Focus on healthy society and new technology

Further integration of university and academic hospital Maastricht

Logo UM-MUMC
UM-MUMC

In the coming years, Maastricht University and MUMC+/azM will significantly strengthen, deepen and broaden their existing cooperation. A letter of intent signed today outlines how the two organisations plan to join forces in response to the growing issues in healthcare and other societal challenges. These problems require a strong approach employing the latest scientific insights and technological innovations and an even better connection between fundamental, academic insights and practice.

In the joint statement, both institutions speak of a new, ambitious and comprehensive approach from which Limburg province, the Euregion and the whole of the Netherlands can benefit. In the coming period, what is needed to realise this ambition will be explored. This includes a strong governance model, the drafting of a new strategic plan and any necessary organisational changes.

Watch the video in which Rianne Letschert and Helen Mertens explain the upcoming plans.
Read more about it below the video.

Added value

For 15 years, the academic hospital in Maastricht (azM) and the Faculty of Health, Medicine and Life Sciences (FHML) of Maastricht University (UM) have worked closely together under the name Maastricht UMC+. The emphasis has been on innovation to improve both care and health. The aim is now to further expand the existing cooperation in order to form an integrated university medical centre with FHML and azM; and in which UM's other faculties are also more closely involved.

Joining forces is necessary due to the scope and urgency of the challenges facing Limburg. Issues such as an ageing population, poor health and socioeconomic scores and increasing personnel shortages require a broad, long-term approach which draws on the knowledge of as many scientific disciplines as possible. The plan is to intensify the cooperation between UM and MUMC+/azM and extend it to all faculties of the university. This will increase the effectiveness, and thus the impact, for society and for the economic development of the region.

Healthy society and new technology

The new integrated approach focuses on two themes: healthy society and technology: responsible disruption. Within the healthy society theme, both organisations combine research, education and valorisation on topics such as prevention, healthy nutrition and virtual and data-driven care. The aim is to provide affordable and personalised care solutions and minimise the pressure on scarce human resources. Training for healthcare professionals will be broad and interdisciplinary, involving other UM faculties in areas such as the ethical, legal, economic and social aspects of healthcare.

This integrated approach will also be applied to the second theme, technology: responsible disruption. More benefit can be gained by further merging medical-related technology, engineering and data sciences. Examples are the so-called operating theatre of the future, mathematical models to replace animal testing in biomedical research, and wearables and implants for diagnostics and treatment – including for chronic diseases.

In close cooperation with MUMC+/azM, UM has made great strides in its technological and digital transformation in recent years. New technology-driven research institutes have been set up, with high-quality facilities and laboratories. With the further integration, this transformation will continue; the goal being to act as one party with one strategy and a matching investment agenda for leading education, research and valorisation.

Impact

Joining forces translates into improved health, better educational opportunities and higher employment in Limburg. Through a stronger link between new scientific knowledge and medical practice, students and researchers will have the opportunity to pursue broad and innovative education and conduct world-class, pioneering research. For patients, this will contribute to better and more accessible care that is efficient and effective.

Regional businesses will benefit from increased innovation and economic activity. Already now, Limburg distinguishes itself in this area with the Brightlands campuses, in which government, industry and knowledge institutions work closely together. Thanks to UM and MUMC+/azM further integrating, even more opportunities for cooperation will arise, both public and private. In short: a dynamic and powerful boost to the socioeconomic development of the province.

What’s next?

The Minister of Health, Welfare and Sport Education (VWS) and the Minister of Culture and Science (OCW) have been informed personally. They endorse the proposed exploration. Both supervisory boards of UM and MUMC+/azM have agreed to the course of action and will be kept informed about its progress. This includes creating a new governance model and strategic plan and any necessary organisational changes. Both institutions are currently putting together a joint team dedicated to the further development of the plans.

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