Dr Kristin Alford is a Member of the National Enabling Technologies Strategy (NETS) Expert Forum. The Expert Forum’s objectives are to identify new and converging technologies to inform government policy and strategy, and to improve how science and technology are utilised by industry, government and society.
The Expert Forum’s program of work in 2011 included industry foresight workshops, the second of which focused on enabling assistive technologies for the aged care sector. This sector represents a major area of market opportunity due to growing demand for aged care health and support services and a reduced available pool of potential carers. Furthermore, the health care system has recognised the need to adapt to the treatment and management of increasingly common chronic diseases.
The Enabling Assistive Technologies Foresight Workshop was held in Brisbane on 6 June 2011 and co-facilitated by Kristin and Expert Forum Chair Prof Ron Johnston from the Australian Centre of Innovation. The event was held in partnership with the Council on the Ageing (COTA), the Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation (IHBI) at QUT, the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and Queensland Health. The aims of the workshop were to:
- Bring together researchers from universities and technology companies, aged care service providers, groups representing the interests of older Australians and government agencies involved in policies and funding programs affecting the health and lifestyle of older Australians;
- Develop a more effective interdisciplinary understanding of the range of factors affecting the aged care sector, and the potentially revolutionary role that enabling assistive technologies can play in this sector;
- Explore the challenges that need to be addressed to realise the opportunities for an ageing society; and to
- Develop a more active network among the key stakeholders across the sector in order to promote an interdisciplinary approach to relevant programs and policies.
The key question explored in the workshop was “how might the potential of bio and nano enabling technologies help older Australians live more independently in their own homes and neighbourhoods with better health care and social support.” To obtain a copy of this report, or the previous industry foresight workshop report for the Building Products Industry, contact the NETS Policy Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.