Publications:Bridging Scientific Cultures in a Regional Health Care Context

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Title Bridging Scientific Cultures in a Regional Health Care Context
Author Suzanne Almgren Mason and Agneta Hansson and Bertil Svensson and Emma Börjesson
Year 2010
PublicationType Conference Paper
HostPublication VIII Triple Helix International Conference on University, Industry and Government Linkages : BOOK OF ABSTRACTS
Conference Equality, Growth and Sustainability – Do they mix? 25-26 November 2010, Linköping University, Sweden
Diva url
Abstract Embedded Intelligent Systems (EIS) is the joint research field of the four collaborating laboratories at the School of Information Science, Computer and Electrical Engineering (IDE) at Halmstad University. The research of the four labs is integrated into a strong concerted research environment within embedded systems (EIS) - with a perspective reaching from the enabling technology via new system solutions and intelligent applications to end user aspects and business models. It is an expanding research area with many applications, not least ones that exist in everyday life.EIS is an important research environment contributing to the regional Triple Helix innovation system Healthcare Technology which the region has pointed out as a prioritised development sector. With its strong connections to both established and new, expanding firms hived off from the university, the research environment is active in the Healthcare Technology Alliance, a network of around sixty companies, counties and health care providers in south-western Sweden with the aim of developing the region into a leading arena for the development of health technology products and services. Several projects together with these participants concern both research and technology transfer.An integrated gender and gender equality perspective in innovations within the health technology area is necessary in order to be able to meet the needs of an ageing population with quality innovations. The relevancy of a gender perspective is clear in relation to the fact that about 70% of all those older than 75 years are women. Older women are on average cared for in hospital twice as long as men, partly due to differing disease panoramas, but also because men are more often cared for in the home by a woman while the women who live longer more often live alone. With the expansion of home-help and home nursing new needs follow and it is likely that a gender perspective will become necessary for the development of products and services that can make daily life easier for the elderly. The gender perspective also has relevance from the point of view of care staff. New technology is developed for application within the health and care sector where the larger professional groups consist mainly of women. The technology, most often designed by men, is used by women. With this in mind it is clear that an important aspect of good innovations is that the end users are involved in the innovation process.Based on an awareness of the need for a more articulated gender perspective within the research environment, in order to meet the needs expressed above, an application for a gender inclusive R&D project was handed in to the VINNOVA programme Applied Gender Research in Strong Research and Innovation Environments. The G-EIS project (Gender Perspective on Embedded Intelligent Systems - Application in Healthcare Technology) was approved and started in 2009. The project involves researchers from the EIS research environment as well as representatives from companies and the public sector.The project participants are on the whole agreed on the need for a gender perspective in the R&I environment, but struggle with the meeting of two epistemologically opposed theories of science. The understanding within gender studies that research and production both create reality and are informed by it is not always accepted within the areas of natural science. Engineering and other technological sciences not only consider aspects of science to be separate from reality, but also seek positivistic proof in research, something not always possible in the more qualitative research of the social sciences. Researching how these two perspectives meet within this specific project is the topic of this paper.