Practical innovative strength at the interface of technology and health

Four universities of applied sciences from the Province of South Holland have joined Medical Delta, a network of knowledge institutions, healthcare institutions and companies in the Life Sciences, Health and Technology sectors. The inclusion of the universities of applied sciences gives Medical Delta greater depth and breadth in the area of occupation-oriented education and practice-based research. The goal of the collaboration is to have society benefit more from knowledge and entrepreneurship in the healthcare-related and medical technical fields.

Medical Delta The four schools are Inholland University of Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences, Leiden University of Applied Sciences and The Hague University of Applied Sciences, each with its own degree programmes and activities at the interface of technology and health. Together the universities make a unique contribution to Medical Delta’s existing network, including the applied research conducted by research groups, lecturers and students. Applied research has a strong link to daily practice and is often conducted in collaboration with both the commissioning party and end user. The universities are also responsible for training the professionals of the future.

Collaboration in Living Labs

The universities of applied sciences contribute to the existing Medical Delta Living Labs, but also establish new Living Labs. A Living Lab is an experimental, realistic setting. This might be a recreated OR where innovations for the most important target groups, including end users, are created, developed and tested. By developing practice-based research together with the people it affects, professional practice can be updated step by step and new methods and technologies can take root among citizens and professionals alike.

“We can develop quite a few new products and working methods that can change the healthcare sector, but the greatest challenge is to put them into practice. And that is why the universities of applied sciences play such an important role. On the one hand, of course, they train the professionals of tomorrow in both the healthcare and related industries. But, first and foremost, these institutions are a leading factor in the Living Labs, which speed up the implementation of new approaches to healthcare. So we are very much looking forward to developing and implementing even more great ideas in collaboration.” – Roel Kamerlink, Director of Medical Delta.

Dynamic professional field

Living Labs and other forms of collaboration and exchange like those in Medical Delta are becoming increasingly important for higher education nowadays. Professions – in virtually all areas and certainly in the healthcare sector – have become more complex over the years. Stable positions have been replaced by dynamic professions. Traditional dividing lines between development and execution have faded. That is why universities of applied sciences, in addition to preparing students for a professional career by linking knowledge and scientific insights to practical expertise, make sure that their students learn research skills. Research skills and interdisciplinary thinking and acting will enable them to contribute to innovations in professional practice in the future.

On 11 April, Leonard Geluk, President of the Executive Board of The Hague University of Applied Sciences, signed an agreement on behalf of the four universities of applied sciences that established the inclusion of the schools as of 1 January of this year, with retroactive effect. Geluk comments, “As universities of applied sciences, we are happy to share our knowledge and research results and use them to solve major social issues, such as the importance of providing quality care in an ageing society. This collaboration also makes it possible to better prepare our students for a dynamic and ever-faster changing professional practice.”