“I4Health has the very best preconditions for answering some of the great challenges facing our society today”, Minister of Digitalisation Nikolai Astrup says.
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The research and development laboratory I4Health is the University of Agder’s answer to future health and healthcare challenges. These will demand increased cooperation between healthcare providers, patients, next of kin, private companies, and researchers. With I4Health, they will all be gathered in one place.
250 guests were gathered when the new building was opened on Friday 30 August at Campus Grimstad.
“Technology and digitalisation are important means of providing innovation, new solutions, a better and simpler life. However, health and care is about people. Technology is just a means. To release the potential, we need to place the user at the centre and collaborate across sectors”, Minister of Digitalisation Nikolai Astrup said during the opening.
(Above: Video of the construction of I4Health. NB: No sound)
He said that I4Health has the very best preconditions for answering some of the great challenges facing our society today.
“I am certain that you will succeed. I look forward to following the work you’re doing, and to return here and learn from the experiences gained, for the benefit of Grimstad, of Agder and the whole country”, Astrup said.
“This project is one of a kind and will contribute to strengthening the visibility of both Grimstad and UiA as co-creation arenas”, Sunniva Whittaker, rector at the University of Agder, said during the opening.
She emphasised that I4Health will contribute to innovation, not only when it comes to the development of new health technologies, but also in new ways of interacting across disciplines and sectors.
The building itself is constructed by Ugland Eiendom. The building has 21 geothermal wells, which are 250 m deep, and solar panels on the roof covering 900 square metres. All in all, the building produces around 80 percent of its energy needs.
“In addition to being innovative in its function, it is also an environmentally sound project we can be proud of”, Whittaker said.
In her speech, she described what the four Is in I4Health stand for: idea, involvement, innovation and implementation.
“We have delivered on the first three Is. Now the most exciting work begins, and we look forward to the continuation”, she said.
Inger Holen is the director of I4Health AS. In her speech, she stressed that the company was established to strengthen cooperation with industry and business.
“This is a cooperation the new white paper on the health industry has pointed out as essential to strengthening Norwegian health industry. For the benefit of patients and users, for increased value creation in Norway and with ambitions to succeed in global markets”, Holen said.
Nina Mevold from the Hospital of Southern Norway stressed that I4Health offers a knowledge-based arena for developing health services.
“It gathers important actors from the health industry and various research institutions, from across the health sector, with both municipalities and hospitals, and not least across public and private sectors. These actors are already engaged in an extensive cooperation on eHealth and are motivated for even more and tighter cooperation”, she said.
Mayor of Grimstad Kjetil Glimsdal called the opening of I4Health ‘a great day’.
“Here in Agder we are in a unique position when it comes to cooperation on welfare technology and innovative solutions in the health sector. We are good at it and have been at the forefront – together. So today, I represent all the municipalities in Agder and both county municipalities. I4Health gives us great opportunity to continue leading the field”, he said.
Glimsdal went on to talk about how I4Health lays the groundwork for developing practical user-friendly solutions.
“Not only welfare technology, but also innovative solutions in health service organisation and structure. We need this if we are going to maintain the high quality of our health services in the future, with the great challenges lying ahead of us”, he said.
Tine Sundtoft, the new county executive in Agder, talked about letting people live their lives and take care of themselves as long as possible.
“Agder has committed to big goals for 2030. Agder will become an environmentally, socially and economically sustainable region. This building answers many of the challenges ahead of us. Agder has managed to crack the cooperation code. Together we can solve the enormous challenges facing Agder, Norway and the world”, Sundtoft said.
The I4Health building is decorated with works of art by two artists who were both present during the opening. Marius Martinussen has created ‘Index’ which consists of two paintings painted directly on a wall in an abstraction of geometry and light.
The other is Regien Cox who made ‘Begynnelsen – De kracht van de liefde’. Translated from Dutch it means ‘the power of love’. The piece, created on a garage door, is from the series ‘Pathways – stories of memories’.