Meet our synergies: SIRENE

DHU PROMOTION designs 1 2

Collaborating with synergy projects and initiatives is a vital component of the DigitalHealthUptake (DHU) project to leverage strengths and expertise towards common goals in the health and care transformation sector.

For this edition of our interviews series with DHU synergies, we focus on the innovative efforts of the SIRENE project (Social Innovation Responsive Environments NETwork) and how they are facilitating the growth of innovation ecosystems for Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments (SHAFE) implementation across Europe.

1) What’s SIRENE’s Mission?

SIRENE is a project funded by the Horizon Europe programme that started in November 2022. The project supports the growth of social innovation ecosystems delivering eco-friendly and sustainable community-based services for Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments (SHAFE) implementation in Europe.

  • SIRENE aims to create an impact by empowering social and private entrepreneurs to improve the well-being and housing conditions of the European population.
  • The project is developing a framework for investment and the broad adoption of high-quality smart living solutions, combining the housing sector and ICT infrastructure.
  • The Social Innovation framework of SIRENE is co-created with the Expert Hub – a group of more than 50 experts from the EU-27 and beyond, representing various fields such as health and social care, housing, ICT, policy and funding, and urban transformation. The project also delivers an online repository that compiles relevant resources and a community platform for knowledge exchange.

2) SIRENE’s Impact: how is it contributing to the digital transformation of health and care?  

SIRENE contributes to the digital transformation of health and care by leveraging technology to create smarter, healthier, and more inclusive environments across Europe. SIRENE seeks to empower ecosystems that nourish new strategies for investments in housing for independent living and ageing well in place, promoting green behaviours and sustainable practices.

SIRENE’s framework aims to offer a quality benchmark that is relevant to those investing in social innovation for the physical design of products, homes and the IT infrastructure within it. It will respond, therefore, to the changing needs of an ageing population and the associated imperatives that call for people to play a greater part in maintaining their wellbeing and managing their health. A responsive, inclusive, eco-friendly home should, in other words, not just be concerned with access, mobility and usability; it must also be concerned with the person’s ability, where appropriate, to stay engaged in work and social activity, network on-line and to access information and services. This is a key aspect of the digital transformation of health and care – empower people and provide them the tools to self-management and pursuit of a more active and healthy living.

3) Ecosystem enablers: what are SIRENE’s efforts to facilitate the uptake of digital solutions?

SIRENE’s ambition is to facilitate an EU-wide network of networks connecting different actors and perspectives under a common theme, to promote the implementation of SHAFE innovations.

To pursuit this aim, SIRENE created and is promoting a co-creation network of experts and local ecosystems that enables the identification of needs and that will test and validate the project’s outputs, thus increasing the potential of broad adoption and its sustainability. We are fully convinced that the uptake of digital solutions and the overall increase in health and wellbeing depends on systemic collaboration. This is why SIRENE connects stakeholders by having them working together towards a Social Innovation framework and supporting tools, claiming that this joint collaborative and co-creative work is the keystone for true societal development.

For the SIRENE project it was important to find out which ecosystem model best fits its goals. For this purpose a new helix model was created: the Transnational Local-sphere Model. This model puts more focus on stakeholders, organisations, and underrepresented entities; it is user-centred by using a bottom-up approach; it includes (trans)national collaboration and competition, integrates both global and local ecosystems, and involves civic society, through the media and the public. By using the Transnational Local-sphere model, SIRENE is connecting existing local ecosystems and creating a network of stakeholders in all sectors to ensure an accessible and sustainable implementation of SHAFE solutions across Europe.

4) Promoting collaboration: what are SIRENE’s main synergies and outcomes?

During its first year, SIRENE established synergies with different initiatives, such as the COST Action NET4Age-Friendly, the SHAFE Foundation, projects UrbanAge, AFC Toolkit and INTEGER, as well as DHU, of course.

These collaborations already provided some material results, namely joint events and publications, such as the Training Schools developed with NET4Age-Friendly in Tirana and Skopje, a joint webinar with UrbanAge and a joint publication with INTEGER. From these collaborations several positive outcomes always result, namely the exchange of knowledge and new perspectives for both sides, the enlargement of our target audience and the creation of new ideas and potential partnerships. This is just the start, as we have more events to follow: thematic workshops spanning from innovation ecosystem creation to digitization, and impact assessment social innovation frameworks that we will make available to the SI community. Information and registration will be available on our website and social media. 

Being SIRENE a Coordination and Support Action, enlarging the network and collaborating with other initiatives is always an added value, as this is central to increasing awareness and captivating more active voices to promote a more inclusive and healthier living in Europe. And there are several ways to join us. It can be done through Science Cafes and workshops organized with our partners or by joining the SIRENE Expert Hub, a community space for networking and knowledge exchange open to experts in social innovation ecosystems delivering eco-friendly and sustainable community-based services for Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments.

For more information on SIRENE