Marche region is located in the center of Italy, on the Adriatic Sea. It has about 1,500,000 inhabitants and 25% of population over 65 years. Life expectancy at birth is of 81 years for men and 85.2 for women (ISTAT, 2020), higher than the Italian average (79.7 M; 84.4 F). The majority of the population lives in the coastal area. There are disadvantaged rural and mountain internal areas characterized by low density, depopulation and a predominantly elderly population, which were strongly affected by the 2016 earthquake.
The Regional authority Marche Region is a 4-stars Reference Site on Active and Healthy Ageing (firstly awarded in 2019) highly committed to develop and implement policies and interventions in the field through a life-course approach. Marche has a Regional Law on active aging (n.1/2019), aiming to implement a coordinated program of interventions and actions in all relevant sectors (e.g. social, tourism, employment, educational), through a multi-stakeholder (public sector, research, academics, and civil society) permanent board. The Regional Prevention Plan 2020-2025 includes 14 programmes promoting principles such as ‘One Health’, ‘Health in all policies’, health equity, and empowerment, through a multisectoral, integrated, and life-course approach. Marche vibrant and inspiring ecosystem actively has worked for the last two decades to promote innovation in the field of health and social care delivery. Marche Region has its own Digital transformation strategy since 2011 (Act 1154/2011), aiming to implement digital solutions to collect, analyze, share and use data in a standardized way, and to create regional networks of healthcare providers. The Region is currently committed to realize a new organization of the healthcare system and the realization of the Recovery and Resilience Plan. Since 2014, Marche is including in its Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) AHA priorities promoting innovation and uptake of digital solutions. In 2014-20, health and wellness (e.g. medical devices, active ageing, nutraceutical products) represented the 22.5% of contributions. S3 for 2021-27 foresee priority areas such as “Health and wellbeing” and “Home automation”, and innovation drivers such as “art and culture for social inclusion”, “social innovation”, “functional foods and nutraceuticals”, “assistive robotics and design for new housing concepts”, “smart products, sensors and artificial vision”, “functional products for work, sport and care”. Regional Law n. 4/2022 aims to trigger local economy and to raise awareness and disseminate information and knowledge on the opportunities of advanced digitalisation, also through platforms facilitating the matching of demand and supply of digital innovation services.
Marche quadruple helix ecosystem members adopt strategies and policies on active and healthy ageing to promote innovation in order to improve the quality of life of the ageing population, sustainability of health and social care, economic growth and competitiveness (list is open and dynamic and it is in continuous up-to-date):
Public body: Marche Region, Agenzia Regionale Sanitaria, ASUR Marche, Azienda Ospedaliero Universitaria Ospedali Riuniti Ancona, Ospedali Riuniti Marche Nord, Italian National Research Center on Ageing (IRCCS-INRCA), Ambiti Territoriali Sociali (ATS), Comune di Ancona, Comune di Recanati;
Research/academia: Italian National Research Center on Ageing (IRCCS-INRCA), Università Politecnica delle Marche (UNIVPM), Università di Camerino (UNICAM), Università di Macerata (UNIMC), Università di Urbino (UNIURB);
Private entities: RIS 3 Board on Health and Wellbeing for the monitoring of the implementation of the Smart Specialization Strategy, Regional Manufacturing and Services Enterprises Association, Regional Craftsman and artisan Association, Regional Labour Association, Cluster Marche Foundation-including the i-Living cluster, Misco valley srl, Aditech srl, Meccano srl, Tech4Care srl
Civili society: Centro Servizi per il Volontariato Marche, Auser Regionale Marche APS, COOSS Marche Onlus Soc. Coop. P.a., Labirinto cooperativa sociale onlus, UIL pensionati Marche, ANTEAS servizi Marche APS; Federazione Nazionale Pensionati CISL Marche, Legacoop Marche A.G.C.I. Marche (Associazione Generale Cooperativa Italiane, Odòs Società Cooperativa Sociale, Anteas servizi Marche APS.
Moreover, Marche Region have a wide network of collaborations with local, national and international institutions/organizations and is also part of ProMis, the Italian Network of Regions for the internationalization of the health sector.
As regards mission and vision, Marche is designing and implementing actions in consequence of Covid 19 pandemic. Overall goal defined in the Regional Performance plan 21-23 is to restore quality, territorial distribution and competitiveness of the Regional healthcare system while guaranteeing equal services and health rights in the whole region. Key strategic objectives linked to AHA are included in the Regional Strategy of Sustainable Development (Act 25/2021): resilience; climate change and the related social and economic asymmetries; biodiversity; equity; new sustainable productive solutions. In addition, the Smart Specialization Strategy (S3) 21-27 has identified the following innovation trajectories for health: innovative diagnostics for precision medicine; medical devices for e-Health; innovative approaches for community care for frail people; innovative and predictive new drugs and therapeutic approaches; technologies for disability and rehabilitation.
The main strategic objectives are: the management of chronic diseases, the definition of effective care pathways, the digital transformation of health; the creation of added value for the Marche ecosystem through collaboration opportunities; the dialogue with other European and Italian ecosystems for the exchange of knowledge/good practices; the improvement of the exchange of information and knowledge on local stakeholders’ skills and opportunities; the activation of further opportunities for dialogue and collaboration between all parties of the quadruple helix (public institutions, research, enterprises and civil society).
These activities will be pursued through:
- strengthening collaboration and exchange of skills, knowledge and good practices among the territory’s actors and stakeholders dealing with health, with a ‘One Health’ approach;
- promoting capacity building of the regional territory’s actors, also though the active participation in the Pro.M.I.S. network and EU projects;
- developing innovative national and European initiatives/projects/programmes in line with the regional priorities and the specificities/needs of the territory;
- developing synergies and collaborations with national and European institutions and organisations on public health issues.
Marche ecosystem members have great experience in EU collaborations, are used to collaborating among each other and are participating in a large number of EU/international projects/partnerships and transfer of good practices, also in the field of AHA For example, INRCA in the last 5 years has participated in over 53 EU projects with over 600 partners https://www.inrca.it/zz?39CU and is currently leading the AGING Network of Research and Care Institutes (IRCCS), funded in 2017 and including 13 IRCCS (www.reteaging.it). Main topics addressed are: health literacy; active ageing; ambient assisted living; innovative digital solutions; cyber security in the health sector. Marche RS members have also experience in public–private innovation, and in Regional projects funded by the ERDF to promote innovative solutions through involvement of industrial partners, research centres, and clinics/residential facilities as experimental sites.
Below a (not exhaustive) list of ongoing projects/initiatives in progress carried out by Marche RS members and in collaboration with other organisations of the “4 helix model”, as listed below.
Joint Action JADECARE on implementation of digitally enabled integrated person-centred care (2020-2023, www.jadecare.eu, Marche Region-ARS is an implementing site).
EMILIO (Increase sElf Management and counteract social IsoLatIOn using a vocal assistant enabled virtual concierge; 2022-2025; Coordinated by IRCCS-INRCA; www.emilio-aal.eu); RecoveryFun (An integrated VR-based tele-rehabilitation platform to support RECOVERY and maintenance of FUNctional abilities among seniors; 2022-2024; Coordinated by IRCCS-INRCA; www.recoveryfun.eu); GUARDIAN (The social robot to support independent living; https://guardian-aal.eu/; 2020-22; IRCCS-INRCA and UNIVPM partners); DemiCare (Personalised support for informal caregivers of people with dementia; 2022-2025; IRCCS-INRCA partner); engAGE (Managing cognitivE decliNe throuGh theatre therapy, Artificial intelligence and social robots drivEn interventions (engAGE); 2021-2024; IRCCS-INRCA partner; https://engage-aal-project.eu/); NEST (Neurorehabilitation Ecosystem for Sustained Therapy; 2021-2024; IRCCS-INRCA partner; https://specs-lab.com/portfolio-items/nest-aal/); PRECISE (Preact to lower the risk of failing by customized rehabilitation; 2022-2024; IRCCS-INRCA partner, www.precaise.eu); SAVE (SAfety of elderly people and Vicinity Ensuring; 2019-2022; IRCCS-INRCA partner; www.atitech.unitbv.ro/save).
SOUND (Training Social and health care prOfessionals in mUsic-based therapeutic iNterventions to support older people with Dementia; 2022-2024; Coordinated by IRCCS-INRCA, Italy; https://soundeuproject.eu/):
e-VITA (EU-Japan Virtual coach for smart ageing; 2021-2024; IRCCS-INRCA partner; https://www.e-vita.coach/): it aims to develop an innovative ICT-based virtual coaching system to detect subtle changes in physical, cognitive, psychological and social domains of older adult’s daily life and provide personalized recommendations and interventions, for sustainable wellbeing in a smart living environment at home.
JPI MORE YEARS BETTER LIVES: ACCESS (Supporting digital literacy and appropriation of ICT by older people; 2018-2022; IRCCS-INRCA partner; https://access.wineme.fb5.uni-siegen.de/)
NATIONAL PROJECTS: INRCA supports the Presidency of the Council of Ministers – Department for Family Policies to create a national multi-level participatory coordination of active ageing policies.
Areas of Good Practice
Rete diabetologica Marche – The Marche’s clinical network for diabetes: it is a program aimed to standardise diabetes prevention, diagnosis, and treatment, thereby ensuring equity in both access to treatment and the level of care through a network of 16 connected diabetic centres using the same shared electronic patient record, with data flowing into a single regional database. Good practice recognized by the European Commission in 2021 in the field of primary care (link) and as “best” in the 2022 Call Best practices for the EU NCDs initiative.
Guadagnare Salute con le Life Skills (Gaining Health through Life Skills Education): A training programme to enhance the empowerment and life skills and increase protective factors, risk perception and self-efficacy for the adoption of healthy behaviours and lifestyles of pupils (3-14 years old) through actions led by teachers (and parents). The programme is part of the Regional Prevention Plan.Good practice recognized by the European Commission in 2021 in the field of Risk factors of non-communicable diseases (link)
Digital Innovation HUB
Most recently, EDIH4Marche (European hub for the digital transition of enterprises in the Marche region) has been selected by European Commission as a European Digital Innovation Hub with a 100% funding. Its strength lies in its interdisciplinary and representative composition of the entire Marche Region. EDIH4Marche will act as a unitary reference point for the whole Marche Region, with an almost total and multisectoral target of companies.
Marche has 4 Technological Collaborative Platforms (https://i-labs.it/en), supported by EU ERDF funds: Composite materials (green and sustainability); Marche Bio Bank (personalized medicine); Smart and digital solutions (robotics and cyber security); Smart environments – MIRACLE (living environments, internet of things). MIRACLE aims to create a Laboratory of Excellence able to advance, experiment and stimulate research and development of technologies, systems and approaches for the realisation of innovative and interoperable solutions in the various product sectors related to the domain of home automation and living environments.