15.9.2017

In March, Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS received an international PhD student from the Netherlands. FhP was invited, by prof. Lia Patrício, of FEUP, to join the Service Design for Innovation Network as Associated Partner, aiming to pursue the strategic need to foster service design for innovation processes in organizations, in order to improve the competitiveness of the centre’s research projects.

Martina Čaić is a PhD candidate at the Maastricht University. She is also a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Research Fellow at the Service Design for Innovation Network (SDIN), a European Training Network for Early Stage Researchers that aims to advance the emerging field of service design. Her research focuses on the service design for customer experience in value networks, with a particular interest in Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) technologies, one of the research areas of Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS (FhP-AICOS).

The PhD candidate chose FhP-AICOS as the research institution to foster her secondment – a temporary transfer to one of the SDIN’s partners –, for its capacity to create scientific knowledge, exploring technological innovations and developing research of practical utility. As Martina Čaić said, ‘I found it to be a perfect fit with my PhD topic and my previous research (i.e., social service robots for the elderly)’.

For six months, the researcher was involved in activities of several running projects, highlighting the FallSensing and ExerGames projects. Martina Čaić observed elderly users during service prototyping in their natural environment (e.g. day care centres) and in the FhP-AICOS’ living lab, a simulation of their home environment. The PhD candidate applied the principles of empathic design, trying to understand what triggers elderly users to use such active video games, how the games fit into their idiosyncratic systems, which values the games provide for the elderly and related caregivers, as well as if and how the games need to be redesigned to better serve elderly users’ needs and evoke positive emotional responses.

On January 2017, FhP-AICOS accepted an invitation from Prof. Lia Patrício from the Faculty of Engineering of the University of Porto (FEUP) to be an Associated Partner of the SDIN, considering the relevance and timeliness of the SDIN project objectives and work plan. FhP-AICOS is convinced of the strategic need to foster service design for innovation processes in organizations, in order to improve the competitiveness of the centre’s research projects.

Fraunhofer Portugal AICOS expects to have provided Martina Čaić with ideal conditions to pursue her PhD and wishes her success for the remaining of her PhD studies. The Portuguese research centre also thanks FEUP and Prof. Lia Patrício for the invitation to participate in the SDIN project and hopes to continue collaborating with FEUP and the University of Porto in initiatives that foster the scientific development of the North of Portugal.