Healthy Ageing is an important theme for the North Netherlands, and consequently a large number of people and institutions are engaged in work on this topic. All the partners are working together within the North Netherlands Healthy Ageing Network. Collaborative ventures between knowledge institutes and businesses are using a chain approach.
The knowledge institutes involved are the University Medical Centre Groningen, the University of Groningen, Hanze (UAS), NHL University, Van Hall Larenstein, University of Applied Sciences and Stenden University. Upper secondary vocational education (MBO) institutes such as the Noorderpoort College, the Alfa College and Drenthe College are also actively participating. The UMCG was the initiator of the Healthy Ageing theme and has since been conducting some major projects, such as Life Lines and Eriba.
The businesses involved include some major multinationals such as Avebe, Friesland Food and Philips, and many SMEs working in the realm of Healthy Ageing, such as Innexus (an SME cluster specialising in food technology), and various small ICT companies.
As for government authorities, all three northern provinces are involved, as well as a large number of municipalities including Groningen, Leeuwarden, Assen and Emmen.
There are also international cooperative ventures underway, for example with institutions and businesses in northern Germany, Scandinavia and the Baltic region.
Healthy and Active Ageing is also one of the European Union’s priority areas. Collaborative partnerships are underway, for example via the HANNN (www.hannn.eu), to obtain European grants. The Northern Netherlands Provinces (SNN) organisation is also playing a key role in these activities.
Northern Sector Plan
In 2010, the four universities of applied sciences in the north (Hanze (UAS), NHL University, Stenden University and Van Hall Larenstein, University of Applied Sciences) decided to work together, with the aim of strengthening the North Netherlands economy. This is set out in the Northern Sector Plan “Educating for Ambitions”, which was presented to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science in March 2010.
Meanwhile, the executive boards decided to work together intensively, both in education and research, on six themes. These six themes, which are of crucial importance for the North Netherlands, are:
• Healthy Ageing
• Water Technology
For each theme a project coordinator has been appointed, to expand on that theme and work with colleagues from all four universities to implement the joint plans.