Netherlands: PhD Position on Motivational Strategies for Health Services Supporting Healthy Behavior at University of Twente (UT)

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Services for effective prevention of frailty and functional decline in elderly focus for a significant part on engaging older adults to live a healthy lifestyle i.e. changing behavior. As such adherence and compliance to the services is vitally important, meaning that motivational strategies like involvement of their carers and gamification (the use of game design elements in non-game contexts) are essential to incorporate. The state of the art shows that there are hardly any games available today that specifically target the older adult population and/or fail to achieve a long-term adherence. The challenge for this
candidate is to research and develop a game layer that incorporates personalized feedback elements and pervasive technologies to achieve long term behavioral change. The gamification layer requires research on various building blocks like performance indicators for healthy behavior, decision support based on individual goal settings, feedback and rewarding which needs to be embedded in a personally meaningful, entertaining, and immersive game environment.

The PhD project will be performed within the context of a European project, called PERSSILAA. PERSSILAA aims to develop and validate a new service model for older people, to screen for and prevent frailty. This multimodal service model, focusing on nutrition, physical and cognitive function, is supported by an interoperable ICT service infrastructure, utilising intelligent decision support systems and gamification. PERSSILA, offered to older adults (> 65 years) through local community service, will be seamlessly integrated with health care services. PERSSILAA is coordinated by University of Twente (UT) and performed in collaboration with other universities, companies and health care institutes in the Netherlands (Roessingh Research and Development), Spain (University Politechnico Madrid and Guttmann Neurorehabilitation Institute), Portugal (University of Lisbon), Italy (Nexera and University Hospital FEDERICO II Naples) and Ireland (University of Cork). The open position is at the UT in the research group of BSS/Telemedicine. The Telemedicine Group investigates and develops smart, end-to-end systems for remote monitoring and remotely supervised treatment of patients with chronic conditions. We investigate the design, prototyping and validation of such systems in close collaboration with the stakeholders, including the underlying architecture, sensing and feedback concepts and technology, the mobile service platforms, autonomic (sub)systems and intelligent clinical decision support.

We are looking for highly motivated, talented and enthusiastic candidates with an active attitude and excellent communication and collaborative skills and interest in the field of Telemedicine. The successful applicant has completed a doctoral degree in computer science, biomedical technology, industrial design or in a closely related discipline but always with a proven affinity for the interplay between beta and gamma sciences. Experience with conducting human subject experiments is desirable. Candidates are invited to send their application, before Oktober 1st, 2013, using the link below. Please include the following attachments in your application as a *single* PDF file:
CV (including a list of grades and at least two references)
A cover letter, emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications and motivation to apply for this position.
We offer a scientific education on a multidisciplinary subject. The assignment is for a time-limited 3 years, with a go/no-go assessment at the end of the first year.
The candidates are expected to finish the project with a PhD thesis and disseminate the results through publications in peer-reviewed journals and presentations at (inter)national conferences. The research will be carried out in Enschede. In accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, the gross monthly salary starts at € 2083,- gross per month in the first year, leading up to € 2664,- gross per month in the last year.
Additionally, the University of Twente provides excellent facilities for professional and personal development, a holiday allowance and an end-of-year bonus and a number of additional benefits.

The University of Twente. We stand for life sciences and technology. High tech and human touch. Education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over six faculties we provide more than fifty educational programmes. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research.
The faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) comprises three disciplines that shape Information and Communication Technology. ICT is more than communication. In almost every product we use mathematics, electronics and computer technology and ICT now contributes to all of societies’ activities. The faculty works together intensively with industrial partners and researchers in the Netherlands and abroad and conducts extensive research for external commissioning parties and funders. The research which enjoys a high profile both at home and internationally, has been accommodated in the multidisciplinary research institutes MESA+, CTIT and MIRA.

More Info:  Universiteit Twente (UT)

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