Sustaining the cohesive role played by technology nowadays, the World Health Organization (WHO) under its Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology or GATE initiative, launched, Digital and Assistive Technologies for Ageing , to encourage the global development, synthesis, and use of affordable, quality, digital and assistive technologies to cope with the challenges brought by ageing.

With the aim to explore the wealth of research carried out internationally on digital and assistive technologies for ageing, on 21st May 2021 WHO DATA organized a first webinar bringing together ten large-scale pilot projects funded by the European Commission to show how a range of digital and assistive technologies can be used together to enhance smart and healthy ageing in communities across diverse European contexts.

The welcome speech by Dr. Clive Ondari, Director of the Health Products Policy and Standards Department at WHO, shed light on the role of DATA with a particular focus on person-centred integrated assistive care for older people.

The projects financed by the European Commission via its Horizon2020 Programme for research and innovation highlighted some of the efforts of the Health & Care Cluster, a pool of large-scale pilot projects working on digitalized solutions for healthy ageing.

The presentations showcased selected approaches including co-designing digital solutions for and with older persons, and shared lessons learnt in organizing and implementing large-scale pilots, building on the constraints and opportunities of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The webinar also stressed the importance of looking at the broad ecosystem: various contributions underlined the interdependencies between technological progress, economic development, and human values to ensure responsible research and innovation.

In his closing remarks, Luc Nicolas, Open DEI Ambassador of the Health and Care Cluster, stressed the importance to break the silos and focus on the final beneficiaries to fully embrace the potential of digital and assistive technologies, said in his closing remarks.

This first online event launched a series of webinars addressed to WHO staff and affiliates, in particular from the departments of Ageing and Life Course, Digital Health and Innovation, Health Systems and Service Provision, and Health Products, and Policy and Standards. The work from the WHO DATA initiative builds on the WHO Global Cooperation on Assistive Technology (GATE), an international virtual community sharing relevant publications, information, and initiatives on assistive technologies. It is expected to share lessons learnt and validated resources across different contexts across the globe.

SHAPES, via its Principal Investigator, Prof. Mac MacLachlan, is the initiator of this webinar, co-organised with Pharaon , currently chairing the working group on dissemination of the Health & Care Cluster in 2021.