Thematic Focus

Social Sciences & Humanities

Social research allows us to tackle different societal challenges – for example, ageing societies or radicalisation,– and informs us to design approaches and technical solutions to address them. Therefore, the team of MINDS & SPARKS includes expertise from different social-scientific disciplines (e.gl, sociology, communication science, political science, …) and their respective theoretical backgrounds and perspectives. This allows us to address topics such as ageing and care, participation and migration, education, open science, radicalisation, and others. Furthermore, it allows us to apply social-scientific methodologies for different areas of application, from literature reviews to requirements analyses.

 

Especially when it comes to the development of novel information and communication technologies (ICT), social sciences are crucial to understand the societal challenges to be solved with a technical application. Furthermore, social scientific methodology is applied in user requirements analysis and human computer interaction (HCI), thus enabling the development of technical solutions that are tailored to the users’ needs. This ensures the uptake of the solutions, as well as user satisfaction. M&S has vast experience in carrying out requirements analyses, use-case design, end-user testing and piloting.

Future Automation

MINDS & SPARKS is devoted to cutting-edge advancements in the field of modern production and automation. Our expert team consists of engineers, scientists and project managers devoted to analyse, present and discuss the current status and impacts of advanced manufacturing, processing and technology. Additionally, we promote an international cooperation with focus on all aspects of intelligent manufacturing systems, factories of the future as well as on the production and assembly of technical products. Here, it is important to underline the synergy between components, corresponding automation, expert knowledge, education and transdisciplinary application of various technical and social methods.

 

MINDS & SPARKS contributes with innovative solutions to create a better and more sustainable future for all of mankind. This is the result of cross-field collaboration between researchers, scientists and engineers devoted to make a positive change. In order to define innovative solutions for today’s highly competitive global production environment, we integrate the following emerging concepts: Biologically inspired Systems, Intelligent Manufacturing Systems, Mobile Robots and more.

Healthcare and Active Assisted Living

Modern-day technical innovation in the field of health and aging is currently progressing towards pluralization of markets for both private consumers and regulated markets, presenting a challenge of a broad range of requirements and demanded expertise. Through constant advancement in information and communication technologies (ICT), novel ways to tackle health- and age-related problems are enabled, while further challenges are created through demographic transformation as well as through the usage of ICT. Current trends are set out to address diverse stakeholders, covering private consumers, businesses and decision-makers in medical and care sectors as well as municipalities.

Therefore, subjects like patient empowerment, active and healthy aging, eHealth and mHealth, personalized medicine as well as the so-called Silver Economy are growing in relevance in research across the world.
Due to our extensive expertise in research projects and development, we at MINDS & SPARKS are well-suited to tackle societal and technical challenges related to the field of smart health in promoting novel Active and Assisted Living (AAL) solution, to foster digital literacy of end-users and policymakers as well as contribute relevant know-how on big data, open data and information aggregation, harmonization and visualization.

Safety & Security

Being a complex subject, safety and security research needs to include numerous issues, such as organized crime, natural disasters, major events, protest movements, emergencies, and the protection of the citizens from potential terrorist attacks or petty crimes. At MINDS & SPARKS, security research combines both, the social science research and the analysis or evaluation of technological approaches. Digital security is a core field of MINDS & SPARKS, where we can not only bring in knowledge on the technical aspects but combining it with experience in a variety of scientific fields for developing tailored solutions. Together with expert partners, criminal law framework conditions are analyzed in terms of security and privacy.

 

Using a unique combination of tools and technologies, we design specific solutions that address privacy, security, and transparency in all phases of product development and implementation. Drawing on legal texts, past experiences, anonymization techniques, social and technological forecasting, and social science experiments, we develop socio-technical strategies that help technological solutions incorporate human rights and ethical concerns.
To ensure wide uptake of the innovative products for the next generation of secure societies and cities, MINDS & SPARKS connects providers and users to test and validate new services efficiently. To increase the overall quality of services we provide essential know-how on piloting plans and respective techniques and tools to integrate real-life experiences into projects.

ICT & Future Technologies

Research and development endeavours in ICT are a core part of the research agenda of the European Commission, enabling Europe novel innovations in a global competitive market. With emerging technologies like 5G communication and industry 4.0, European R&D organizations and companies have new chances to position and prove them among international competitors. With the motivation to deliver ICT to society, MINDS & SPARKS has built up a broad expertise anticipating future challenges in applications design and development in the fields of Internet of Things, Cyber-physical Systems as well as network technologies and services.  By steadily delving into new fields, we position ourselves to tackle new challenges in the fields of co-creation, digital learning, cloud computing and gamification, delivering high quality concepts, designs and developments. MINDS & SPARKS brings together professionals of diverse research backgrounds, including algorithms, architecture, data management, machine learning, privacy & security, user interfaces, and visualization.

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Research Studies

At MINDS & SPARKS we focus on applying various quantitative and qualitative research methods.  Thus, we can undertake quantitative survey design and expert interviews, end-user tests, content analysis and community research, focus groups, foresight scenario development, multi-stakeholder joint-evaluations as well as socio-technical studies and evaluations.

Technical Development

MINDS & SPARKS is also experienced along the software development cycle by designing strong user frontends and interfaces, we are strong in coding web applications using state-of-the-art software frameworks and open source components. The digital solutions help turn ideas into the actions required to mobilize individual and collective engagement for the co-creation of a more sustainable future and we are here to provide de best solution for all societal challenges.

Testing and Validation

In order to provide high quality software, we place a strong focus on quality assurance during the testing of our applications. Techniques such as continuous integration and automated testing help to incorporate the evaluation process into our software development life-cycle. Extensive knowledge on human-computer interaction as well as user experience testing complete the usability engineering package.

Training Development

As the team at MINDS & SPARKS has extensive experience in training development and delivery, we can assist in setting up the training agenda, learning objectives, modules, target audience, definition of delivery methods, as well as delivery of training through either e-learning methods or blended. Furthermore, with the help of our associate graphic designers, we can develop and design static and interactive training materials.

Project Management

MINDS & SPARKS provides you with experience in holistic project management and supports you professionally in implementing administrative, financial and coordination tasks. MINDS & SPARKS additionally provides quality assurance services for a successful project and elaborates roadmaps for establishing an ideal project structure.

Dissemination Activities

MINDS & SPARKS team is skilled in the creation of newsletters, factsheets, policy briefs, or user manuals. Additionally, the setup and maintenance of social media appearances are crucial for a successful knowledge and technology transfer within any initiative. These activities aim at an implementation according to the strategy defined in projects. MINDS & SPARKS can also support the development of exploitation plans, performing of detailed analyses of possible business models and provides assistance in writing scientific exploitation strategies and policy recommendations.

Exploitation Planning and Implementation

It is vital that the project’s exploitation potential is accurately assessed and that the business models, on which the innovative products or services will be based, are analysed. MINDS & SPARKS develops exploitation plans, performs detailed analyses of possible business models and provides assistance in writing business plans.

Science Communication

In order to complement the research activities, we also set up science events and conferences for a broad audience. In addition to rather classical formats, we get creative in organizing participatory science communication events such as co-creation activities, citizen science initiatives, science talks, challenges and Science Shop actions.

Networking and Partnerships

MINDS & SPARKS is connected to various research and innovation networks including research organisations, academic institutions, civil societies, NGOs, governments, municipalities, technology providers and industries in all kind of sectors including health, security, energy, environment, transport and space. We constantly try to expand our network of partners in new fields and countries to develop sustainable collaborations.

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