Reference Sites

What are Reference Sites?

Reference Sites are inspirational ecosystems, delivering creative and workable solutions that improve the lives and health of older people and the whole community.


Reference Sites are regions, cities, integrated hospitals or care organisations and their quadruple helix partners from industry, civil society, academia and government authorities that focus on a comprehensive, innovation-based approach to active and healthy ageing. They offer concrete examples of their positive impact in this field.

In the 2019 Call for Reference Sites, 77 regional and local organisations were awarded Reference Site status.


They are leading regional organisations committed to investing in innovation for active and healthy ageing and supporting the transfer and scaling-up of that innovation across Europe. 

/file/map-eip-aha-reference-sites_enMap of EIP on AHA Reference Sites

A map showing the 77 EIP on AHA Reference Sites and their location in Europe.

Awarded Reference Sites in 2019. 


Some key facts

The community of Reference Sites represents an investment commitment of over € 4 billion (between 2016-2018) towards the deployment and scaling-up of digital innovation for active and healthy ageing. It has improved the lives of over 5 million people.


Reference Sites have developed and shared more than 200 innovative and good practices in the field of digital transformation of health and care. These are publicly available in the EIP on AHA Repository of Innovative Practices


Several EU-funded projects and initiatives are adopting the practice of twinning schemes to successfully scale up innovative solutions in the field of health and care. So far, these twinnings have mobilised funding of more than € 1 million that has been dedicated to fostering knowledge exchange and the transfer of good practices between Reference Sites


Why become a Reference Site?

The benefits of becoming a Reference Site are considerable.


The recognition of a region’s leadership acts as a catalyst for growth in the region. It brings stakeholders on board who work collaboratively in developing innovative solutions, thereby ensuring a whole system approach.


Networking and partnering is a fundamental part of being a Reference Site. Reference Sites are pioneering some of the most advanced innovative digital solutions that improve the lives of ageing populations. They have created strong links between themselves. This collaboration enables sites to share good practices and build collaboration across borders in a way that maximises outcomes and reduces the risks associated with investing in innovation.


Recent activities

The 2019 Call for Twinnings Support Scheme closed on 15th June 2019. The objective was to facilitate the deployment of large-scale digitally-enabled innovative solutions for health and care delivery for older adults.


Successful Twinnings began their work in September 2019. 


The results of the 3rd Call for Reference Sites were announced on 25th September 2019.


Two Thematic Workshops have been awarded in 2019 and are being organised with the support of the WE4AHA team:


Implementing a comprehensive approach to integrated caresubmitted by Federico II University Hospital/Campania Reference Site on behalf of the Italian Reference Sites.


5G enabling digital transformation in health and caresubmitted by OuluHealth Reference Site.


What is next?

An extension of the 2019 Call for Reference Sites has been published. The deadline for submission is 16th December 2019.


A Call for Twinnings and Thematic Workshops will be launched in early 2020 for the newly awarded Reference Sites.