"An 'ageing society' brings challenges - but also opens opportunities for value chain and jobs. Companies develop products and technologies in close collaboration with universities, universities of applied sciences and non-university research institutions that enable us meeting the challenges of demographic change well prepared."
Styria is the first and only Austrian reference site for active and healthy ageing within the "European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Active and Healthy Ageing (AHA)" with 74 reference regions. As active and healthy ageing combined with a long and smoothly lifespan is a wish of all of us, Styria aims to make this wish true using various approaches.
The mission's objective is to increase the number of healthy years of life for at least two. Currently, Austrians are living 58 years in a quite healthy way while Swedens can expect 70 healthy years of life. So there is much work to do.
The cluster association wants to develop new ideas, new products, and services that help us to facilitate the elderly life. Finally, we hope to be able to use our resources more economically and efficiently, says Johan Harer, cluster manager at Human.technology Styria. That will be achieved through an optimized collaboration of the main players from the government (regional government, communities, hospitals, social insurance), research institutions, as well as companies active in health economics, medical technologies, pharma, and biotech.
The Styrian reference region currently comprises more than 30 partners.
“In public opinion, demographic change has very negative connotations and is most often associated with exploding healthcare costs and a care crisis. But at the same time, the ageing of the population is generating growing demand for age-appropriate products and services, which opens up chances for innovative companies. As a region we have to try to pick up on these chances” – thus Johann Harer, head of the Human Technology cluster, explains why his organization took on the role of coordinator of the ‘AHA reference region’. “For me it was fascinating to see how many actors from the most diverse areas of research and business were already working in this area. So the future task of our cluster will not only be to initiate new projects, but also to boost the visibility of projects that are already running and to promote cross-sectoral cooperation in the AHA area.”
A series of activities already showed the potential of the region. Here are some examples: