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Health Tech Innovation puts fire in the bellies of student entrepreneurs

A number of students from the Faculty of Health Sciences and the Faculty of Engineering have received prizes for their bright ideas in the project Health Tech Innovator. But the real reward still lies ahead.

 By Sune Holst,

- We've had the opportunity to take our ideas from the drawing board to actually becoming a reality. So says Caroline Brøgger Christensen, who has helped develop a bedside table for the future in the project Health Tech Innovator.

Health Tech Innovator is an innovation programme where students from the Faculty of Health Sciences (SUND) and the Faculty of Engineering (TEK) work together to develop ideas in welfare technology that could end up becoming a product.

Took first place

The bedside table will not only improve patients' eating position but will also save the health service a great deal of money in fewer cleaning hours. And the judges thought this was such a prizeworthy invention that they rewarded the group with first place.

Six groups in all presented their ideas to a jury consisting of SDU and Hospital staff, Medico and welfare technology companies and investors.

A navigation app making it easier for patients to find their way to their scanning appointments was also rewarded with both salaries for the group members and money for prototype development. This was also the case for a project idea about a social media platform for patients during their hospitalisation.

- The aim is to create some solutions which both tackle problems in the area of health but also have a technical aspect that lends itself to contributions from students from the Faculty of Engineering, says Associate Professor Søren Jensen from SDU Innovation and Design Engineering:

- In short, the engineering students know about modern technology, materials and electronics but it is the doctors, physiotherapists and nurses who are out in the clinics and close to the patients, and who know about their needs and problems.

Along with  Dorthe Boe Danbjørg (CIMT) and Palle Hermansen (MMMI), Søren Jensen has been one of the driving forces behind Health Tech Innovator.

Sparring with Companies

- And now it gets really exciting, says Associate Professor Søren Jensen.

- Speaking metaphorically, the students now have to push their ideas out of the nest to see if they can fly.

Søren Jensen explains that the project is divided into three phases, with the first culminating in the award ceremony on 2nd May.

- In the introductory phase, here are the University of Southern Denmark researchers and teachers have been available to the groups, but now the companies from the health sector will take over.

The plan in phase two is for the two organisations Cortex and Welfare Tech as well as the Health Innovation Centre of Southern Denmark to coach the students.

Helping to improve the health service

In the third and final phase, the University of Southern Denmark will take a step back from the young innovators. The objective is for the students' ideas to create their own commercial life. Either through the students starting their own companies or by collaborating with an already existing company in the sector.

- The aim is to put the ideas into production so that we can get some solutions out to the health service. We want to promote the students' inner entrepreneur. It's important that all the good ideas that are generated within the University's four walls not only become a reality but also help to change it, says Søren Jensen.

Health Tech Innovation has put fire in the bellies of the students' inner entrepreneur

Caroline Brøgger Christensen (pictured above), who is studying on the programme BSc in Engineering (Product Development and Innovation), is incredibly excited about Health Tech Innovator and particularly the educational interdisciplinary aspect.

- In my group, I worked with a nurse with nine years of experience who therefore had a good sense of work procedures, functions and not least the needs of the patients. We would never have come up with our solution for the bedside table of the future if we hadn't been able to draw on her experience and make adjustments along the way.

The young PDI student is pleased that her group can take the project a step further in the forthcoming coaching phase.

- On my study programme, we work a lot with concept development, but through Health Tech Innovator we have the opportunity to take it from the drawing board into real life.

Caroline Brøgger Christensen goes on to say that Health Tech Innovator has fired the imagination of her inner entrepreneur and has also given her the courage to take the leap with similar entrepreneur projects.

- It's part of my personality to be an entrepreneur. We'll see how things go with this project, but it's definitely a good starting place.

The forthcoming coaching sessions will run over the summer. So far, all three winning groups have accepted the offer, and several of the six participating groups are also expected to commit to the programme following an information meeting later this week.

Editing was completed: 31.05.2017