Picture of Chalmers participates in the Junior Academy
Picture from previous events connected to the Junior Academy.​​

1,000 youths in pursuit of new welfare solutions

​Chalmers participates in the Junior Academy initiative where young people from 64 countries work together to find new perspectives on major welfare issues. The theme of the challenge is remote healthcare – what happens when the healthcare moves into our homes?
​The Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences (IVA) and The New York Academy of Sciences run the Junior Academy​ programme in collaboration with Chalmers, through the Center for Healthcare Improvement (CHI) and Astra Zeneca, in the design of a challenge for approximately 980 young people aged 13-18. The challenge focuses on opportunities and obstacles to better utilize technology and approaches to promote health and treat illness remotely.
 
Both the demographic challenges, the constant development of healthcare and the development of technology indicate that new thinking and innovation is needed. Many healthcare systems around the world focus primarily on dealing with citizens when they have become patients – and less on upstream solutions where illness can be avoided or pushed forward in time.
 
More and more people are monitoring their own health data via some form of wearable or mobile phone – but are our healthcare systems and are we, ourselves, ready to handle what the technology can already solve?
 
The teenagers will work in virtual teams for about 8 weeks and try to find solutions to problems such as:
  • How do we handle health data in a respectful way, for the benefit of the individual? Does healthcare have organizational readiness to handle new and large amounts of information that has not existed before?
  • What ethical aspects are there when "healthcare moves home"?
  • How do we ensure that the proposed solutions do not further contribute to societal problems that are on the rise, primarily sedentariness and loneliness?
  • If we ourselves and the healthcare system have access to relevant health data, how can this be used to make a difference? How can increased awareness help us to actually change our way of life, with ideas beyond calendar reminders and notifications on the mobile phone?
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"We hope that the solutions will be both exciting, and relevant for our partners. In addition, we hope that this challenge shows the width of what we do at Chalmers and thus can attract even more young people to the engineering profession and thereby contribute to a more sustainable development of our healthcare systems", says Patrik Alexandersson at the Center for Healthcare Improvement.

The challenge will also provide inspiration for a Chalmers-wide course within the new Tracks program that is currently under development.
 
The project concludes with a jury evaluation that includes Astra Zeneca, the Västra Götaland region and Chalmers and where the most promising solution proposals will be raised regionally, nationally and internationally.

Text: Patrik Alexandersson and Daniel Karlsson
Photo: Via Junior Academy and Carolina Pires Bertuol

Facts Junior Challenge "Intelligent Homes & Health"

  • 63 teams
  • 984 participants
  • 64 countries
  • 51 Swedish participants
  • The challenge “Sustain life on the moon” runs in parallel

Published: Tue 30 Jun 2020.