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Care Technology Fund in Upper Austria: Two million euros for the development of innovative technologies such as exoskeletons

In view of the challenges in the field of care, Upper Austria is also focusing on innovation and digitization. Therefore, a new Upper Austrian nursing technology fund with a volume of two million euros for the year 2024 is being launched as part of the skilled nursing workforce strategy.

The Department of Social Affairs of the State of Upper Austria and the social welfare associations and statutory cities will launch the first funding call on January 1, 2024. Funding will be provided for projects that arise from a cooperative partnership between care facilities/organizations and industry and/or research. Projects can be submitted in the areas of technical assistance, robotics, virtual and augmented reality, sensor technology, smart home, cognitive activation and digital data processing.

The funding volume of two million euros in 2024 will be financed in equal parts by the state's social services department and by the social welfare associations and statutory cities.

Relieve in care 

The primary goal of the fund is to take advantage of the opportunities offered by digitization and technology and to support and relieve employees in care and nursing as well as family caregivers through technical assistance systems. An expert advisory board chaired by the new JKU Rector Stefan Koch evaluates the projects in terms of funding allocation.

First pitch in November

In order to network potential project partners and show care facilities the possibilities of digital technologies, the first "Upper Austrian Care Technology Pitch" will take place on November 22 at the Circus of Knowledge at Johannes Kepler University. Innovative companies and start-ups will present their developments for elderly care in short pitches - such as automated care documentation, vital sign measurement via cell phone camera, fall sensors and telemedical solutions.

Stelzer: "Best possible care" as a goal

According to Governor Thomas Stelzer (ÖVP), opportunities must be seized and implemented in such a way that care can be provided as expected. "In the future, it will be much more important to network different areas with each other and to break new ground. Our goal is to provide the best possible care in Upper Austria." Stelzer sees an important signal in the direction of employee recruitment, but also the best possible relief for those who are already in care. "I am looking forward to hopefully many submissions at the first call at the beginning of the year."

Hattmannsdorfer: "From Digital Follower to Digital Influencer".

"In care, we want to move from being digital followers to digital influencers," emphasizes Wolfgang Hattmannsdorfer (ÖVP), the regional councilor for social affairs. As an innovation state, it is our claim to use the opportunities of digitalization to support our employees and for the benefit of those affected and their relatives, because Upper Austria is digital and social."

Luger: "Also use economic advantage".

"These two million euros are going in a direction that can bring an incredible amount," says Linz Mayor and Upper Austrian Association of Cities President Klaus Luger (SPÖ). He also points to the opportunities that cooperation with Johannes Kepler University will bring. And, "I believe that in this network, we can not only minimize problems, but in cooperation with companies, science, the association of cities and municipalities, and the state, we can also take advantage of an economic benefit."

Mader: "More time for the interpersonal".

"Care is a major challenge, especially for municipalities and social welfare associations. If administrative and additional tasks can be reduced, there will be more time available again for the interpersonal. The implementation of such projects should now be made much easier with the launch of the Care Technology Fund," says Upper Austrian Association of Municipalities President Mayor Christian Mader (ÖVP), also looking forward to many innovations.

Koch: "Important contributions through science and research".

It was a matter of course for him to serve on the advisory board, said JKU Rector Stefan Koch. "Science and research can make important contributions to improving existing processes and supporting people through the use of new technologies. Johannes Kepler University Linz, for example, is training pioneers in many studies, from 'Medical Engineering' to 'Artificial Intelligence,' who will also be able to conduct research at the interface of technology and medicine in the future and shape these areas."

Tom Illauer

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