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Students at UCPH to Rethink Healthcare This Summer

Educators from University of Copenhagen has created a cross-disciplinary innovation course for master’s students in cooperation with Copenhagen Health Innovation. The new course will run for the first time this summer, and registration is now open.

In May 2017 Tine Alkjær from the Department of Biomedical Sciences, where she is associate professor and deputy head of studies for the study programme in Biomedical Engineering, had been invited on a research trip to the Netherlands together with the UCPH Innovation and Entrepreneurship Network. They would be visiting various universities offering innovation courses.

I am not interested in the business aspect of innovation and entrepreneurship, so I went on the trip to see if I could find inspiration for my own teaching’, Tine Alkjær says about her expectations prior to the trip.

Inspired to Think Big

Tine Alkjær returned inspired and with an idea for a new course where the students could develop concrete innovation competences such as problem solving, creativity, cross-disciplinary cooperation, self-instruction and not least communication.

These aspects are difficult to include in the existing courses at Biomedical Engineering, and it is actually something we are missing to meet the objective of the programme. At the same time, I realised that innovation does not have to be growth or business, but that the course could focus on the human aspect – after all, technology is about people’, says Tine Alkjær.

Students Involved to Create Value

Thus, the seed for a new innovation course at SUND had been planted, and Tine Alkjær partnered up with Copenhagen Health Innovation (CHI) to plan the next step – in consultation with students who were invited to a workshop. According to the students, the innovation course should be very concrete and based on real-life cases; if possible, several cases of the same kind, enabling them to practise and improve their skills. There was a general consensus that the course should be offered across programmes.

Summer Course: Rethinking Healthcare

On the basis of the students’ inputs Tine Alkjær and her colleague from the Department of Biomedical Sciences, Associate Professor Jens Brings Jacobsen, and CHI’s representatives at SUND, Professor Claus Bøttcher Jørgensen and Senior Consultant in Innovation and Entrepreneurship Nina Riis, who have experience in developing innovation courses, have worked hard all fall to make the course a reality.

Their efforts resulted in the summer course Rethinking Healthcare – Innovation as a powerful driver, which was approved by the Biomedical Engineering study committee just before the Christmas break. As the Biomedical Engineering program is a collaboration between UCPH and DTU the summer course offers 40 students from all over UCPH and DTU a chance to acquire skills and tools applicable in solving health challenges.

Includes Real-Life Challenges

We will introduce methods, models and theories on innovation and use them to rethink and reinvent the healthcare sector. All of this will happen in close cooperation with health professionals who will visit the summer school to present actual problems from their work’, says Tine Alkjær.

She is pleased with the great support she and the development group experienced while developing the summer course, especially from the Section for Internationalisation that has contributed to the administration and marketing of the summer school.

The course is open to master’s students with a wide range of degrees within e.g. biomedicine, engineering, anthropology, social sciences, philosophy, public health, medicine, human biology and other natural science programmes. Registration for the course opened 22 January.

Important to Prepare Students for the Future

For CHI, this is an important milestone in the work of combining innovation and health in education:

It is great to see that the interdisciplinary Biomedical Engineering programme in collaboration with CHI’s innovation consultants, has developed a new innovation course, the first of its kind at UCPH. The summer course is a good example of how we can prepare students for the future by combining their healthcare professionalism with a creative and critical approach to new technologies and their potential in the future healthcare sector,” emphasizes Anette Birck, Director of Copenhagen Health Innovation.

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Summer course: Rethinking Healthcare – Innovation as a powerful driver

Biomedical Engineering programme

The summer course is supported by CHI-VEST:

Den Europæiske Socialfond