Care Living Labs Flanders launched

On 19 September 2013, Care Living Labs Flanders was officially launched in "Area 42" in Schaerbeek, Brussels. Flemish Minister of Innovation, Ingrid Lieten, the initiator of these Care Living Labs, opened the event and emphasized the importance of innovation in care.

Central to the program this day were the four Care Living Lab platforms that were approved in mid-summer 2013. These platforms, together with several stakeholders, will be searching for innovative solutions to tackle challenges in elderly care. Each platform was highlighted in a panel discussion together with Dominique Verté, an expert in elderly care, moderated by Kurt Van Eeghem.

AIPA, in the region of Aalst, focuses on affordable housing and is particularly attentive to the socially disadvantaged. InnovAGE, in Leuven, focuses on integrated care. ACN, the living lab platform in Antwerp and Brussels, focuses on creating and maintaining informal care networks in metropolitan areas. Finally, there is LiCalab in Turnhout, which emphasizes a more integrated approach. For instance, they have a project that will investigate whether home delivery of medications could be a potentially interesting service for the elderly.

Dr. Birgit Morlion B Sc (Director of Care Innovation at iMinds) explained in a comprehensible manner the function of the Program Office toe. The Program Office falls under the responsibility of iMinds and is the central contact point for Care Living Labs in Flanders. Furthermore, with our living labs expertise, we will support and guide the Care Living Lab platforms in the living lab methodology.

After the Program Office, the KIO was also introduced. The Knowledge Innovation Center for Elderly Care is responsible for scientific supervision of the platforms. The OPIH research group from the University of Brussels (VUB) will coordinate the consortium. During the talk, Prof. Dr. Mark Leys enthusiastically explained the intent and purpose of this scientific consortium.

Alain Thielemans from the IWT then announced a new call for projects in the four selected living lab platforms. Projects can be submitted until no later than 24 December, 12:00 p.m. The Innovation Center will supervise the submission of potential projects for the Flemish Region; Innoviris will do the same for the Walloon Region.

Jo Vandeurzen, Flemish Minister for Welfare, Public Health and Family, closed this successful and fascinating afternoon. He discussed the role of the Sounding Board Committee led by the Care Innovation Platform of Flanders' Care. The Minister concluded with a plea for less regulation in order to promote innovation in healthcare.

The launch event was completed with a successful networking event. It was highly multidisciplinary. Everyone from entrepreneurs, healthcare institutions/actors, ministers and local politicians, and the education world were all represented, resulting in interesting discussions and questions. The number and diversity of attendees, together with the dynamic that this interaction brought about, was a fine start for Care Living Labs Flanders.

"As the Program Office and coordinating body of these Care Living Labs, we are very pleased with this great start, but we mainly believe that this was just a small taste of what these Care Living Labs can mean for Flanders and, who knows, even beyond" says Katleen Boschmans, Program Office Coordinator, Care Living Labs.



Launch of Care Living Labs Flanders by iMinds on Vimeo.


Watch the presentation of the launch of Care Living Labs Flanders and the supervisory bodies.