This project develops knowledge and technologies that enable older adults of all ages - and specifically including adults who cannot leave their home or that have reduced cognitive abilities - to learn, grow, interact, and contribute to society. 

In other words, we aim at enabling adults to be contributors to societal wellbeing. We generically refer to this group of abilities as life participation abilities, and we focus on these aspects because studies tell us that the ability of interacting and feeling useful and helpful to others is essential to a person’s wellbeing, as much as or even more so than health. In fact, participation is linked in a two-way causal relationship with emotional, mental, and physical wellbeing, creating a virtuous cycle.  Our target population is retired individuals. Because of the long span of retirement, this target group is not only very broad, but also very diverse: to all differences that we see among younger individuals, older adults - especially as we age - are characterized, among others, by very different cognitive abilities, very different physical abilities, and also very different economic possibilities. 

The DREAM consortium is comprised by parters with experience in different but complementary areas:

  • UNITN (Coordinator). The University of Trento (UNITN) has recently been ranked by the Ministry of Education at the top of all Italian universities in its category (medium-sized universities) based on research productivity  and quality of education. The Department of Information Engineering and Computer Science  (DISI), born in 2002, represents a world-class aggregation of researchers and institutions. DISI has one of the  largest and more international PhD school in Europe. 
  • PJAIT,  The Polish-Japanese Academy of Information Technology established in 1994 is one of the best nonpublic  schools (2nd place in the 2013 ranking) in Poland that offers education in IT and New Media Art.  PJATK is authorised to offer doctoral and post-doctoral (habilitation) degrees in Informatics; it is the only technical non-pubic school with research category A (top priority for research funding).
  • EOC (Ente Ospedaliero Cantonale) is a public hospital that provides health care services in several medical specialities, employing modern infrastructures and state of the art technologies. The mission of EOC is to guarantee base medical assistance to the citizens of Mendrisio, Switzerland as well as other medical services and specialities at the regional level. 
  • MNUMS. The Mongolian National University of Medical Sciences (MNUMS) is one of the leading state universities in Mongolia. The university aims at becoming one of top 100 universities in the  Western Pacific region of Asia in the next few years. The Department of Behavioral Sciences and Community Health from the School of Public Health is the responsible for managing the curriculum of Health Social Work. 
  • UCR, The University of Costa Rica (UCR) is a public university located in San Jose, Costa Rica. It is the most prestigious institution of higher education of Costa Rica and it is ranked among the top universities in Central America. The Institute of Health Research (UCR) was created in 1974 with the objective of carrying out research in the area of human health. It is a multi-disciplinary unit actively involved in national and international research projects that go from molecular biology, to epidemiology and human aging process.
  • UCA, The UC is the second older and most relevant University in Paraguay. Over the last years, UC has participated in several international projects devoted to research, mobility and academic cooperation. Since 2006, UC has a fluent cooperation with University of Trento in different research projects, in a joint double degree ICT Doctoral Programme, and in student mobility (undergraduate and postgraduate level).
  • UP, The University of the Philippines (UP) is ranked as the country’s premier academic center. Its campus in Manila is the country’s leading institution for health research and development. The Institute on Aging is involved in the development and management of various research, training and clinical programs within the University system, including the Philippine General Hospital Outpatient Multidisciplinary Geriatric Clinic. It has generated research work and publications related to Geriatrics and Gerontology.
  • UNSW is one of Australia’s leading research and teaching universities and focuses on excellence in research and knowledge transfer. It is one of the largest in UNSW and Australia. Its outstanding research record has put it at the forefront of computing research in Australia and internationally, as evidenced by outstanding ERA and international ranking. The school has strong links with industry and is a founding partner and significant contributor to various national and international projects.

The project is built upon three main dimensions: mobility, training and research.


Mobility

A fundamental dimension of the project is that of knowledge sharing and training through mobility.  The project knowledge sharing activities are organized in 6 phases that reflect not only the “sharing” but also our  research and innovation approach. In each phase the knowledge sharing happens mainly through collaboration, by  working in interdisciplinary teams on interdisciplinary tasks. Collaboration is complemented with courses that aim at providing early stage researchers the tools to contribute to the research and the innovation activities.

The secondments are oriented mainly to the development of the students that join the project, and in involving them in the research activities of the project.
 



Training

In this project we set the ambitious goal rethinking late life, pushing the IT research agenda in a direction that can benefit those who have less opportunities to participate to life. In doing so, we also took the bold commitment of training a new generation of researchers and practitioners in IT for flourishing: a curriculum involving the development of multi-disciplinary expertise in areas of human-subjects research, inclusive design, data science, and software engineering. The objective of the training path was to develop a profile that would allow students to pursue R&D projects aiming at designing, developing and evaluating technology to enable social participation and contributions by older adults.

 



The training was structured along several dimensions, which included
  • Training through courses and lab activities 
  • Training in research, by performing a systematic review of the state of the art in an area of interest for the project, analyzing a research problem, and mentoring students 
  • Training in scientific dissemination, by attending and giving seminars and by training in how to write scientific papers and give talks
  • Training in performing user studies, which includes collaborating in defining and performing such studies and training in ethics of science, writing study protocols and preparing for ethical approvals. 


Research




At the center of the research activities was the need of running user studies involving human subjects. Three main types of studies were carried out:
  • Happiness studies: Multi-site survey investigating flourishing in later life. 
  • Needfinding studies: Observational studies, workshops and interviews performed at the study locations. Results from these studies informed the concept development phase. 
  • Concept development and acceptance: Concept development and validation studies were performed to incorporate user feedback in the design. 
To this end we performed different types of user studies, such as observational studies, interviews, workshops and online experiments. 



Interested in our results?