Assistive Technologies and European Innovation

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NUIG in collaboration with ISC will organise a webinar entitled “Assistive Technologies and European Innovation”.

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NUIG in collaboration with ISC will organise a webinar entitled “Assistive Technologies and European Innovation” which take place on 31 January 2021. The webinar will bring together leaders in the field to explore how assistive technologies can contribute to the implementation of horizon Europe, in particular with respect to contributing to mainstream research and development. The meeting will also explore how to make horizon Europe more inclusive, by facilitating and enabling the participation of the researchers and other stakeholders.One billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability, and disability prevalence is higher for developing countries. One-fifth of the estimated global total, or between 110 million and 190 million people, experience significant disabilities1. Persons with disabilities are more likely to experience adverse socioeconomic outcomes such as less education, poorer health outcomes, lower levels of employment, and higher poverty rates.

The European Commission’s European Disability Strategy 2010-2020 has identified social exclusion as one of the grand challenges that individuals with disabilities in Europe are facing 3. People with disability are the most disadvantaged and social excluded in society4. Social Inclusion is an important element of well-being for people with disability and a key component of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities3. Research has highlighted that social inclusion is facilitated through access to education and employment.

Assistive Technology (AT) are products, equipment, and systems that enhance learning, working and daily living for persons with disabilities2. During the past decade, research has demonstrated that AT are powerful tools to increase the inclusion of people with disability in all aspects of community life and society. Despite this, in 2016, the WHO stated that only 10% of people in need of AT have access to them. Globally, more than 1 billion people with disability need 1 or more assistive products. With an ageing global population more than 2 billion people will need at least 1 assistive product by 2030, with many older people needing 2 or more.

Although AT provision varies across countries, the intent to support people with disabilities should be a global priority. These goals are consistent with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) especially the following

- Goal 1 No Poverty; - Goal 2 Good Health and Well Being; - Goal 4 Quality Education;- Goal 10 Reduced Inequalities.

The UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development commits to “leaving no-one behind” starting with the “most vulnerable”. The rapid pace of technological change leaves behind the most vulnerable in society especially those with disability. The WHO recommends that the intent to support people with disabilities should be a global priority with a focus on removing barriers and providing facilitators such as technology.

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