Biomedical Clusters: an International Experience for Moscow’s Infrastructure
What is a healthy city, how many residents of the capital adhere to a healthy lifestyle, what are the opportunities for this in Moscow? These and other issues were discussed on August 27 in the press centre of TASS at the panel discussion ‘Infrastructure of a healthy city’, organised by the Foundation of the International Medical Cluster, Moscow Centre of urban studies ‘City’ and VCIOM. The event was attended by Evgeniy Kutsenko, head of the HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory.
Clusters Develop Silver Economy
The global trend of ageing population is becoming a clear challenge for Moscow and other Russian cities, noted Evgeniy Kutsenko. At the same time, it carries not only threats but also opportunities. The silver economy market — the production of all kinds of goods for the elderly, including high-tech related to personalised robotics, gadgets, sensors, applications — is estimated at 7 trillion U.S. dollars. Biomedical clusters can provide access to this market and search for solutions to such technological challenges. As an example, Evgeniy cited the European project Health2CARE, aimed at cancer diagnosis, obesity control, DNA testing, etc., as well as the Berlin cluster HealthCapital, which aims, amongst other things, on prevention and control of stress.
Focus on Cooperation and Involvement of Citizens
An important feature of the development of medical clusters is inter-sectoral cooperation: innovative projects are usually cross-sectoral. For example, the programme for the development of personalised health care in Flanders relies on health care and nanotechnology; and in Germany, a comfortable environment for older people is being developed with the help of a cluster that combines health care and construction.
Active involvement of citizens, current or potential patients in innovative processes, testing and development of innovations are another trend for medical clusters: ‘People see new developments, better understanding of their needs, participate in the creation of new products that improve the quality of life’. Even now, Copenhagen city clinics are testing innovations for light therapy (Lighting Metropolis project). In Paris, they are testing developments for visually impaired people to make it comfortable for them to move in urban environments, etc.
Sport and Healthy Lifestyle
Evgeniy spoke about the laboratory iSCAPE, which allows people to see the environmental situation at various sites, like trees, in a timely manner. This equipment is being tested in a number of European cities and can be used to form an appropriate infrastructure for Moscow. ‘The idea is that you immediately see the environmental situation around you on a particular street in a given time, and it motivates to change behavioural patterns and maintain a healthy lifestyle’.
Another example is in the field of sports innovation. In the American Silicon Valley, sport is becoming an increasingly important area for startups. In Eindhoven (Netherlands), there is a network of laboratories where startups can apply new developments that would motivate residents to run, swim, etc. There are football fields, which are being tested with LED-lighting and energy-saving panels, which are under the field itself. Moscow could also take steps in this direction taking into account its infrastructure and work with its residents.
Urban health infrastructure needs to be multifaceted. It should include not only the promotion of a healthy lifestyle. It should also have a business component such as the introduction of innovations, a possibility of testing new developments, and development of urban brands.
Head of the HSE ISSEK Russian Cluster Observatory
Watch the video of the event (comment by Evgeniy Kutsenko from 1:30:50)
Photo courtesy of the Foundation for International Medical Cluster