SILVER is a development project funded by the European Commission under the Seventh Framework Programme for research and technological development (FP7). The project started in January 2012 and will run for 56 months.
As people get older, they face increasing risk of some severe condition that will affect their ability to continue living independently at home. The SILVER project searches for new technologies to assist elderly people in their everyday lives. By the use of new robotics based technologies, the elderly can continue independent living at home even if they have physical or cognitive disabilities.
The new technologies and solutions are sought by using a Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) process. In Europe, the PCP has so far been an under-utilized tool for promoting innovation. One of the aims of this project is to demonstrate the effectiveness of this approach to address societal and governmental needs.
Pre-Commercial Procurement is a method for procuring R&D services, or of the result of R&D services, with the purpose of developing a new product or solution. A PCP trajectory typically consists of three phases: concept/solution design, prototype development and pilot phase (development of first pre-products on a small scale that are tested in the field).
PCP is about stimulating supplier product development from the demand side so that from the outset it fits perfectly to the needs of the public authority interested in deploying the service commercially. It is about the public and private sector sharing the risks and benefits of picking up exploratory research which has the potential to innovate public services from the early stages of pre-commercial product development up to the stage where products are ready for commercialisation. PCP of innovation empowers public procurers in their role as technologically demanding first buyers.
The first objective of the project is to establish, and execute, an agreed PCP process to run a cross-border PCP call for tender. This generic process should also form a basis for national PCP calls designed outside of the SILVER project.
The aim is that in the future public organizations in the participating countries and in the EU be familiar with the PCP process and tools and use them to meet their needs.
The second objective is to use the PCP process developed in the project to identify new technologies and services to support the independent living of the elderly.
By 2020 new solutions implemented in elderly care are expected to make it possible to care for 10 % more care recipients with the same number of care givers. The aim is also to increase the quality of life for the elderly by making them more independent and improving their health.
The SILVER project is divided into seven work packages (WP), each one having a responsible leader.
WP1 Project management
WP2 Creation of Generic PCP process
WP3 Creation of specific call for Independent living
WP4 Administration of the competition and monitoring pilots
WP5 Reviews and Recommendations
WP6 Dissemination and exploitation of project results
WP7 Pilots Running
The Steering Committee is the decision-making body of the Consortium. The Coordinator acts as the intermediary between the Consortium and the European Commission. The Coordinator performs tasks assigned to it in the Grant Agreement and in the Consortium Agreement, in addition to its responsibilities as a Project Partner.
Management Team assists the Steering Committee and the Coordinator in executing the decisions of the Steering Committee. Being composed of Work Package Leaders and National Coordinators, it takes care of day-to-day management of the project.
The project starts by developing a generic PCP process and documentation. Later the generic process will be used as a basis for a specific call for Independent Living.
The actual PCP process is executed in three phases. The first phase is a feasibility study of the selected technologies and proposals. The most promising ideas will be developed into well-defined prototypes in phase two. The third phase aims to verify and compare the first real end products or services in real-life situations.