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A chatbot to detect the risk of mental disorders among university students, awarded in the UB Innovation Day

Students of different fields formed multidisciplinary groups to find solution to the main existing problems in fields such as nutrition, mental health and environment.

Students of different fields formed multidisciplinary groups to find solution to the main existing problems in fields such as nutrition, mental health and environment.

Winners of Innovation Day.

Winners of Innovation Day.

27/11/2018

Institucional

A chatbot for university students to prevent mental health problems, an app to promote walks around Barcelona and another to increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables among youngsters aged between 18 and 22 are the three awarded projects on the Innovation Day. The contest, which took place on November 24 in the Historical Building of the UB, had students from different fields forming multidisciplinary groups to find solutions to the main challenges in areas like nutrition, mental health and the environment. Organized by EIT Health, the greatest European body on innovation in health life and active ageing, Innovation Day aims to promote innovation and entrepreneurship in the field of health among the university students. There is a total of eighteen Innovation Days around Europe taking place on the same day, this one was held in the Historical Building of the UB, the only one held in Catalonia.

The first prize was awarded to a group that had to solve how to promote mental health in universities. To do so, they proposed a conversation bot, or chatbot —as simulation conversation programs are named—through which the students would receive questions daily, in order to calculate the risk of suffering from depression or anxiety. The app would also detect other students with similar profiles and would suggest carrying out joint activities to help them, ranging from playing sports to volunteering, for instance. This would be completed with a mandatory session for first year students at the university to raise awareness on mental health problems. UB student David Garrido, member of the awarded team, says participating in Innovation Day allowed him to practice some of the theory knowledge he had received at class. David and the other members of the team will visit London in December, together with the winners of the other contests in Europe.

The second prize was given to the group that worked on environment, and specially, that had to solve the challenge of pollution in Barcelona. Their proposal was to launch an app to encourage people to go on foot instead of using other means of transport. This app would provide some rewards such as discounts in stores, and would show other people who are interested in doing the same itinerary to walk together. The profile of each user would show interests and preferences so as to adapt the needs of each person efficiently.

The third prize was given to the team working on nutrition, focusing on how to reduce malnutrition in developed countries. The team created an app to promote the increase of fruit and vegetable intake among youngsters aged between 18 and 22. The app consists on a series of discounts for healthy food in supermarkets and restaurants. When using those discounts, the app generates points that can be exchange for leisure activities, such as cinema tickets.

Around seventy students, apart from researchers and health professionals, participated in the Innovation Day in Barcelona, which started with an institutional opening. Afterwards, several experts gave their speeches to inspire students with their studies. Participants, organized in multidisciplinary groups, had to work on one of the proposed topics: nutrition, mental health, and environment and health. A challenge was given to each topic, so that students would have to find a solution with the help from a coach. During the activity, the students had to create a proposal to solve the challenge, through a social initiative or a business project.

At the end of the activity, which is led by the Department of Business of the UB with the support from the Vice-Rector’s Office for Entrepreneurship, Transfer and Innovation, students presented their proposals in front of a jury. They first chose the best solution from each field, and then among the final candidates, they chose an only winner.

Prizes account for 500 euros (1st), 300 euros (2nd) and 200 euros (3rd). The presented challenges were real problems for the current society that were presented in the EIT Health frame and were proposed by partner entities of the consortium, with the participation of almost all faculties of the UB and the validation from the experts. The aim is for the participation of Innovation Day to be a first step to bring the students of different disciplines to pursue a professional career related to innovation in health.

EIT Health, an international consortium formed by more than 140 leading companies, universities and research countries from more than fourteen European countries, counts on the support from the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT), a body from the European Union. With a 2,000 million euros budget for the next decade, the consortium .the most ambitious European initiative in the field of health with public funds- hopes to create about 340 business ideas and 165 start-ups, and to involve a million students in their specific programs. The University of Barcelona is a core partner of EIT Health Spain.

 

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