China and Denmark collaborate on solving the world’s great challenges

Chinese visitors experience the newest technology for rehabilitation and safe patient handling solutions first hand.

Chinese and Danish regions, municipalities, businesses, organisations and institutions met to strengthen and develop the collaboration on three of the world’s great current challenges: Green solutions, health- and elderly care, and agriculture and food. VIA participated in both workshops and site visits presenting the newest knowledge to the Chinese visitors.

Communication Officer Ditte Lund

For the first time ever in Denmark, representatives from Chinese and Danish regions, cities, businesses and institutions met at a summit in Aarhus 20-22 November with the aim of strengthening and developing the collaboration on green solutions, health- and elderly care, and agriculture and food. The conference is a great forum for sharing knowledge across borders and is of great value to both parties, as well as being a door opener to Danish businesses and institutions looking to establish themselves in China. The event had 270 participants and took place over 3 days at Aarhus City Hall, at workshops and site visits across the entire Central Region of Denmark.

Mutual learning
Minister for Environment and Food of Denmark Jacob Ellemann-Jensen was among the keynote speakers at the opening ceremony and said: “When a billion Chinese people jump at the same time, earth shakes. Therefore, it is of huge importance what China puts on the agenda for the areas of environment and food. So, this is a unique chance for Denmark, if we can influence local Chinese players to act more sustainably and if Danish solutions and products can play a role in the development in China”.

Despite of the difference in size, there is still a lot that Denmark and China can learn from each other. As Vice President of Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries Xie Yuan emphasized: “Health is a new challenge to China. We are the most populous country in the world and are now experiencing the consequences of industrialisation and modern lifestyle challenges. Denmark is a typical Nordic welfare state, at the forefront of development and innovation within healthcare, especially care for the elderly and within biotechnology”.

Leading experts on elderly care
VIA contributed to the forum with specialist knowledge within exactly healthcare as well as sustainability and resilient urban development, which Lotte Thøgersen, head of education and research at VIA Engineering gave a presentation on. In addition, VIA participated in workshops as well as site visits. At the opening ceremony, Vice President at VIA Peter Friese gave a speech about the importance of early childhood education. “Participating in the first Sister Cities and Regions meeting in Denmark gave VIA a brilliant opportunity to showcase some of the strong positions we have concerning green tech, elderly care and pre-school teaching. We already thought so, but to be honest: It gives our Danish self-confidence a wonderful boost to get the kind of positive reaction, the involved staff from VIA received from the Chinese guests”, he said.

Visitors impressed by the Danish method
One of the site visits were centered on health care in general and elderly care and dementia in particular – an area where VIA is at the forefront of development. Docent, ph.d. and head of research at VIA Rikke Gregersen presented visitors with the latest insights from dementia research including how patients, relatives and professionals can work together to develop better solutions. The trip also included a visit to the Dementia Center Liselund in Viborg to experience the Danish care methods first hand, which impressed the Chinese visitors very much. “The Chinese especially noticed the Danish approach to the patient or citizen. They often mention that our patient care or delivery of service to the citizen takes the individual person and their needs into account. This is one of the main differences between health- and patientcare in Denmark and China,” said Karen Søndergaard Kramp, responsible for business development in the healthcare area for VIA in China.

For VIA, participation in the forum has already resulted in several new contacts and possibilities for collaboration across China, especially in the health and elderly care areas.