The kick-off meeting of the new European project VITALISE, acronym of “Virtual Health and Wellbeing Living Lab Infrastructure”, was held the 19th, 20th and 21st of April 2021. The project has been funded within the framework of the EU programme for research and innovation Horizon 2020. The representatives of the 19 partners coming from 11 countries of 2 different continents, the European Union and Canada, have attended the event to launch the project, presenting their organizations, the project objectives and to discuss the distribution and coordination of activities. Moreover, during the second day of the meeting, an open session was organized, and made available in streaming on YouTube (available here), in order to raise awareness on the project and on the importance of Living Labs for research activities in the health domain among the general public. The session ended with a round table discussion on healthy, well-being and inclusive societies, whose panelists were Maria Yeroyanni, Senior Expert Innovating Cities (DG RTD) and Maria Vasile, Senior Policy Officer of the Health Programme of the European Commission, together with two representatives of H2020 projects Varcities (Prof. Denia Kolokotsa, Technical University of Crete Kounoupidiana) and H2020 IN-HABITAT (Prof. Marina Della Giusta, University of Reading).
The project: the key elements
The project aims to promote the Living Labs as a means to facilitate research activities in the health and well-being domain, envisaging a participatory approach of co-creation with the direct involvement of users. To reach this objective, three networks are involved, i.e., European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), which is also the coordinator of the project, Forum des Living Labs en Santé et en Autonomie (Forum LLSA) and EIT Health Living Lab, facilitating the transnational access to the research infrastructures of 17 Living Labs across all Europe and at international level. During the three years of duration of the project, the consortium has planned to organize the launch of 3 “Open Calls for Transnational Access”, that are three calls for proposals open to external researchers willing to obtain a financing grant to support their research study in one of the following three fields linked to health and well-being as defined by the project:
- Rehabilitation: research will focus on the definition of the effectiveness and usability of innovative technologies and interventions on rehabilitation;
- Transitional Care: research studies will be directed to the collection of data from different settings, i.e., clinical, transitional living and home settings, in order to monitor the transitions among them;
- Everyday living environments: research activities will aim at collecting ecologically valid bigdata from everyday life activities of people living with chronic conditions.
Researches will have the opportunity to exploit the digital and shared access of similar devices and applications used across Living Labs through ICT tools that will be developed during the course of the project. VITALISE will promote the interaction among researchers from different multidisciplinary sectors within the consortium and beyond, through shared research activities and thanks to the access to the Living Labs, both virtually and in person, at transnational level.
The first activities
During the kick-off meeting, partners have discussed the first steps and the first activities to be implemented on the basis of the work plan defined by the project. The website is already available online (www.vitalise-project.eu) and the project accounts of social networks Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter have been created. The project activities will start with an initial analysis of the procedures and services currently offered by the involved Living Labs to further explore the state of the art and identify the ICT tools that will need to be designed, developed and implemented in the research infrastructures.
The role of Social IT
Within the framework of the VITALISE project, Social IT will be in charge of the coordination of the project team to operatively organize the opening and management of the 3 “Open Calls”, that will be launched respectively in April 2022, December 2022 and June 2023. Moreover, Social IT will support the dissemination and exploitation of the project.