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MSCA-TOPP-UT-Toppfinansiering av MSCA utgående kandidater

Topfinancing - WHeelchair Activity Monitoring project (WHAM)

Alternative title: WHeelchair Activity Monitoring project (WHAM)

Awarded: NOK 0.93 mill.

The Wheelchair activity monitoring project (WHAM) aims both to increase physical activity among wheelchair users, as well as to contribute to the broader goals of diversity and inclusion for people with mobility limitations, by fostering greater accessibility and participation through innovative technology and research. Wheelchair users are three to five times less active than the general population, which increases their risk of developing preventable health issues. Although there are physical activity (PA) guidelines for wheelchair users, we still need effective ways to implement these guidelines and accurate technology to monitor PA change. WHAM aims to increase PA in wheelchair users by creating digital monitoring and feedback tools, helping to put the PA guidelines into action. WHAM consists of three phases: two years at the University of British Columbia (UBC), while working together with experts on behavioral intervention studies in wheelchair users; one year at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) and half a year at Maastricht Instruments, the latter two phases being dedicated to developing digital PA monitoring technologies. WHAM's objectives are: 1) To test the impact of an exercise program on PA levels and fitness in wheelchair users, 2) To develop accurate algorithms for PA monitoring in wheelchair users, 3) To create a system that both monitors and provides feedback on PA in wheelchair users.

Wheelchair users (WCU) are three to five times more inactive than the general population, leading to a high risk of developing preventable secondary conditions. Although physical activity (PA) guidelines have been specifically developed for WCU, we lack systematic approaches to implement them in practice, as well as valid algorithms to monitor PA change in WCU through sensor-based solutions. Accordingly, the overall scientific aim of the WHeelchair Activity Monitoring project (WHAM) is to advance PA research and practice in WCU by developing valid digital markers for monitoring of and providing feedback on PA, paving the way for implementation and intervention. I will accomplish this through combining the complementary research fields of 1) behavioral intervention studies focusing on increasing PA in WCU (core competence University of British Columbia, UBC; outgoing phase) and 2) sensor-based PA monitoring (core competence Norwegian University of Science and Technology, NTNU; returning phase – consolidated by non-academic placement at Maastricht Instruments, which develop research prototypes including PA monitors). WHAM’s scientific aim is achieved through three objectives: 1) Measure the effect of a pragmatic exercise intervention trial on self-reported physical activity levels and cardio-respiratory fitness, 2) Develop valid algorithms for tracking PA markers in WCU, and 3) Co-create a framework that outlines how PA can be conjointly monitored and provided feedback on in WCU. This fellowship will enable me to become established as an internationally recognized researcher in the field of “physical activity and disability”, while bringing together ongoing national disjointed research activities in this field. Altogether, my overall ambition is to contribute to reducing inequalities in daily-life participation among WCU compared to the rest of the population.

Funding scheme:

MSCA-TOPP-UT-Toppfinansiering av MSCA utgående kandidater

Funding Sources