OUR PROJECT

At a Glance

E-coaching is a revolutionary interdisciplinary area in which intelligent systems are used to pursue health-related goals, by providing tailored guidance to users. Conversational e-coaches are particularly promising in improving users’ trust in virtual coaches.

We endeavour to accelerate joint work on conversational e-coaches for health and well-being, by connecting international and national research at the University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES-SO) - HumanTech Institute and the Nursing School of Lisbon (ESEL) (respectively, the NESTORE and VASelfCare projects). We intent to overcome fragmented research efforts and pursue a more coherent research strategy.

In the short-term we wish to impact on the advancement of science by conducting an evidence map on conversational agents for health and well-being and by consensualising an international taxonomy on the topic. We envisage this will facilitate targeted research questions that will push the boundaries of knowledge on health e-coaching.

We expect to have a long-term societal impact, contributing to:

  • 7 global WHO noncommunicable diseases targets (e.g. reducing mortality from NCDs, reducing alcohol and tobacco consumption, reducing salt intake, increasing physical activity, reducing blood pressure, diabetes and obesity) (World Health Organization, 2014).
  • Goal 3 of the United Nations sustainable development goals “Good health and well-being”, and specifically to the target “By 2030, reduce by one third premature mortality from noncommunicable diseases through prevention and treatment and promote mental health and well-being.” (United Nations, 2015).

Our Work Programme

Evidence map

Our evidence map will identify and categorise literature on conversational for health and well-being, pinpointing research gaps and areas of uncertainty that will inform future grant applications.

Consensualising an international taxonomy on conversational agents

Informed by the evidence map, we will use an international consensus development conference to derive a taxonomy on conversational agents for health and well-being. This is a scientific consensus method that relies on a group of experts in a facilitated discussion to achieve decisions based on evidence.

Follow-up activities

One of our follow-up activities will consist of the development of an interactive networking database of e-coaching in health and well-being, perpetuating knowledge transfer beyond the funded period.

OUR PARTNERS

  • Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Lisboa
  • University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland
  • Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa

Escola Superior de Enfermagem de Lisboa (ESEL) is a public higher education institution actively pursuing excellence and innovation in nursing education and research. ESEL has around 1800 students, 1300 enrolled in the undergraduate nursing programme and around 500 in post-graduate training (master degrees and other post-graduation programmes). Since 2004, ESEL has a partnership with the University of Lisbon for a doctoral programme in nursing. The School has also partnerships with multiple Institutions in Europe and in Portuguese-speaking countries, as well as strong community relationships, through volunteering and other outreach activities.

University of Applied Sciences Western Switzerland (HES⁠-⁠SO) provides practice-oriented tertiary-level university education which is primarily an extension of basic vocational training. With 21,000 students, the HES⁠-⁠SO is the largest UAS in Switzerland. Its training leads to a bachelor and master degree. The offer also includes postgraduate studies and professional development. The HES⁠-⁠SO carries out applied research and development projects, the results of which it integrates into its teaching. Multidisciplinary, it is oriented towards innovation, contributing to the expansion of knowledge and its promotion for the benefit of students and society. HES⁠-⁠SO collaborates with other training and research institutions in Switzerland and abroad.

Faculdade de Ciências da Universidade de Lisboa (FCUL) is an education and research institution, which aims to promote the quality of the higher education and to develop competitive research units, both at a national and at an international level. With more than two hundred on-going projects, research activities at the FCUL are carried out in 20 Laboratories and Research Centres or Institutes embracing a variety of domains in Science and Technology, including Computer Sciences and Informatics. Many of these R&D activities are carried out in collaboration with international teams and are funded both at national and at European levels.

Team members

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Mara Guerreiro

Portuguese lead
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Cristina Baixinho


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Helga Rafael Henriques


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Isa Félix


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Mafalda Padinha

MPharm Candidate
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Bruno Alexandre

MSc Candidate
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Elena Mugellini

Swiss lead
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Leonardo Angelini


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Mira El Kamali


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Omar Abou Khaled


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Karl Daher


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Maurizio Caon


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Maria Beatriz Carmo

Third-party lead
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Ana Paula Cláudio


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João Balsa


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OUR RESOURCES

Communication & Dissemination

  • All
  • Conference presentations
  • Conference abstracts
  • Papers
  • Project presentations
  • Theses

JMIR Research Protocols
Conversational Agents for Health and Well-being Across the Life Course: Protocol for an Evidence Map

Conversational agents, which we defined as computer programs that are designed to simulate two-way human conversation by using language and are potentially supplemented with nonlanguage modalities, offer promising avenues for health interventions for different populations across the life course. There is a lack of open-access and user-friendly resources for identifying research trends and gaps and pinpointing expertise across international centers.

PDF - "Conversational Agents for Health and Well-being Across the Life Course"

NEWS & EVENTS

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  • Events
  • News

News and events will be available soon!

STUDENTS

We welcome applications for research internships, course assignments or BSc/MSc projects from students in nursing, pharmacy, sports sciences, psychology, informatics and related areas.

If you wish to volunteer to join the eCCo team in any of the partner sites or if you have questions contact Dr. Mara Guerreiro | mara.guerreiro@esel.pt or Professor Elena Mugelini | elena.mugellini@hefr.ch.

Please tell us:

  • Who you are;
  • What you are looking for (BSc/MSc project, internship or course assignment);
  • What is your idea of interest;
  • The time frame you have in mind;

Students joining the team will be offered a tailored work programme, support from experienced researchers and a certificate of participation upon successful completion of the programme.

We encourage multidisciplinary projects and welcome your ideas!

CONTACT US

Feel free to tell us something!