Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Periodic Report Summary 1 - ASSISTID (Assistive Technologies in Autism and Intellectual Disability)

Assistive Technologies in Autism and Intellectual Disability (ASSISTID) is a COFUND Training & Mobility Program, co-funded by the European Commission and the charity RESPECT under the 7th Framework Programme. The project will run for 60 months from 1 May 2014 to 30 April 2019. The ASSISTID program plans to provide Incoming Fellowships of 24 months for 32 Fellows and Outgoing Fellowships with Return phase (24+12 months) for 8 Fellows.

ASSISTID is cofunded by the Irish charity RESPECT (www.respect.ie) and is unique as it is currently the only COFUND project with a charity as the sole beneficiary. The ASSISTID programme is managed by the DOCTRID Research Institute (www.doctrid.ie) an interdisciplinary inter-sectoral consortium of universities and disability service provider’s dedicated to conducting evidence-based research to inform policy and practice to improve the quality of life for individuals with intellectual disability (ID) and/or autism spectrum disorder (ASD).

The ASSISTID program aims to become a model for EU Experienced Researcher training in assistive technologies for ASD and ID, and to fill the void in advanced training that currently exists in this area. ASSISTID will train up to 40 Experienced Researchers to conduct rigorous research that can be applied in today's complex highly-regulated environment of disability service provision. Fellows will be trained to become leaders in disability services, research and delivery with particular skills in assistive technology.

ASSISTID had 4 Calls for Fellowship applications, of which the final one is currently open. The first 3 Calls resulted in 58 eligible applications. These applications passed through a remote peer review, including an ethical check and a personal interview of the candidate. 25 Fellowships have been offered to date with 20 applicants accepting the Fellowship (9 Outgoing and 11 Incoming). Results from the 4th and final call are expected later this year.
The programme and Calls were widely published through social media (including the EURAXESS website) and various mailing lists. The project website (www.assistid.eu) and a dedicated logo were developed in addition to a flyer for each call. Through these activities, ASSISTID, as one of the first formal postdoctoral training programs in the area of assistive technology for autism and intellectual disability, is now recognized as a high quality training platform for assistive technologies in ASD and ID. Applicants are free to choose their host institution and research topic. The ASSISTID host organisations are members of the DOCTRID Research Institute (RI). There are currently 20 host organisations across Ireland, the UK and the USA including universities, disability service providers and industry (Intel, IBM).
Through the projects, the potential of technology as a tool to support independent living and enable choice will be highlighted. Research findings will be disseminated and used to inform disability policy and practice. The ASSISTID projects funded to date cover a range of topics including Virtual Reality for education, employment and social skills, Inclusive video games for Children with ID, The Ethics of Assistive Technology, and using personalised Apps to promote health lifestyle choices in people with ID. Fellows are encouraged to engage with services providing care to people with ASD and ID, to ensure societal relevance of the research and maximise the career development and employability of the Fellows.
A key objective of the ASSISTID program is to strengthen and widen the career perspectives of Experienced Researchers. All Fellows have set up a Career Development Plan and receive supervision from qualified supervisors at their host organisation(s). The ASSISTID program organised a Training and Career Development workshop in March 2016, which was attended by 17 Fellows. Following this event, the Fellows have taken the initiative to organise quarterly get-togethers and have set up a FaceBook group to share information, thus strengthening contacts between the Fellows and to provide support to each other. For more information, please contact the Programmes Manager at sgorman@respect.ie or visit the website at www.assistid.eu.

Reported by

RESPECT Limited
Ireland

Subjects

Life Sciences
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