PhD image, woman infront of blackboard

PhD Project Grants

The Copenhagen Center for Health Technology supports PhD Projects within personal health technology within its three strategic areas; healthy living, active ageing, and chronic disease prevention and management.

CACHET PhD projects are characterized by being:

  • Focused on the design, development, and evaluation of personalized health technology
  • Interdisciplinary across the health and technological sciences
  • Application focused and grounded in end-user organizations (like private homes, municipalities, nursing homes or hospitals)
  • Innovative by developing new solutions for the healthcare system and/or new products for companies

A PhD project should have both a medical and technical supervisor, with one being the main supervisor and project owner.

2019 Call

We welcome applications in all areas of personal health technology in a broad sense. However, in 2019 we are in particular looking for projects that – in collaboration with the City of Copenhagen – will address the challenges of;

  • preventing adverse health effects from ambient air pollution,
  • improving prevention of infectious disease in nursing homes
  • using urban gardening as a method to stimulate social cohesion and well-being

Please see the detailed call text below.

The 2019 deadline is MAY 21st.

Eligibility

CACHET can co-fund PhD scholarships at Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences at the University of Copenhagen (KU SUND) and at the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). The project and grant must be anchored at and managed by DTU or KU SUND, and involve the City of Copenhagen. The PhD candidate is enrolled at either DTU or KU SUND, and employed at the university institute or the clinical hospital department of the project owner.

Funding

The fellowship provides up to 2/3 substitute for a PhD student for 3 years, employed at either DTU or KU SUND. You can apply for 1/3 or 2/3 of a PhD scholarship (salary + tuition) provided that you have – or is applying for – the remaining funds from an external source (public fund, private fund, company, etc.).

Application Procedure

An application is submitted by the main supervisor and project owner. PhD students cannot apply on their own but should contact a relevant supervisor. Applicants should fill in the “PhD application form”. PhDs can be applied for in pairs of clinical/technical projects. In this case, two applications – one for each PhD project – should be submitted but the pairing should be described in each. 

Please see the PhD Application Guideline document that contains further details.

2019 Call for PhD Projects

 

Prevention of adverse health effects from ambient air pollution in the City of Copenhagen

Ambient air pollution harms human health and the environment. WHO estimated that in 2016, ambient exposure to fine particles (PM2.5) was responsible for 4.1 million deaths representing 7.5% of total global deaths [link]. In Denmark these figures were 1.800 deaths, or 3.4% of total deaths in the country. 

In many urban environments and high-income countries the most important local contributor to air pollution is exhaust emission from internal combustion engines of road vehicles, especially heavy duty diesel powered vehicles. 

Copenhagen has been struggling with finding ways to reduce ambient (or outdoor) air pollution for many years. Pollution from lorries, vans, household heating, busses and cars each year costs lives, and the current NO2 levels exceed the EU limit values. New technologies and data sources could help to collect and analyze pollution data, and to inform and advice citizens both in terms of helping to the reduction of emissions of damaging particles as well as to help avoid pollution.

This project should provide new knowledge and technical solutions that can contribute to improve municipal interventions to reduce the health risks caused by ambient air pollution in the city of Copenhagen. The project should address one or both of the following research themes:

  1. Preventive actions at structural level in the urban space which contribute to minimize health damage caused by ambient air pollution. Projects could include the development and test of technologies which visualize the local level of pollution (fine and ultrafine particles) and the associated health risk and provide concrete suggestions for actions to lower the exposure to pollution for specific targeted groups (e.g. pedestrians, drivers and cyclists). Projects could also include the test of health effects of structural level change in urban space e.g. change in regulation of traffic lights or free public transportation.
  2. Personalized health technology to support citizens in minimizing exposure to ambient air pollution. Projects could include the development and test of personalized health technology which measures the exposure to ambient air pollution and its health impact among vulnerable population groups e.g. chronic patients (i.e. cardio vascular and respiratory diseases) or children and provides advice related to preventive behavior.

The specific design of the projects in terms of data collection, test, and communication of results should be developed in close collaboration with the City of Copenhagen, Health and Care Administration. Please contact Annemette Ljungdalh Nielsen <HB2G@suf.kk.dk> at the City of Copenhagen

 

Potentials of using technologies with urban gardening as a method to stimulate social cohesion and well-being 

The well-being of city inhabitants, particularly their level of stress, is negatively impacted by factors such as noise, traffic, pollution, congestion and social isolation. Research has shown that spending time in green areas, such as parks, gardens and forests, can have a positive influence on public health and well-being by, for example, helping to reduce stress, encourage physical activity, and even improve cognitive function. Also, studies have indicated that activities and projects, such as urban gardening, can support social cohesion and integration within the involved communities. Therefore, many cities and communities have become interested in developing urban green areas and facilitating citizen activities supported by green areas with the aim of improving citizens’ physical and mental health and well-being. 

The City of Copenhagen wants to explore the potential for establishing urban gardens to enhance well-being and social cohesion especially in vulnerable neighbourhoods, and investigate technological support for this.

This project should provide new insight also through use of technologies regarding one or more of the following topics:

  • What experiences and technologies from other urban garden projects as well as more general approaches to pro-social design may serve as inspiration and guidance for the city in developing their own garden areas and citizen-involving urban green projects?
  • What are the main models and technologies for establishing urban gardens across relevant communities in Copenhagen that are likely to enhance physical and mental well-being and social cohesion?
  • What are the most promising technologies and methods for evaluation of outcomes of this type of social-structural design project including impact on healthy eating practices, physical and mental well-being, social cohesion and other effects of interest  

The specific design of the projects in terms of data collection, technology use or design, test, and communication of results should be developed in close collaboration with the City of Copenhagen, Health and Care Administration. Please contact Annemette Ljungdalh Nielsen <HB2G@suf.kk.dk> at the City of Copenhagen

 

Design solutions for improved prevention of infectious disease in nursing homes

The health and care systems in Denmark are confronted by a growing challenge of preventing and treating infectious diseases. The causes are several including: a) an ageing population with more vulnerable living years; b) the shortening in length of hospital stays, which means that people are discharged to other caring facilities while still under treatment for infections; c) the continuous growth in cases of multi resistant bacteria infections. The World Health Organization (WHO) has named resistance to antimicrobial agents one of the most significant threats to public health. In Denmark the number of bacteremia is increasing, which is a severe condition, especially among elderly and weak persons. A study found that on any given day 6,2% of nursing home residents were likely to have an infection [link].

The preventive measures are well understood and focus on efficient hygienic practices among staff and the elderly themselves along with others, such as relatives, who enter the environment of the health and care facilities. However, research has shown relatively low compliance with guidelines on preventive practices. At the same time, highly rigorous preventive practices are likely to obstruct attempts to provide an environment for the elderly residents where they may feel at home. Preventive measures must therefore be balanced against other important requirements. When entering the private domain of an elderly person in a nursing home staff may often face a dilemma, because the space in which the staff member operates is both a private home and a workspace for treatment and care activities. Cultural and ethical conventions related to visiting someone’s “home” with its individual furnishing, layout, state of orderliness and the requirement of respecting the dignity and autonomy of the home-owner may collide with the need for complying with hygienic precautions in an institutional context of treatment and care. 

This project should research new solutions that incorporate technology for providing knowledge and evidence about the problem area, including the abovementioned private-formal dilemma and co-creatively develop socio-technical solution(s) and concrete interventions that contribute to improved prevention of the spread of infectious diseases in nursing homes. At the same time, such solutions incorporating technology must be balanced, and it is of equal importance that they also aim to enhance the quality of life and the feeling of being at home among the elderly and improve staff satisfaction with a working environment that supports compliance with guidelines on preventive hygienic practices.

The specific design of the projects in terms of data collection, test, and communication of results should be developed in close collaboration with the City of Copenhagen, Health and Care Administration. Please contact Annemette Ljungdalh Nielsen <HB2G@suf.kk.dk> at the City of Copenhagen

 

 

 

Contact

Jakob Eyvind Bardram
Head of Sections, Professor
DTU Health Tech
+45 45 25 53 11

Contact

Annemette Ljungdalh Nielsen
Consultant
City of Copenhagen
+45 21 57 06 22
http://www.cachet.dk/about/phd
20 JUNE 2019