iAge Partner Meeting Groningen
iAge Partner Meeting Groningen
Whilst preparations were in full swing for the Dutch national feast of ‘Sinterklaas', the iAge partnership held its most recent meeting 20th - 21st November in Groningen (NL). The dates were planned to coincide with another large scale international event taking place at Hanze University Groningen - The Student Health Battle! Enterprising students (including a group from iAge universities) and professionals from 6 different countries worked in multidisciplinary teams on issues related to Healthy Ageing. Companies and organizations active in the field provided some challenging cases and at the end of the day the students presented a 3-minute pitch of ideas to an international expert jury. The 5 best teams now advance to the finals which will be held during the Health Valley Event in March 2014.
The Dutch partners hosted an interesting and varied programme of Work Package sessions, presentations and excursions - excellently organized and coordinated by Hanze University Groningen and ZIF. Following the impressive opening of the Health Battle, the iAge partners retreated to discuss project progress. Trimbos presented an overview of all inventories and outcomes regarding ICT needs related to the iAge target group and the challenges still to be faced. A selection of ICT tools were also proposed for further investigation. Our partners from WAK introduced a young entrepreneur who presented ‘Runpat', developers of a software programme designed to visualize business models in a simplified and accessible way. This tool could be potentially valuable for, among others, older people wishing to set up their own business.
Hieke van der Kloet, lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Groningen, kicked off the afternoon session with a presentation on the Lifelong Living pilot, followed by an enthusiastic introduction to the ‘Rasberry Pi' by Marco Velling, honours student at the Hanze University. The Rasberry Pi is an innovative, credit-card sized computer that plugs into a TV and keyboard. It can replace many PC functions (e.g. spreadsheets, word-processing and games) and also plays high-definition video.
As the day drew to a close the iAge partners were further enlightened about self-tracking devices - useful for increasing the sustainable labour participation of older workers - and visited the Quantified Self Institute and Sport Field Lab on campus before listening to the Health Battle pitches and announcement of finalists for the next round.
Day 2 was ‘on the road'. Partners received a good impression of the challenges faced with regards to health care in rural areas. Following a warm welcome by Hennie Sanders, Director of Oosterlengte, enlightening presentations were given by local partners ZIF on screen2 screen care and informal care support. The programme further included an interactive co-design exercise guided by the University of Abertay. Partners Hardenberg and STAMM presented their ICT tools and the ‘Doeboek' before the group listened to the outcomes of UCL's (DK) questionnaire and discussed follow-up activities.
The last day was reserved for a project team meeting. A ‘changing of the guard' has taken place since the summer; former Project Manager Martien Haasjes has been replaced by Tineke Smegen, who is more than familiar with the iAge project in her capacity as Financial Officer. However, Martien is now someone ‘in the know' in terms of the new programmes for 2014 - 2020 and he shed some light on future possibilities in this regard, encouraging discussion and new project ideas.
Project reporting, communication and financial matters were interspersed with Work Package updates from the Province of East Flanders and a presentation from Mentor (Justien Jonckheere is new to the project) and Leiedal.
The 3-day meeting ended with an evaluation - after which the partners were free to acquaint themselves further with Dutch Sinterklaas traditions (including the ‘chocolate-letter-eating' habit!) as they headed homewards.