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SMART ALDRING 2020 – Corona Edition


‘SMART ALDRING’ / ‘SMART AGEING’ is an interactive, engaging public dialogue launched by the CHALLENGE platform, a six-year research project titled “Harnessing the Power of Big Data to Address the Societal Challenge of Ageing”. This summary is for the second ‘SMART ALDRING’ in 2020 and we plan to organize similar annual events until 2024.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, SMART ALDRING / SMART AGEING 2020 was unfortunately cancelled. To make the best of the situation and to continue engaging with the citizens, the CHALLENGE platform decided to hold a livechat in collaboration with on 3 June 2020 13:00 – 14:00.

In June, the first wave of coronavirus outbreak in Denmark have begun to show signs of slowing down with gradually declining new COVID-19 infections, hospitalisations, and deaths. Questions have arisen: How do we go back to normal? And is it normal as we know it, or will it be a new normal? By analysing data, scientists can get a valuable understanding of how we interact with each other within our households, between generations, and in the general public. This knowledge can guide us in how we can best get back to normal and hug again – even before we can get a vaccine or treatment against COVID-19.

In this livechat, the public audience asked questions to Rudi Westendorp, Professor of Medicine in Old Age and Laust Hvas Mortensen, Professor of Register-based Epidemiology from Section of Epidemiology, Department of Public Health, University of Copenhagen.

Outcome and Feedback

The livechat went smoothly with participants actively engaging in the discussions. Throughout the one hour livechat, 127 public participants tuned in and asked 40 questions that were answered directly by both Rudi and Laust. The day after the livechat, an article summarising the discussions was published and read on the same day by 400 people. Ten days after the livechat, the article was read by 1,501 people.


Even though the pandemic hindered our plans to organize a physical SMART ALDRING event, we adapted to the situation and improvised with a virtual livechat where we can still engage with the public audience. Depending on the progress of the pandemic, we may consider to hold a hybrid form of public event where the public can participate physically or online for 2021.