MOCIA Consortium meeting 2022: The beauty of collaboration

14 oktober 2022

Written by Mariska van Pouderoijen, MOCIA PhD student at Maastricht University and Radboud University

The MOCIA consortium meeting 2022 took place on September 27th, when we had the chance to meet with all the academic and industrial partners involved. It was a great opportunity for PhD candidates, senior researchers and industrial partners to talk and work together on our research mission: “Maintain optimal cognitive function in ageing”.  For instance, with my MOCIA research, I focus on technology, feedback strategies and motivational drives necessary for lifestyle change in older adults with the support of eHealth. This research is part of MOCIA work package 4, which aims to gain insights into the personalisation of eHealth technology to support cognitive health in ageing.

We were welcomed by Laus Broersen of Danone Nutricia Research, located at Utrecht Science Park, where he and his colleagues gave us the honour of a guided tour through their beautiful modern building. Their focus on specialised nutrition was seen and felt throughout their talk and tour, where people work to optimise their products and support their mission of “one planet, one health” in different laboratories.

This tour was followed by great updates from the project leaders from each MOCIA work package. We are proud of the recruitment progress of our lifestyle intervention studies: FINGER-NL (work package 1) on effectivity and HELI (work package 3) on mechanisms. Half of the participant groups are filled and the baseline measurements are well on their way! Work package 2 was able to acquire data from existing research to start working on estimating, predicting and comparing models concerning non-invasive markers and cognition. Work package 4 presented the importance of human-centred design when designing personalised and engaging measurements and coaching. Where the focus lays on user requirements, iterative tool development and behavioural change.

After a delicious lunch, the PhD candidates had the opportunity to give interactive poster presentations about their accomplishments and plans. Talking to our colleagues and partners united us as a consortium and elevated our work to a higher level. The conversations led to mutual understanding, insights and new ideas. This poster session was followed by work package 5 presenting MOCIA’s societal impact plan. The speakers nicely emphasized the importance of involving stakeholders and the role of effective communication in creating societal impact with our research. This was also highlighted by the impactful presentation of Sander Hermsen (impact leader work package 4) of OnePlanet IMEC, whose goal is to bridge behaviour science, design and innovation.

The beauty of the day laid in the foundation on which this consortium is built: Collaboration. Therefore, I want to thank every single one of you, who contributed to this day. It was amazing to experience how all the work packages were transformed over the year and how we are all aligned toward one mission: To encourage healthy cognitive ageing via long-term behavioural change with the support of lifestyle interventions and eHealth technology!

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