We are the Network for Innovative Care Competence Learning through Labs: ‘NICCoLLa’. Our network consists of 4 consortiumpartners (LAB, IPN, UPV and Avans UAS) and 5 associated partners (Sensing Future, Innovation Centre Imagine/Amarantgroup, Pacmed B.V., Harjulan Setlementti ry and Asociacion APSA)

The NICCoLLa project partners have diverse experiences, backgrounds and knowledge on Technology and ICT for Healthcare & Wellbeing and customer-driven/user-centered innovation activities and have thus been selected for this European project. This common background and diverse experiences provide a fruitful basis for transnational and transdisciplinary knowledge exchange and competence development on the topic. Transnational collaboration also enables efficient ways for competency development of ‘future-proof’ care professionals locally within each HEI, but also regionally and EU wide.

As the EU landscape of Heathcare & Wellbeing is changing, (E.g. demographic ageing, inclusion of vulnerable groups, shortages of care professionals, financial pressure, all pose significant challenges to our societies), it is widely recognized that Technology and ICT are key answers to meet the challenges that stem from these changes. E.g. innovative Technology and ICT solutions will support a move towards ageing in place and therefore also profoundly change the way we age. The need and importance of Technology and ICT are linked to finding solutions for Heathcare & Wellbeing service systems, e.g. to increase effective and user-friendly services, cost efficiency, accessibility and inclusion. Many technologies are available and the market is rapidly developing (see e.g. Digital Health Society, 2018; Iseard et. al, 2017).

In a future where Technology and ICT becomes increasingly more important in Healtcare & Wellbeing and in interacting with patients/clients, we acknowledge the importance of educating ’future-proof’ care professionals. Care innovations might not reach their full potential because of insufficient competency levels of professionals. And for innovations to be accepted by users it is important to bridge the disciplinary language gap and foster dialogue and cooperation between relevant disciplines.

We – the NICCoLLa project partners – aim at modernizing current curricula by developing methodologies and transdisciplinary courses focused on teaching how to use Technology and ICT solutions in Healthcare & Wellbeing settings, including theory and practical experiences. The project activities will focus on curriculum development (i.e. competency definition, courses/content), and facilitate transnational and transdisciplinary learning by students, teachers and care professionals about the way we can design and implement Technology and ICT solutions for H&W. By linking this to the development of a blueprint for care technology lab (CTL), bringing together all relevant stakeholders, and implementing a quadruple helix approach (see Curley & Salmelin, 2013) we can add value to the learning process and foster the uptake and acceptance of Technology and ICT solutions and increase individual competencies and collective capacity.