Medical University of Lodz (MUL) https://en.umed.pl is one of the leading universities in Poland which provides high-standard education and scientific research in medical and health sciences. MUL makes substantial contribution to the development of the health care system. It is efficiently managed University the foundations of which rely on people: talented students, excellent teachers, researchers with passion and competent managers.
MUL combines research excellence with clinical expertise:
- Three faculties (Faculty of Medicine with Dentistry, Faculty of Pharmacy, and Faculty of Health Sciences with Nursing and Obstetrics)
- Three Teaching Hospitals with over 1,800 test beds (over 2,900 clinicians and over 113, 000 patients annually)
- Centre for Support of Clinical Research,
- State-of-the-art laboratories: BRaIn (Research Development Innovations in Biomedicine and Pharmacy Campus in Lodz) and MolecoLab (Lodz Center for Molecular Research of Civilization Diseases), Medical Simulations Centre
- Current participation in 6 H2020 projects (including IMI)
MUL was ranked 9 in the top 10 in Perspektywy University Ranking – the most valued ranking of Polish state and private universities. University appeared to be the leader in academic effectiveness (the number and quality of publications, citations, the number of awarded and obtained scientific degrees and titles as well as the effectiveness of obtaining external funding for scientific research)
The Medical University of Lodz also holds leading positions among Polish universities in international rankings (THE WUR 2023, GRAS 2022, Reasearch.com)
MUL in numbers:
- 11 000 students, including over 800 English-speaking students.
- 1 650 scientific staff (over 1000 female researchers),
- over 170 full professors (70F), over 200 associate professors (115F), about 800 PhDs (500F), and around 500 with a master’s degree, PhD degree or equivalent.
MUL is an active RS of EIP on AHA from 2016. The number of inhibatants is 2,4 millions of people (2019). The Lodz region is characterised by: the lowest self-esteem of the health condition of the inhabitants, inequalities in access to health services, the lowest life expectancy rates with the highest mortality rates, and poor health indicators. Due to this factors, the Lodzkie Region has implemented the Regional Operational Programme (ROP) “European Funds for Lodzkie 2021-2027”. Under the Priority, RS04.5 and ES04.4 support will cover activities related to the availability and development of services for the elderly, including long-term and palliative health care.
A strategically planned process of deinstitutionalization assumes the development of care and support provided in non-institutional conditions, in the local environment, and possibly at the patient’s home. Interventions related to preventive health care, rehabilitation, medical care and elimination of health risk factors in the workplace will contribute to the extension of the professional activity of seniors, which will strengthen their sense of dignity and subjectivity.
The ageing population’s needs received particular attention in a strategic document: “The Development Strategy of Medical University in Lodz for 2021-2025” https://en.umed.pl/about-mul/strategy/. The overall objective is to develop the MULs’ visibility and impact globally on healthy ageing. One of the three Strategic Areas, the Strategic Area on Collaboration for the Development of Health System, with its Strategic and Operational Goals, aims at broadly-understood integration with European, national, regional and local actors and stakeholders. Through RS, we strengthened the existing and established new partnerships at the EU level to work together to develop and implement innovative solutions for AHA.
MUL constantly collaborates with local government providers, industry partners, civil society organisations and international companies all over the world. RS partners closely collaborate with the Lodz academic environment including the University of Lodz, Technical University of Lodz, Strzeminski Academy of Art, Polish Mother’s Memorial Hospital-Research Institute in several projects and initiatives
The MULs outstanding ecological initiative ECOUMED (https://eco.umed.pl/en/) involves all Quadraple Helix partners:
Technological facilities and green areas serve to organise activities devoted to health education, prevention of chronic diseases, and monitoring of the health condition of the Region’s inhabitants.
In 2020 MUL signed a cooperation agreement with Lukasiewicz Research Network (https://lukasiewicz.gov.pl/en/), which is the third-largest research network in Europe, with 36 research institutes located all over Poland, focusing on health, smart mobility, digital transformation, and sustainable economy and energy. In practice, these partnerships open the door to adopting good practices while creating innovative solutions.
MUL has an exceptional tradition of collaborating internationally within the EU R&D programmes. Please see our core partner status in EIT Health https://en.umed.pl/eit-health/ and the unique Healthy Aging Research Centre (https: //harc.umed.pl) goals, as well as numerous national and regional projects, funded from, e.g., European Structural and Regional Fund.
At the moment MUL is participating in several international projects financed by Horizon 2020, including EiT Health and EIT HEI INITIATIVE, Erasmus+, Cost, Third Health Programme, AAL Programme.
HORIZON 2020 projects:
SMART LIVING HOMES – WHOLE INTERVENTIONS DEMONSTRATOR FOR PEOPLE AT HEALTH AND SOCIAL RISKS-Gatekeeper (Horizon 2020, 2019-2023) prevents non-compliance with drugs by an ageing population with asymptomatic chronic diseases. The Lodz Region cares for patients by conducting regular treatment of asymptomatic conditions. https://www.gatekeeper-project.eu/
Identification of the Molecular Mechanisms of non-response to Treatments, Relapses and Remission in Autoimmune, Inflammatory, and Allergic Conditions (3TR)– The identification of the molecular mechanisms that influence a patient’s response to medical treatment is a key issue among health practitioners. A study promoted by 3TR, a consortium of university institutions, SMEs and pharmaceutical companies, will address this issue. This project will apply bioinformatics and control methods to collect and analyse data from blood, tissues and other fluids during the treatment process. It will create a centralised data platform for better management and implement an inclusive molecular and clinical picture of patients experiencing similar diseases. The project intends to explain the role that our microbiome, genetics and regulatory genomics play during treatment.
TO_AITION (Horizon 2020, 2020-2024) will effectuate preclinical and clinical research by applying data-driven strategies to detect and describe immune-metabolic mechanisms responsible for CVD-depression comorbidity, aiming to improve the diagnosis and management of the disease.
European Research and Preparedness Network for Pandemics and Emerging Infectious Diseases EU-RESPONSE COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated the necessity of improving the global clinical trial capacity based on the cooperation between the EU and international partners. DisCoVeRy (WP1), designed as a multi-arm adaptive repurposing trial, can be expanded to several European countries with adequate multinational financing and trial management capacity. The EU-RESPONSE project will establish a multinational, adaptive European COVID-19 and emerging infectious diseases trial network, taking advantage of the existing initiatives, allowing the European expansion of DisCoVeRy (WP1) and the creation of a COVID-19 adaptive platform trial (WP2). The project will produce solid evidence for drug repurposing or registration, permitting most European hospitals to participate at their preferred level of commitment in establishing a network of investigation sites within the EU and associated countries.
Leveraging AI based technology to transform the future of health care delivery in Leading Hospitals in Europe (ODIN)– Hospitals across Europe have been struggling to cope under the enormous pressure caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. One of the biggest challenges has been increasing the capacity of intensive care units. In this context, the EU-funded ODIN project has identified 11 hospital care challenges that can be addressed by combining robotics, IoT and AI. For instance, autonomous and collaborative robots can reduce the workload on overstretched hospital staff. The robots can provide a range of assistance services – from clinical to logistic. The project’s overall goal is to pave the way for data-driven procedures and management in healthcare.
Alliance for Life Sciences: From Strategies to Actions in Central and Eastern Europe (A4L_ACTIONS)– Research and innovation are key to addressing Europe’s societal challenges, including the health and well-being of its citizens. In spite of investments, countries are still characterised by differences in research and innovation. In some sectors, such as health, these differences can have an impact on the quality of life of European men and women. Building on the successes of the Alliance4Life project, the A4L-ACTIONS project team aims to address the research and innovation gap by developing the culture, governance, recognition and innovation capacity of health research institutions in underperforming CEE countries. Such measures will increase their attractiveness and pave the way for cooperation with European countries.
National Research Center projects:
Improving rational prescribing for UTI in frail elderly (ImpresU)– Antibiotics are among the most widely prescribed drugs in long-term care facilities, including UTI cases, which highlights the importance of antibiotic stewardship (ABS). The project compares the experience in the field of the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, and Sweden. In these countries a large variety of initiatives to develop and implement ABS (e.g. in Nursing Homes) have been introduced in recent years. Among these initiatives are national antibiotic prescribing surveillance systems, specific prescribing guidelines and national networks of healthcare institutions that exchange information and develop ABS policy. Several initiatives evolved as a result of political prioritization of antibiotic resistance. Experiences of the 4 countries with the different initiatives may inspire other countries that aim to develop or improve ABS.
EiT HEALTH projects:
Epidemiology of Ageing and Dementia Prevention (Ageing@EITHealth)– The EIT Health Ageing PhD School is a pan-European collaboration of academic and non-academic partners working to train a new generation of PhD specialists in ageing science, neuroscience, gerontology and epidemiology – while also equipping learners with the innovation and entrepreneurship skills they can use to develop and market new healthcare solutions. The consortium includes accredited PhD programmes at 12 European universities with internationally recognised scientific competence in research areas and proven competence in offering high-quality PhD training. The programme also incorporates courses in innovation and entrepreneurship and exposure to the EIT Health network.
From Scientists to Innovators for Industry (SCI-FI)– Transitioning from academic research to working in the pharma and medtech industries can be challenging. This course helps you overcome that challenge with the guidance of academic and industry partners, so that you can learn from real-life cases and have the opportunity to work with experienced mentors.
Soft bone cement for better treatment of osteoporotic fractures (SOFTBONE)– The Soft-bone project aims to evaluate the performance of a special bone cement which, when set, is less hard than classically used preparations. Cement is injected into the broken vertebral body. In the case of fractures in osteoporosis, we are dealing with less strong bone tissue. In such cases it happens that the classically cemented shaft is hard and poses a risk of fractures in the adjacent vertebrae weakened by osteoporosis. Soft-bone cement is softer and thus “friendlier”, it is supposed to eliminate this phenomenon. The potential results of this project will be important for clinical practice.
Innovation Days (i-Days) – i-Days promote health innovation among university students through dozens of one-day and two-day programmes held in academic institutions around Europe. Students from all academic areas receive an introduction to practical health innovation tools and compete in teams to tackle real-life health challenges posed by EIT Health, local organisations, private corporations or start-ups. The winning team of each i-Day will attend the Winners’ Event, a final competition that unites students from around Europe.
Silver Starters – a personal learning program for people from different regions of Poland. People aged 50+ learn the basics to turn their idea into their own business in eight modules of online learning and personal coaching by experts. The three last editions developed a good practice is using mentoring as a support in creating business ideas by older citizens.
Smart Aging Camp – a program for introducing products or services dedicated to seniors to the market to meet the European goal of intelligent ageing. (https://www.eithealth.eu/smart-ageing-bootcamp).
The Smart-Up Lab– acceleration program is the culmination of international experience with original ideas for acceleration. It combines the best practices in creating teams, creating innovations, prototyping, demonstrating and introducing to the market. Since 2016, there have been seven editions of the project, with more than 150 participants engaged. Fifty-four new innovative solutions were created, from which 13 spin-off companies and 16 spin-out companies. In the current 7th edition of the project, 30 participants from 9 provinces create five more innovative solutions that will soon enter the commercialisation phase. International teams engaged in that project have already created new jobs in medical innovation. https://www.eithealth.eu/smart-up-lab
EIT HEALTH INITIATIVE project:
NETWORK IQ ALLIANCE– The project consortium is committed to mainstream network intelligence (nIQ), a system change methodology to develop ecosystem-level digital competencies for innovation and networking. The goal is to empower enterprising, goal-oriented people to empower growth opportunities with the networks they create to innovate better, faster, and have long-term resilience.
Third Health Programme projects:
Evidence-Based Guidance to Scale-up Integrated Care in Europe
VIGOUR (2019-2022) effectively supports care authorities in progressing the transformation of their health and care systems to provide sustainable models for integrated care, facilitating the identification of good practice and scaling-up. This will be achieved through the delivery of an evidence based integrated care support programme. The programme is designed to understand and guide 15 care system authorities through a staged process of analysis, advice on good practice and training in care system capacity and capability building and implementation approaches at the operational, organisational and strategic levels of stakeholders involved in different localities throughout Europe. In practice, care authorities will be supported in focussing their care integration ambitions and in operationally preparing the implementation of good practice suitably aligned to any prevailing local circumstances. Finally, they will be supported in rolling out these practices to at least one per cent of their overall target population in the framework of local scaling-up projects as an integral part of project plans. Throughout this process, knowledge exchange and mutual learning will be enhanced by a twinning scheme bringing together VIGOUR “pioneer” care authorities with “followers”. (https://www.vigour-integratedcare.eu/ ).
Health Alliance for Prudent Prescription and Yield of Antibiotics in a Patient-centered Perspective (HAPPY PATIENT) expects to reduce the inappropriate prescription of antibiotics by 40%. Its key outputs will be both scalable and capable of implementation throughout the diverse health systems in the EU. It aims to reduce the inappropriate use and dispensing of antibiotics in the most common community-acquired infections (i.e., respiratory tract infections, urinary tract infections, dental infections) with a multifaceted intervention in health care facilities as suggested in point 4.2 of the EU guidelines for the prudent use of antimicrobials in human health. Activities of HAPPY PATIENT will target patients, primary care professionals (general practitioners, nurses, and dentists), secondary care (out-of-hours services), nursing homes and community pharmacists.
Erasmus+ KA2 projects:
Development of a training program for improving QoL of seniors living in loneliness (Healthy Loneliness) – Unwanted loneliness has increased all across Europe, especially in the elderly, hindering their health and well-being. Through different co-creation initiatives and considering their needs, our project addresses elderly loneliness. This project will provide elderly and other actors with tools to tackle with their loneliness, increase self-esteem, and understand that living alone does not mean living in loneliness. It will co-create, develop and validate high quality adapted learning program tailored to the needs of low-skilled or low-qualified seniors living in a situation of loneliness with the aim of acquiring skills and competences to minimize the negative effects in both mental and physical health. https://healthy-loneliness.eu/
Education and commitment as a strategy to fight against doping (ECASFAD)-The project aims to gather knowledge about current anti-doping activities and to create a public education program, an educational platform for various people interested in the fight against doping – students, athletes, trainers, coaches, physiotherapists, doctors. This is an international program coordinated by the center in Spain. The project is already after the first stage – a handbook has been made defining the current state of available sources of knowledge on anti-doping activities. https://projekty.umed.pl/miedzynarodowe/education-and-commitent-as-a-strategy-to-fight-against-doping/
Assessment in Healthcare EducAtion goes Digital (AHEAD)– AHEAD will combine general aspects of digital assessment with an essential healthcare topic. Five Intellectual Outputs (IO’s) will be produced: 1. Co-creation workshops: in this IO we are involving participants from each partner institution in co-creation workshops (48 participants) to develop insights into teachers’ and learners’ digital competency needs. Cocreation workshops will be substantiated with online surveys. An evaluation concept will be designed based on cocreationfeedback and involvement of stakeholders. The data gathered will form the basis for the remaining IOs, particularly IO2. 2. A competency framework for teachers and learners: in health care education in the field of digital assessment will be developed, related to DigCompEdu (Redecker 2017) and to DigCom 2.1 (Carretero et al. 2017). The competency framework will describe teachers` and learners` knowledge, skills and competencies for assessments on different levels. 3. Micro-learning units: This IO will involve the development, piloting, and evaluation with teachers and learners of micro-learning units at all project participating organisations. The aim of this IO is to improve competencies of teachers and learners in the use of digital assessments and in the integration of these assessments in their own teaching and learning practice. 4. Digital peer assessment toolkit: In this output, project partners will develop a digital rubric and peer assessment where groups of students can provide peer feedback on one video-recorded skill (12-16 participants). Students will be empowered to become involved in assessment and to impact on the grade awarded to learners for a healthcare related skill. 5. A video-based assessment using Artificial Intelligence and including an open source digital badge as evidence of achievement will be developed and tested within this project. Tools will be tested on at least 25 participants. Overall project activities include transnational meetings, open source online resources, publications in peer reviewed healthcare journals and dissemination at local, national and international teaching and learning and research conferences. https://www.dcu.ie/ahead
AAL PROGRAMME projects:
Bringing the beneficial cognitive, social and physical effects of immersive training to the high-functioning senior home-user ( CoSoPhy FX)– This project is developing an online service to provide scientifically validated virtual reality activities for high-‐functioning seniors and prolong their functional independence. It addresses multiple issues for numerous stakeholders; most importantly: a) the lack of engaging exercise programs featuring proven, well-documented beneficial effects, that seniors can participate in, on their own, at home; b) the remote monitoring of seniors’ cognitive and physical abilities by their family and doctors; c) optimising resources and revenue in rehabilitation clinics and senior care homes.
European Network to Advance Best practices & technoLogy on medication adherence (ENABLE)- Due to an ageing society, there is a steady increase in chronic diseases and multi-morbidity in Europe. This rise of chronic diseases and multi-morbidity requires a multidisciplinary response, which often involves lifestyle changes combined with lifetime medication use. Medication non-adherence affects however up to half of the chronic medication users, poses considerable challenges in managing chronic diseases, and is associated with almost 200,000 deaths and €80-125 billion of potentially preventable direct and indirect costs in Europe. Technological advances (e.g. smart pillboxes, digital inhalers, tracking devices, e-injection pens, e-Health, big data), have significant potential to support healthcare professionals and empower patients in detecting and managing non-adherence.
One of the achievements in digital transformation using Big Data and machine learning is the creation of BRaIn - a campus of biomedicine and bio pharmacy, and personalised medicine. The conditions created within the framework of the project favour all stakeholders of the QH (http://brain.umed.pl/)
Another unique project worth mentioning is MoLecoLab – The Lodz Center for Molecular Research of Civilization Diseases. The project involves the construction of a modern research and development facility, an interdisciplinary undertaking, bringing together highly specialised scientific potential and the external environment, including representatives of non-science and research units and representatives of the social and business environment. This infrastructure responds to the most critical social problems and the need for innovation in the therapy and diagnostics of civilisation diseases in our Region, such as cardiovascular diseases, cancer, metabolic and immune disorders, and neurodegenerative diseases. https://umed.pl/inwestycja/molecolab-lodzkie-centrum-badan-molekularnych-chorob-cywilizacyjnych/
Areas of Good Practice
The last two years of development and implementation of innovation-focused mainly on adaptation to unexpected Covid-19 outbreaks. These years have shown that it is impossible to underestimate human contact and the social aspect of introducing innovations. Crucial lessons learned are listed below:
- A person-centred approach in designing tailor-made interventions that will meet the specific needs of the target group/s is needed.
- Target group/s should be engaged in designing and developing innovative solutions through pre-workshops and co-creation sessions.
- Most health events /workshops/interventions should have a creative form, not passive (for instance, creative workshops, not just a lecture). Such activities generate friendship and social interactions among participants, enabling the active sharing of knowledge and learning.
- Evaluating interventions to measure the impact on participants’ health and well-being is mandatory at different stages of implementing innovation.
- Innovative approaches should have an iterative and scalable methodology.
- For the successful adaptation of innovation, it is essential to create alliances with community stakeholders and other community initiatives/projects to boost synergy. For instance: based on the outcomes of the CitizenAct project (2019-2020, https://eithealth.eu/news-article/towards-citizen-centred-active-ageing-and-well-being-phase-2/ ) which focused on the education of seniors in the field of smartphone use, an application for innovative VIGOUR project has been designed (2020-2023, https://www.vigour-integratedcare.eu/)
- Each entity implementing innovations should have well-skilled human resources devoted to organization and coordination of interventions, assistance (especially for seniors) and control of the quality of activities.
- In case of any unexpected pandemic outbreak in the future, coordinators of innovative projects should be flexible enough to execute all project plans virtually.
- The experiences gained during the pandemic encourage building more connected health and care systems enabling collaboration across care settings and disciplines. For instance, the VIGOUR project has detected three significant requirements to drive innovation in integrated care under emergencies within health and care systems. First, the VIGOUR recognized the increased need for innovative technology concerning COVID-19. Second, VIGOUR pilot sites detected the requirement for quarantine related innovation during the pandemic. Cross-service guidelines for home isolation must manage social isolation and quarantine through cross-service procedures for home isolation by fostering at-home physical activity during quarantine and keeping remote contact with lifestyle coaches. Third, healthcare entities and hospitals should develop dedicated integrated care processes and clinical pathways for patients with Covid-19 and suspected cases.
MUL regularly shares all lessons learned with RS partners.
The partners wish to maintain the sustainability of RS through dedicated activities of the network with the particular engagement of external organisations. As an experienced member of the reference network, from 2016, RS will continue to communicate effectively with QH stakeholders and expand the catalogue of good practices.
- RS partners will escalate networking. RS will create a platform, merging local and international collaborations to foster healthy ageing activities and innovations. Partners will expand the existing reference site by engaging several foreign and national partners whose activities complement ours. After receiving the 4th-star award, to boost RS’s visibility, the partners will organise an international conference with regional authorities.
- RS will consistently apply for external funding to implement joint ventures and innovations focused on active ageing financed by local (civic budget), national (Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education) and international programs (Horizon Europe, Erasmus+, AAL and others).
RS partners also plan to:
- Actively co-organise and participate in Expo2029. The City of Lodz Office, together with the Marshall Office and MUL, will manage the horticultural Expo 2029, where experts will raise specific topics related to the nature of living and the health of inhabitants of the Region.
- Extend the local and international cooperation in the area of AHA, which will enable scaling up good practices to other regions and countries. This year, MUL will sign additional local partnership agreements with the Regional Centre for Social Policy and the commune of Aleksandrow Lodzki and Brojce.
- Expand the thematic areas of educational activities for citizens conducted in the Region, and beyond. The experts will pay special attention to physical activity in healthy ageing, prevention of non-communicable diseases, polypharmacy, home care for chronically sick and disabled people, and climate changes.
- Develop activities to promote healthy living and ageing with the support of the Living Lab methodology and available acceleration programs. In 2022 Healthy and Active Ageing Bootcamp will start (https://eithealth.eu/programmes/healthy-active-ageing-bootcamp/) It aims to bring together health entrepreneurs who want to grow their businesses in longevity and active ageing. They will validate their products with older people in Poland.
- Expand the network developed within the I-Care-Smart project. RS partners plan to engage new partners for joint activities based on the adopted I-Care-Smart-Network Development Strategy.
- Establish a Coordinated Healthcare Centre. At the end of 2022, MUL, together with the University Hospital and the Ministry of Health, will establish a Centre offering telemedicine services and coordinated care to the elderly. Beyond monitoring and stabilising patients’ health, the Centre will educate and activate inhabitants of the Lodzkie Region.