November 17, 2022

Opening ceremony of the Barcelona Aging coLLaboratory (BALL)

On November 17, the inauguration of the Barcelona Aging coLLaboratory (BALL), the first monographic Living Lab on aging, was celebrated. It took place at the Parc Sanitari Pere Virgili, the physical headquarters of BALL and its first project: a humanized robot that will help those people who cannot feed themselves.

The Living Lab has been promoted by ten renowned entities that represent the main areas of Catalan society: health (Parc Sanitari Pere Virgili and Vall d’Hebron Research Institute), robotics (Institute of Robotics and Industrial Informatics, CSIC-UPC) , university (Ramon Llull University, with the Blanquerna Faculty of Health Sciences and the Borja Institute of Bioethics, and Open University of Catalonia), social (iSocial Foundation), private company (Grupo Efebé, Qida and UniversalDoctor) and associations of people older people (Fatec – Federation of Associations of Older People of Catalonia).

The opening ceremony was held in the Geron room (Greek word meaning old person or elderly person). To begin with, it has had the participation of:

  • Dra. Gemma Craywinckel y Martí. Gerente, Parque Sanitario Pere Virgili.
  • Dª. Carmela Fortuny y Camarena. Vicepresidenta segunda, Diputació de Barcelona.
  • Dª. Pilar Solanes Salse. Directora Servicios, Dirección de Envejecimiento y Cuidados, Ayuntamiento de Barcelona.
  • Dra. Carmen Cabezas Peña. Secretaria de Salud Pública, Departamento de Salud, Generalidad de Cataluña.
  • SR. Oriol Amorós y March. Secretario general del Departamento de Derechos Sociales, Generalidad de Cataluña.

Presentation of the Barcelona Aging coLLaboratory

Next, Dr. Marco Inzitari, director of Integrated Care and Research at the Pere Virgili Health Park, Associate Professor at the UOC and head of the REFiT Bcn Research Group at the VHIR, was in charge of presenting the BALL.

Subsequently, a round table on the value of BALL was held by members of this innovation platform around aging:

  • SR. Josep Carné y Teixidó. Presidente, Federación de Asociaciones de Personas Mayores de Cataluña. 
  • Dª. Pilar Rodríguez y Benito. Vicepresidenta, Fundación iSocial. 
  • Dª. Laia Arnal y Arasa. Business Development Director, Vall d’Hebron Instituto de Investigación (VHIR). 

Some of the conclusions on which all the speakers have agreed is that, once the pandemic is over, it is necessary to regain focus on health promotion and include the social part in innovative projects. Older people are already 20% of our society, so their participation is essential by co-leading the initiatives, co-creating with the rest of the agents involved, to explore and experiment in real environments and evaluate and scale so as not to remain in the pilots and transform them. in products and services. This is the ambition of BALL.

Currently there are already projects underway: Admit, amida, +Agil, qcoa, ai-eat, Movimiento, HoOP. You can discover more information about each of them here.

Finally, the closing of the event was carried out by Magda Orozco, director of the services of the Department of Children, Youth and Seniors of Barcelona City Council.

The physical headquarters of the BALL: la Casa de pensar

This inaugural event concluded with an aperitif and a visit to the Casa de Pensar, a charming corner that, from now on, will be available to public administrations, entities and associations. Thus, it will be a space for brainstorming meetings with all actors related to aging (patients, professionals, research institutions, public administration, private companies, etc.) and challenges related to this area will be detected.Sessions will also be held in order to find innovative solutions to these challenges and participatory dynamics to develop them with the end user.

Image of the internal space La Casa de pensar, Parc Sanitari Pere Virgili, 2022