Enterprising students at the University of Aberdeen are tackling the challenge of dementia on Wednesday (December 18) in a special session organised by the Scottish Institute for Enterprise (SIE).
The two part workshop is designed to support the University’s flagship Science and Society course, which looks at how research can engage with society and policy makers and provide solutions to the problems Scotland faces.
Dementia is an increasing problem in Scotland and is recognised by the Scottish Government as a national priority. Over 85,000 people in Scotland currently suffer from the condition, with the numbers expected to double between 2011 and 2031.
The first part of SIE’s workshop introduced students to the issue of dementia and its impact on families and sufferers, and encouraged them to think about how the challenges might be addressed.
The second part, taking place today at the University of Aberdeen, invites the students back to pitch their solutions.
Dr Abbie McLaughlin, Senior Lecturer at the University of Aberdeen was pleased with how things went at the first session. She said: "It was fantastic to hear the buzz around the room as the students (studying for degrees in many different disciplines) generated entrepreneurial ideas to tackle the problems faced by families coping with dementia."
Feedback from the studentshas also been extremely positive, as one student said: “[It was] the most engaging and active workshop I have experienced here at University. We are the future, and from us should come brilliant ideas to make our society a better place. How to tackle problems faced by families who have an elder affected by Dementia, is not an impossible challenge.
"It is only matter of finding good tools like the ones provided to us by today's staff.”
Dawn Shand, SIE Regional Business Advisor who has helped facilitate both sessions, continued: “Students can provide fresh thinking on difficult challenges. Encouraging student engagement with real world issues, and how they might apply their skills and perspective can give us new solutions.
"We’re delighted to have been supporting Aberdeen’s excellent students as part of this programme, and hope that we have helped encourage them to go forward with what could be new solutions to our dementia challenge."