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Company challenges teach health- and care students to be innovators

Industry challenge at University College Copenhagen (KP). Bachelor students co-create with the biomarker company EgooHealth.

Technology will be crucial to meeting the needs of the future health- and care sector. In order to prepare students for this reality, Copenhagen Science City partner University College Copenhagen (KP) has introduced industry challenges at several points during their during their health- and care education programmes. By Jes Andersen.

Getting an understanding for cutting edge technology

A task force at the University Colleges’ simulation facility “House of Practice and Innovation” began to recruit private as well as public companies from the sector in 2020. The companies get to present challenges to cross curricular student-teams for six-week projects which includes research, ideas development and solutions pitching. In return the students get an understanding of cutting-edge welfare technology.

Not only do our students get motivation to think and act innovatively. They also get an understanding of the mindsets in the industry and training in communicating and collaborating with the companies that are developing the types of technology they will be using throughout their professional careers”: Christian Neergard, Associate professor, University College Copenhagen- KP.

Students are key value proposition

Using company challenges in student training sprang from KP’s simulation facility House of Practice and Innovation. The House started life as a test-facility for the sector. Companies were invited to assess the feasibility of products and services in perfect physical simulations of health- and care sector environments. However, it soon dawned on the university college, that their most valuable proposition was access to its students.

We often see our participating companies come to us with a more or less fixed idea about what they need, but leave us with a completely new view. Our students have no preconceptions about work-routines but solid theoretical foundations and good knowledge of the sector thanks to traineeships and simulation training. This is combined with high motivation and a very flexible approach to using technology. Most of our companies keep coming back exactly for this.”: Christian Neergard, Associate professor, University College Copenhagen- KP.

Popular with companies

In order to get access to the students, companies need to ask questions that present learning opportunities, are suited to cross-curricular teams and illustrate future challenges. Initially, KP recruited firms at industry conferences, fairs, and symposia. After just four years, companies now ask to join the programmes on their own initiative. This is met with admiration in Copenhagen Science City.

Co-creating with students is not always top of mind with commercially operating companies. But is it clearly a win-win situation and we are pleased that this form of collaboration is growing in Copenhagen Science City”: Kristoffer Klebak, Head of Secretariat, Copenhagen Science City.

Several opportunities for innovation

Students who enjoy innovation are invited to join additional six-week cross disciplinary electives, where the company challenges are closer to completion. All study-programmes in KP’s Copenhagen Science City-locations can take part including physiotherapy, nursing and midwifery to radiography, risk management and biotechnology.

Opening the minds of our students to the idea of cross curricular projects can take some doing. Eventually they do come to understand that this is the reality they will face in the sector. When that happens, their reservations completely disappear, and they become all fired up about collaboration”: Christian Neergard, Associate professor, University College Copenhagen- KP.

Submit your own industry challenge

Could your health-and care sector Company or institution benefit from input from KP-students? Contact the House of Practice and Innovation to learn more… 

About KP

University College Copenhagen (KP) is one of Denmark’s main providers of high-quality study programmes and applied research activities, that help improve Danish welfare. More than 20,000 students are currently enrolled at KP, and around 2000 staff members work at KP. Bachelor programmes, post-graduate diploma studies and professional development courses are provided in different campus locations in Copenhagen. The Copenhagen Science City location primarily focus on health- and care programmes.

About Copenhagen Science City

Join us in Copenhagen Science City – a world-class innovation district where you can transform your bright ideas into growth, jobs, and global solutions.

Learn more about the Copenhagen Science City organisation.