Demographic ageing in the Western world means that the average age of the working population is increasing. This has major consequences for the labour process. Growing older is linked to physical and cognitive changes which can influence the performance of tasks. It’s no coincidence that the European Union has designated demographic change as one of its central themes, and European policy until 2020 will focus on this theme. We are faced with an important challenge: to keep an ageing population healthy and deployable in the long term.
An important aim of SPRINT@Work is to contribute to this ambition by bringing together the available knowledge in the field of sustainable employability in the northern Netherlands. A number of knowledge institutions (UMCG, University of Groningen, Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen, NHL) are being combined with a cluster of companies in the fields of biomedical, care and fitness technology, multimedia applications, gaming, sensor technology and monitoring/telemonitoring. This combination will open up a whole new world of possibilities to develop innovative technologies, and above all to apply these technologies in order to monitor and maintain employee employability and to realize suitable work environments for older employees. To this end, employers in the northern Netherlands are collaborating within SPRINT@Work to test innovative products and technologies in actual practice and to adapt them to specific circumstances where necessary.
SPRINT@Work aims to contribute to the realization of a sustainably deployable working population in the northern Netherlands. This ambition has been translated into the following goals:
- To develop monitoring products: innovative products in the fields of sensor technology and monitoring/telemonitoring that can make cognitive and physical performance objectively measurable, and that contribute to the employee’s awareness of his/her own behaviour and employability.
- To develop intervention products: new interventions to maintain employees’ physical and cognitive functioning and support them in developing compensatory mechanisms to reduce and even prevent imbalance between workload and work capacity due to ageing.
- To test monitoring and intervention products in controlled as well as practical situations, and to set up the necessary telemonitoring systems to this end. Users will be an important factor when testing products in practical situations.
- To support the valorization of products and services.
Eight main activities (MA) have been defined based on these aims:
MA1: Make an inventory of end user needs and wishes
MA2: Develop instruments to determine cognitive functioning and identify bottlenecks
MA3: Develop instruments to determine physical functioning and identify bottlenecks
MA4: Interventions to prevent or remedy cognitive decline
MA5: Interventions to prevent or remedy physical decline
MA6: Data processing & Telemonitoring
MA7: Pilot projects and field experiments