’ operations

• supporting growth and innovation in private companies.

To be granted support from the Fund, the four above listed goals have to be met.

EU_SHAFE Action Plan

The development of Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments has a triple perspective:

• Economic perspective: Promoting business opportunities through new products and services for independent living, where technology should have a significant impact on meeting accessibility requirements and functional impairment

• Social perspective: Increasing the quality of life of the ageing population needs the adaptation of systems, products and creating the right conditions to foster Ageing in Place and Silver Economy opportunities

• Public perspective: Ensuring the welfare system’s sustainability requires the efficient delivery of public services in the social and health sector, where technology can play an important role.This is absolutely relevant for promoting age-friendly environments that encourage well-being and ageing in place solutions.

The objectives of the PPI Fund for Assisted Living Technology are in line with the EU_SHAFE project perspectives. Possibly, the Fund will make good use of the project opportunities by being inspired by the other project partners’ good practices and action plans, especially in the area of the economic perspective.

Aarhus municipality’s EU_SHAFE action plan will focus on the Fund’s structural change, from an operational perspective to a business development perspective. It will analyse the possibilities, strengths, weaknesses and threats that are within the change and that will affect both the private sector and the Aarhus Municipality.

PPI Fund for Assisted Living Technology website in Danish.