Students and citizen scienceWorking and learning togetherCreating a research protocol togetherA website for citizen scienceCitizen science and new technology: the researchers

Citizen science and new technology: the researchers

January 17th – Ria and Lieke – Several projects have taken place within the New Technology lab since its inception. High time to introduce ourselves! Our names are Lieke Heesink and Ria Wolkorte. We have been working at the University of Twente, doing research within the TOPFIT Citizenlab consortium, since March 2020. Lieke does this from her background in psychology and neuroscience, Ria has a background in biomedical sciences and movement sciences. We both started this job because we think it’s very important that everyone can have a say in research. People often have a lot of knowledge about their own situation, and – in the case of people with a chronic condition – about their condition. We consider this knowledge to be very valuable and would like to use it in our research! The Citizenlab gives us the opportunity to cooperate with citizens and other important parties in our research, such as health care providers or companies.

The Citizenlab is a place where citizens work together with researchers on research in the field of health and well-being. There are several projects running, all focusing on different topics and sometimes taking different approaches. We focus mainly on developing and evaluating new technology that can support health and wellbeing. Our colleagues focus, for example, on prevention, living independently at home, the combination of work and informal care, and diabetes.

We would like to give you an insight into our work, which is why we will regularly post a blog about our work. In it, we will not only describe the results of our research, but also the process of research, the contacts we make in our work, and the courses or conferences we attend.

We are involved in various projects, but the common thread is that we collaborate with citizens – the co-researchers. And that we are engaged in developing and evaluating new technology. To give you a first impression, these are the projects we are mainly involved in or have been involved in. We will explain them in more detail in the coming months.

  • We have investigated what people with rheumatoid arthritis think of the HandScan, a new device developed by Demcon Hemics to monitor inflammation in the hand.
  • We are developing a citizen science website with people with rheumatoid arthritis. On this website, people can collect data themselves, in order to gain insight for themselves and to be able to share the data with scientists.
  • Together with people with rheumatoid arthritis, we are looking at what research they would like to do on this website, and what this research should look like.
  • With the Urimon research project, in which a new method for the early detection of cancer and cardiovascular diseases is being developed, we are together looking at how the participants in the research can play a greater role, by thinking along or cooperating with researchers.
  • With Wijkvoorziening ‘t Doesgoor, a voluntary organisation in Goor, we are working with students and the participants in the walking group to find out how technology can support the walking group in their ability to live together.
  • In addition to these content-related projects, we are also working on questions relating to ethics and privacy regarding the sharing of data, and ways of evaluating our own projects.

Besides the fact that these projects deliver great results in terms of content, we are also learning a lot about collaboration: how can we best design this, what works well for both citizens and researchers, and what do you need to bear in mind when working in such a way? All combined, we are building a Citizenlab of the future, in which we hope to be able to work together with citizens on better health and well-being for a long time to come!

Keep an eye on the website for the next blog!