Programme Overview

Leveraging innovative technologies for ageing well: a transdisciplinary training

This summer school is organized by the Quality of Life (QoL) technologies. It is part of the AGE-INT initiative (https://age-int.ch/), which aims to build Switzerland's international expertise around innovative solutions for an ageing society.

 

Background:

We live in an ageing world that is undergoing remarkable changes. Every global region is experiencing an increase in longevity, which naturally brings more physiological limitations and threats to maintaining an adequate quality of life. This phenomenon creates new demands for assistive innovations that cover different health-related quality of life (HRQoL) domains and can support individuals to live longer in good health [1, 2]. In this context, HRQoL innovations intend to use assistive technologies to maintain the ageing population’s good health and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), delay care dependency, and even prevent non-communicable diseases [3, 4, 5]. Technological advance is an important factor in this ecosystem since it is continuously creating new opportunities to apply emerging resources that attend to the needs and desires of older adults, integrating them into the social and physical environments in which we age. Therefore, innovators must be aware of these technologies to better design with older adults, develop solutions that are responsive to their needs while maintaining user control, and create solutions that support health, their everyday HRQoL, and their quality of life (QoL) [6].

The summer school will address important questions at the heart of current technology and ageing population. Several of these questions will emphasize the concept of prevention, which typically consists of methods or activities that seek to reduce or deter health issues, protect the current state of well-being, or promote desired HRQoL outcomes or behaviours. Participants will be able to learn about different types of assistive technologies, their application areas, the design considerations related to such technologies, and the ethical components to be considered while designing and implementing such systems. The course will include lectures, case studies, mock debates, group work, and more. It will also emphasize the importance of interdisciplinarity, collaboration, and end-user participation when designing new objects, products, services, or experiences for the ageing population through a project-based approach and a human-centred design process.

[1] Ageing and health. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/ageing-and-health 

[2] Assistive technology.  https://www.who.int/health-topics/assistive-technology

[3] Pramod, D. (2022). Assistive Technology for Elderly People: State of the Art Review and Future Research Agenda, Science & Technology Libraries, DOI: 10.1080/0194262X.2021.2024481

[4] Saborowski, M., and Kollak, I. (2015). “‘How do you care for technology?’ – Care professionals’ experiences with assistive technology in care of the elderly,” Technological Forecasting and Social Change, vol. 93, pp. 133–140, Apr. 2015, doi: 10.1016/j.techfore.2014.05.006.

[5] Changizi, M., and Kaveh, M.H. (2017). Effectiveness of the mHealth technology in improvement of healthy behaviors in an elderly population-a systematic review. Mhealth. 2017 Nov 27;3:51. doi: 10.21037/mhealth.2017.08.06.

[6] Bruce, C., Harrison, P., Giammattei, C., Desai, S., Sol, J.R., Jones, S., Schwartz, R. (2020). Evaluating Patient-Centered Mobile Health Technologies: Definitions, Methodologies, and Outcomes. JMIR Mhealth Uhealth 2020;8(11):e17577. doi: 10.2196/17577

Objectives: The main objectives of the Summer School are for attendees to:

  • acquire a strong theoretical basis on QoL and HRQoL on the ageing population nowadays, in order to better understand the ways to improve them through assistive technology.
  • acquire a strong understanding of the constraints but also the opportunities related to active and passive data sensing on the ageing population.
  • become familiar with and gain insights into the functioning and implications of designing, implementing, and evaluating assistive technologies (sensing and actuating devices and services) for an ageing population.
  • understand ethical considerations to be addressed while working with assistive technology for an ageing population and the importance of data governance.

Target audience: advanced graduates, Ph.D. students, post-doc students, junior researchers, practitioners, care professionals, providers (e.g., start-up owners), and social scientists working in the domain of the ageing population, QoL, and HRQoL. We seek to cultivate a transdisciplinary approach. The course is, therefore, open to a broad range of disciplines and stakeholders (i.e., social sciences, health/life/medical sciences, computer science/engineering, and law) with interest in digital technologies and ageing.

Structure: Each day of the week will be organized around a specific theme and follow the pattern of 1) specific use case by thematic, 2) challenges and lessons learnt, and 3) best practices to design, implement and evaluate assistive technologies for the ageing population following ethical regulations.

Teaching: The multidisciplinary Summer School will be taught in English by various academic experts in their respective fields. The summer school will use a mix of use-case and project-based learning. The morning sessions will be reserved for presentations from our speakers, while the afternoon sessions will focus on hands-on and practical implementation based on the morning lectures.

*Only CV and motivation letter are needed for the application.

Tuition fee: 100 CHF (Free for AGE-INT members)

Organizers:

 

Katarzyna Wac, UNIGE

Prof Katarzyna Wac, Ph.D., is a Full Professor of Computer Science at the University of Geneva, Switzerland, and an Invited Professor of Health Informatics at the Department of Computer Science (DIKU), University of Copenhagen, Denmark, and was affiliated with Stanford University and Medical Centre in 2013-2020. She is leading the Quality of Life Technologies lab, responsibly unleashing the power of data to benefit the quality of life of all individuals. More specifically, the lab’s research interests revolve around the fundamental and algorithmic problems as well as human-centric challenges of the systems enabling an assessment and improvement of human behavior, well-being, health, disease self-management, and quality of life as it unfolds naturally over time and in context.

TBA

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