The Research Challenge
We live in an increasingly technology-saturated world. Our digital dependency and near constant connection to the internet creates both opportunities and challenges for our health and wellness. Over 95% of Americans own a cell phone (77% own smartphones) and almost 1/3 of young adults use some form of wearable device (e.g., FitBit) – these products, that have become embedded in our everyday lives, collect a tremendous amount of information about us, often times without our awareness. As these technologies become ubiquitous, they have become more affordable and in turn, have come to provide access to the internet for those living in poverty across the world.
Meanwhile, emerging technologies such as cars that collect data about our driving habits, shopping mall face recognition, gait analysis systems, and more create unlimited potential for observing and perhaps influencing individuals. Either directly or through metadata inference, data-rich technology has the potential to track our location, activities, social media usage, interests and preferences, social connections, and physical and mental health. Technological advances present us with a unique opportunity to influence health – a chance to re-imagine how to reach people in their real lives (outside of the lab and clinic) and to nudge, create, and ultimately sustain behaviors that will dramatically improve health outcomes. Yet there is often a disconnect between those who develop the technologies, those who have the ability to manage the complex data these platforms create, and those who specialize in health behavior change and the social milieu of health. Moreover, the personal nature of the data collected, and the unobtrusive and sometimes undisclosed manner in which it is gathered, presents some challenging socio-legal and ethical issues about how this information should be used.
InCHIP’s Ideas Labs are designed to: Engage teams of interdisciplinary researchers in tackling wicked problems by exploring new ways of thinking about, studying, and generating novel solutions to those problems. The focus of this Ideas lab is to generate and examine questions such as: How can we better utilize wearable, mobile-based, and other data-rich technology to promote health and well-being and ultimately prevent and manage chronic disease in an ethical and legally sound fashion? We invite experts from a broad range of disciplines to join us in this work, including but not limited to: behavioral, social, biomedical, and environmental sciences; engineering and mathematics; policy and law; business; education; the arts and humanities; or any other discipline that can provide new insights and perspectives on this topic. We are interested in faculty from the College of Fine Arts who are interested in designing for health.
Internal Funding Opportunity
This ideas lab also provides an opportunity for participating faculty to apply for internal seed funding. Following the two-day Ideas Lab, the newly formed interdisciplinary teams will emerge with nascent project ideas that they will continue to develop over the following weeks. Teams will then submit proposals to compete for internal pilot funding from InCHIP of up to $50,000.
Ideas Lab Personnel
- Ronald Beghetto (Professor of Educational Psychology & Director of Innovation House)
- Andy Burnett (Managing Director, Knowinnovation)
- Kim Gans (Professor of Human Development and Family Studies)
- Amy Gorin (Professor of Psychological Sciences & Director, InCHIP)
- Grace Morris (Research Development Specialist & Boundary Spanner, InCHIP)
- Justin Nash (Professor & Department Head, Allied Health Sciences)
Have Questions or want to learn more about the Ideas Lab?
What is an Idea’s Lab?
Ideas Lab Goal
The goal of this Ideas Lab is to build the capacity of UConn researchers to develop transformative interdisciplinary research that examines how technology can be harnessed to positively influence public health and wellness. This Ideas Lab also seeks to encourage the development of multidisciplinary collaborations among researchers with expertise including but not limited to: behavioral, social, biomedical, and environmental sciences; engineering and mathematics; policy and law; business; education; the arts and humanities; or any other discipline that can provide new insights and perspectives on this topic.
Ideas lab Stages
The ideas lab will begin on the morning of Tuesday (June 4th) and end on the evening of Wednesday (June 5th). The process can be broken down into several stages:
Ideas Lab Participant Experience
The ideas Lab is an intensive, interactive, and free-thinking environment, where a diverse group of 25-30 participants from a range of disciplines and backgrounds get together for two days- away from their everyday work worlds. Participants will immerse themselves in a collaborative thinking process in order to construct innovative multidisciplinary approaches. There will be a highly interdisciplinary mix of participants – including active researchers – to drive lateral thinking and radical approaches to address research challenges.
The Ideas Lab is an intensive process; however, opportunities for reflection and networking will be built into the agenda. The Ideas Lab will be directed by an esteemed researcher with support from research mentors and the InCHIP’s Ideas Labs Planning Committee. Several subject matter experts will participate in the Ideas Lab to provide different perspectives that may help participants develop new questions or novel approaches for potential pilot studies. More information about the Ideas Lab will be emailed in May 2019 to applicants who are selected to participate.
How can I Participate?
Participants are selected for the Ideas Lab via a short application (see application below). The range of participants selected is intentionally diverse, and it is intended that a wide range of disciplines and expertise will be represented.
If you would like to transform how technology is used to improve the health and lives of people, we invite you to apply – irrespective of your research expertise or background. We are most interested in new ideas, underpinned by radical and innovative thinking.
We particularly welcome applications from early and mid-career researchers at UConn (including all branch campuses, Storrs, and UConn Health) that will contribute new expertise and new thinking for leveraging technology for health purposes. Non-UConn affiliated researchers who are open to partnering with UConn faculty are also encouraged to apply. We regret that, on this occasion, graduate students are not eligible to participate in this Ideas Lab.
Due to the interactive, intensive, and collaborative nature of the Ideas Lab, applicants must have personal attributes of creativity, openness, and the ability to work effectively as part of a team. A willingness to engage with people with different assumptions, analytic expertise, and interests is essential.
Regarding Leadership Expectations:
We want to emphasize that by applying and participating in this event you are not agreeing to take on a leadership position within a team. The important thing is to get a diversity of voices in the room to help develop interesting solutions to complex questions/problems.
InCHIP and the University of Connecticut are committed to providing reasonable accommodations for qualified individuals with a disability.
To apply to participate, please fill out the form below. This form will ask you to describe your professional background (including department/disciplinary background), research interests, and expertise. It will also ask questions about your perspectives on teamwork, creativity, and your motivation to participate in this Ideas Lab. DEADLINE: May 10th, 2019 at 5PM
All applications received by the deadline will be reviewed by InCHIP programmatic leadership and experts from KnowInnovation to ensure a mix of disciplines, skills, and experience.
Successful Applicants will be:
- Curious and willing to explore new or different aspects of a research challenge.
- Open to new ideas and new ways of thinking and working.
- Intrigued by creative problem-solving approaches to research challenges.
- Willing to engage in and trust an intense, rapid-paced, and dynamic scientific and social process.
- Capable of contributing constructively and collaboratively with other prior to, during, and following the ideas lab.
- Able to connect quickly with new people from different disciplinary perspectives, participate in teams, and solve problems together.
- Experienced in the relevant research areas.
Successful candidates will be notified by email in May. We regret that we will not be able to provide feedback to unsuccessful candidates.
InCHIP Ideas Lab Webinar
When:May 2, 2019 12:00 PM EST
As part of the preparation for the upcoming InCHIP Ideas Lab, we are holding a one-hour webinar as a way for you all to learn more about Ideas Labs in general and about this lab in particular. This interactive webinar will:
- Give you an overview of the different ways of thinking about this problem
- Describe how an Ideas Lab works
- Explain the steps leading up to the event.
To view the recording of the webinar, please click the link below.
Watch the Webinar