In the North Netherlands a regional Healthy Ageing innovation network has been developed in which many partners in research and education, health and welfare, business, and regional authorities have been collaborating since 2009.
The founding father of Healthy Ageing in the Northern Netherlands is the University Medical Centre Groningen. A powerful player in this field, with projects like Life Lines, one of the leading bio-banks in Europe, and the European Research Institute on the Biology of Ageing.
The four Universities of Applied Sciences in the Northern provinces also make valuable contributions. They educate the new professionals that are needed in the fast changing health care and welfare system and they also play an important role in applied research and innovation, often in collaboration with health institutes.
Activities got a boost by the new Centre of Expertise Healthy Ageing, with Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen as lead partner. It is supported by the Ministry of Education and Research, to stimulate innovation through public private partnerships. Within two years the number of partners has increased from 35 to 150 organisations, 50 of which are commercial companies. Now, 25 innovation labs (living labs) have been realised all over the northern region.
The innovation labs are important for the development of this Centre. Stakeholders from universities, health organisations, business partners and regional authorities like municipalities work together in the development and implementation of innovation in health care, with economic as well as societal impact.
From a European perspective, it is amazing how fast active and healthy ageing has made its way into the European political agenda. As part of the prestigious EU2020 Strategy and its Innovation Union, active and healthy ageing can be found in many other European initiatives and programmes. The European Innovation partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP AHA), the EIT Health (Knowledge and Innovation Community Health) and the prominent place active and healthy ageing has been assigned in the EU research programme Horizon 2020 are all proof of the high political attention for this theme.
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