The project aims at increasing Europe’s innovation capacity among universities and businesses to promote green and natural approaches to health and social care


  • Responsible management
  • European Commission
  • ItalyRomaniaIrelandNetherlandsAustria
  • 2020 - 2022

The problem

The megatrends are clear: people living in Europe will be older, living in urban areas, threatened by climate change effects. Already today, air pollution represents a serious hazard with adverse consequences on human health and stress affects a significant part of the population, to the point that it has been defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) as “the Health Epidemic of the 21st Century”, while increased immigration is putting additional pressures on the EU’s inclusion policies. Overall, these megatrends are reflected in increasing costs for the public welfare and healthcare sectors and in increasing risk of social exclusions and marginalization of vulnerable people.

The project

Recent studies have shown that nature-based private-public partnerships such as social agriculture, urban green infrastructures and forest therapy are providing cost-effective solutions to the above-mentioned megatrends. These approaches are defined as “GREEN4C” (GC), an emerging concept which sees the private sector providing health and social inclusion through the innovative use of natural resources.

However, for GC initiatives to emerge, some conditions must be realized: there needs to be cooperation between the health and green sectors, which in turn requires research-business networks in this field; specific training on GC related subjects, which is currently not sufficiently provided by Higher Education Institutions, is necessary to mainstream the sector; and scientific knowledge should be well commercialized in order to favour the establishment of new consultancy services and  GC start-ups.

The project – which responds to the needs of a changing political and social economy, creating opportunities for new careers, fostering nature-based solutions and enabling marginalized people, through interdisciplinary learning and cross-sectors research-business cooperation – aims at increasing Europe’s innovation capacity among universities and businesses by promoting green and natural approaches to health and social care, focusing on the countries of Italy, Romania, The Netherlands, Ireland and Austria.

It will do so by:

  • facilitating the exchange, flow and co-creation of knowledge among universities and business coming from social-health and environmental sectors;
  • promoting a new, innovative and multidisciplinary global blended training course to embed health and social challenges into Agriculture, Forestry, Urban Planning and Environmental universities;
  • stimulating an entrepreneurial skills and attitude among students, researchers and young entrepreneurs to provide the public and private sectors with innovative and cost-effective solutions to health and social care by using natural resources.

Our contribution

Etifor designed the project and will be responsible for the following activities:

  • Stakeholders mapping, trend analysis, and beneficiary training needs assessment
  • Training focused research: benchmarking business models, best practices and case studies
  • Blueprint on how agriculture and natural resources can contribute to the health and social inclusion
  • EU Market outlooks for the four thematic sectors
  • Communication and dissemination