Centre of Expertise Healthy Ageing is focused on innovation related to health and care themes with 48 Living Labs.
Demographic change and healthy ageing are a big challenge in many parts of the world. Healthy Ageing is one of the strategic themes in the Northern Netherlands. Hanze University of Applied Sciences collaborates with 160 active organisations in public private partnership in living labs/innovation labs to develop and implement innovations health and welfare. From 2013, the CoE HA has realised 48 innovation labs in the Northern Netherlands of which in 2019, 23 are active. Main elements of the living labs are applied research, innovation of professional education and business development. The activities of partners in a living lab are focused on realisation of economic and societal impact. Most important themes are health&technology and healthy environments. Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen is lead partner. Main partners are 2 Northern universities of applied sciences, the Research University/ Medical Centre Groningen, 5 Vocational Training Institutes, 50 health and welfare organisations, 50 companies (mostly SME), regional authorities (municipalities and 3 northern provinces). Because of co-creation of innovation with partners in living labs, many innovations are directly implemented in practice.

Resources needed

From 2013-2017, 20 Centres of Expertise in the Netherlands have been funded with each 1 million euros yearly from the Ministry of Education and Research. From 2018 onwards, funding for the central PPP organisation comes from Hanze University, and contributions for living labs from partners.

Evidence of success

More than 160 partners are actively involved in PPP for innovation in living labs of the Centre f Expertise Healthy Ageing.
Results from 2013 – now: 60 fte new applied research projects, 5000 students involved in living labs, 600 European credits new educational courses on Healthy Ageing, 50 innovations realised; 60 student start ups; many new investments, economic and societal impact in the region.

Difficulties encountered

After the period of the grant of the Ministry of Education and Research, financial and human resources are needed for continuation of PPP, now supplied by Hanze as lead partner. Business development support is often needed by partners in living labs.

Potential for learning or transfer

The practice of the public private partnership of the Centre of Expertise Healthy Ageing is interesting for other regions because of the strong commitment of partners in the living labs and the result-oriented approach. After the initial grant period, partners are still interested to start new living labs/innovation labs, with only a small stimulation grant of 20.000 € from the CoE HA.
Key success factors are:
- Sustainable collaboration and co-creation with public and private partners in innovation labs
- The alignment of applied research, professional education and professional practice
- The result oriented practical approach with the combination of economic and societal impact
- The innovation eco system on Healthy Ageing in the region of the Northern Netherlands that has been developed in the last decade
Main institution
Hanze University of Applied Sciences
Groningen, Netherlands (Nederland)
Start Date
January 2013
End Date