In January 2017 the INDUCT (Interdisciplinary Network for Dementia Using Current Technology) team got together in Maastricht, a city in the south of the Netherlands, for the first INDUCT school. It was a great opportunity to finally meet, in person, all of our fellow PhDs on the programme. We were only able to meet each other virtually before, one of the wonders of technology, during an online course offered by INTERDEM (Early Detection and Timely Intervention in Dementia).
As the week progressed, our bond became stronger, not only because we could share and relate to each other’s challenges and struggles of starting a PhD, but also because we shared moments of joy and intellectual and personal growth. It was an intense week with multiple sessions providing us opportunities to learn new and exciting things. Have a look below for a brief overview of the week.
Monday: We kicked off the week with a session of elevator pitches in which every PhD student was required to explain his/her research in 90 seconds. It was an interesting moment for many, since it was just the beginning of the week and it was challenging to explain a huge amount of information in a short amount of time. The presence of 20 people you did not know very well contributed to the nerves. However, it was a safe environment which meant that people were given the space to think and take time. This feeling of safety set the tone for the rest of the week. The day continued with wonderful presentations on different methods to use technology in dementia research by Dr. Marco Blom and Rob Groot Zwaaftink from Alzheimer Nederland. Joris Wiersinga from Silverfit talk to us about the use of exergaming in dementia care to promote physical activity among people with dementia. We concluded the day with an interactive session by Phil Joddrell and Yvonne Kerkhof on making better use of touch-screen applications (apps) and how to make these more accessible for people with dementia.
Tuesday: The second day started with a session by Marc Wortmann from Alzheimer Disease International on global dementia policy which was followed by a talk by Professor Anne Margriet Pot on the World Health Organisation (WHO) dementia policy and an online, worldwide tool developed by the WHO for carers of people with dementia. We continued with a fun and enlightening role playing activities coordinated by our fellow ESRs, in which each of us took on the role of a different stakeholder when talking about ethics and the involvement of people with dementia. The last session about Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) with Dr. Nancy Preston informed us about PPI work in the UK and its importance for research.
Wednesday: On day three we enjoyed some workshops and were joined by members from the INTERDEM academy. The first workshop, led by Professor Rose-Marie Dröes from the VUmc in Amsterdam, covered the MRC (Medical Research Council) Framework and its application to piloting interventions. We had the opportunity to develop our own potential feasibility study in dementia care. In the afternoon we had a lecture and a workshop on the Theory of Change and the MRC framework led by Dr. Graham Moore, Professor Lieve Van der Block, Dr. Lara Pivodic and MSc. Joni Glissen.
Thursday: This day stood out as we had the participation of Alzheimer Europe, represented by Project Officer Ana Diaz, and the EWGPWD (European Working Group of People with Dementia), with Chris Roberts and Alv Orheim. After an inspiring talk Ms. Diaz and Mr. Roberts, we had the chance to ask Mr. Roberts and Mr. Orheim about how to involve people living with dementia in our PhDs. This session was great and provided us with a lot of useful and directed feedback.
Friday: The snow did not stop us from having a great last day. We started with a lecture given by Rosalie van Knippenberg and Dr. Lizzy Boots about the use of technology in their research. This was a relatable session because we could learn from their experience; the do’s and don’ts in dementia research while using technology. We also had the participation of second level partners (Betawerk and Eumedianet) who showed us their work and told us more about implementation of technology in health care settings (as well as dementia care).
On Friday it was also time to say goodbye. This was a great week for all of us, with a lot of learning and networking. The whole week was a fantastic experience and we just can’t wait for the next INDUCT school in September this year in Salamanca, Spain.
Aline Cavalcanti Barroso and Harleen Rai are Marie Sklodowska-Curie Researcher Fellows for INDUCT and PhD candidates at the Institute of Mental Health, University of Nottingham.
Contact: Aline.CavalcantiBarroso@nottingham.ac.uk and Harleen.Rai@nottingham.ac.uk