Several years of collaboration cemented with joint research position

adminCentre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT), Lillebaelt Academy

Mette Maria Skjøth og Claus Duedal til InnoEvent 2014

Centre for Innovative Medical Technology and Lillebaelt Academy of Higher Professional Education have established a joint position to strengthen the collaboration and ensure focused research in joint activities. 
The award-winning concept InnoEvent and several shared EU funded projects are results of the collaboration between Centre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT) at Odense University Hospital/University of Southern Denmark and the Lillebaelt Academy of Higher Professional Education (EAL).
A cooperation that both parties have seen great results from over the years.

In the fall of 2014 the two institutions cemented their commitment to collaboration by establishing a joint position shared 50/50. In the new chair sits Mette Maria Skjøth, a former nurse who holds a graduate diploma in business administration, organisation and management, and recently finalised her PhD. The research in her PhD focused on the use of online tools (“eHealth”) in healthcare communication and included activities and competencies from both CIMT and EAL.

CIMT has a longstanding tradition in research and has a large ongoing portfolio of clinical, technical and health economic research activities with the University of Southern Denmark.
For the Lillebaelt Academy of Higher Professional Education on the other hand, academic research is a relatively new field, but they have long wished to expand the amount of research and development activities in the field of health innovation – an area where the health and education institutions in Odense enjoy international recognition.

Potential for regional growth
Head of education at Lillebaelt Academy Michael Lundorff-Hansen says:
– For EAL it has been important to start systematically gathering knowledge on health innovation. The latest research and development in this area has a large potential for growth in this region. We want the knowledge created within the field of health and care to be used systematically in the educations offered here, to create value for the many companies we and our students collaborate with. Mette Maria Skjøth will ensure that projects are coordinated so the knowledge base will be imbedded in our strategy. Several of the students’ InnoEvent projects have been improved in collaboration with her and have been presented at international conferences – many have won prizes for their hard work and new ideas. So I’m very happy with the visible and concrete outcome our students gain from joint health innovation research.

New solutions for the clinical staff
Also CIMT at Odense University Hospital are convinced of the positive results of the joint effort:
– InnoEvent and the collaboration with Lillebaelt Academy means for the hospital that we get the chance to combine identified clinical needs and challenges with the practical competencies and approach of EAL. This way we can ensure that this kind of collaboration is also supported by strong research. At the same time, the meeting between students and the clinical experts always results in new exciting ideas and help pave the way for new clinical solutions, says chief consultant Claus Duedal Pedersen.

Value for hospital, school and private companies
– It is incredibly exciting to help strengthen and expand the research collaboration between EAL and the hospital. There are a lot of possibilities in the collaboration between these two worlds, and when you bring in the research perspective as well, the possibilities grow. The collaboration offers opportunities to develop and anchor new knowledge in both organisations – and by having patient empowerment at the core of our work, we can focus on projects and solutions that give value for both the hospital, the students, the EAL organisation and the private companies that participate in the projects, explains Mette Maria Skjøth when asked about her new position.

Strengthen the research profileMette Maria Skjøth med studerende til Innoevent 2014
The purpose of the joint position is to expand and consolidate the research collaboration between CIMT an EAL by initiation new joint projects that support the profile and strategy of both organisations. Specifically this means more educational programmes and internships in the field of health technology at EAL and “open doors” at the hospital who will receive interns, participate in student projects and test new ideas and solutions in the clinical arena.
The primary focus of CIMT is research in the field of eHealth and patient empowerment while EAL wishes to establish their organisation as a research-oriented organization, create a broader network and also develop a research strategy to help anchor latest knowledge in the teaching programmes. Focus will especially be on patient empowerment which is an area where EAL expects to be able to make a difference through development of new technologies that can help citizens and patients be more self-sufficient.

“Future-proofing” InnoEvent
Among the tasks designated to Mette Maria is the initiation of new PhD studies in health technology that involve competencies from both CIMT and EAL. An example of this could be clinically based projects where students from EAL participate actively in the development and testing of new technologies in the clinical departments at the hospital.
Furthermore, her task will be to enforce and develop the InnoEvent brand. InnoEvent was started by Lillebaelt Academy and Odense University Hospital in 2010 and has since then been a huge success which has even been exported to universities and business schools in both Finland and USA – and soon a university in Catalonia, Spain, that had sent representatives to Denmark for InnoEvent 2015 to experience the event themselves. To ensure that the quality and relevance of InnoEvent stays strong, Mette Maria will lead a process that, among other things, contains shared knowledge generation and implementation of new knowledge for both teachers, students and clinical staff who will be participating in the event in the future.

Sustainable changes
Creative director and owner of Have Kommunikation, Christian Have, believes that interdiscliplinarity and getting out of the ‘comfort zone’ is a basic premise for how employees in the future can create the necessary changes and find solutions to the big challenges that both the public and private sector face.
– Stimulating the creative and innovative gene already during basic education is of paramount importance for sustainable changes in our society. An example of “best practice” in this field is InnoEvent which – in a most exemplary way – has integrated new ways of interdisciplinary collaboration and helps facilitate the necessary attitude change and the mindset of those who work with these challenges in their daily life. It is clear that Odense and Funen has a unique profile in this area and has the opportunity to be an incubator and creator of new innovative and creative solutions. The pool of talent and the professional competencies are there, says Christian Have.

EU projects as well
Both organisations also hope that the new shared position will lead to more joint innovation projects, as one of Mette Maria’s tasks will be to look for appropriate opportunities and write applications to foundations in EU and nationally that fund this kind of innovation and development projects.
During the first year of the employment, Mette Maria has mainly spent her time executing InnoEvent 2015, working on the refinement and adaptation of InnoEvent solutions in collaboration with the students as well as enhancing the network of EAL in relevant arenas. Among other this, this effort has led to an invitation for herself and head of education Michael Lundorff-Hansen to speak at a large health technology conference in Canada in September of 2015.
Throughout the year several articles about InnoEvent have been published and InnoEvent has been presented in the NORU-project with participants from Finland, Russia and Sweden where articles will be presented at a conference in Saint Petersburg in November 2015. This opens up for another possible expansion of the InnoEvent concept.
Last – but certainly not least – Mette Maria has completed her PhD study which was formally concluded with her defence on the 23rd of September 2015 at the University of Southern Denmark with great praise from the international review committee.

Danish Society for Education and Business (DSEB) awarded InnoEvent their Innovation and Entrepreneurship Prize of 100.000 DKK in 2014. By then InnoEvent had resulted in more than 130 prototypes, 13 SMEs had been established and more than 2000 students had participated in the event.
The head of the jury Søren Skovbølling, CEO at EG NeoProcess and president of the board of Development Fyn explained that the jury particularly fell for the way to run an educational institute and that the projects has real world application with its new ideas, invention of prototypes and concepts and creation of companies:
– InnoEvent works actively to promote innovation and entrepreneurship. It is important to inspire students in early education to create the right attitude in all of society. I love the approach of Lillebaelt Academy to include both Odense University Hospital and University College Lillebaelt in their educational programmes and conceptualization of solutions. In the InnoEvent project all competencies are present in one room. I have huge respect for this way to work with entrepreneurship.
Countries who currently organise InnoEvent:
Denmark, Finland, USA and Spain. The Nordic Council are working to get InnoEvent expanded to all of the Nordic countries.

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By Centre for Innovative Medical Technology (CIMT) and Lillebaelt Academy of Professional Higher Education (EAL)