Domain: Research

Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology

Improving data and evidence to support the provision of assistive technology

Data and evidence forms the backbone of innovation and decision making in the AT world. Information about AT needs, access and success rates is not always easy to find. This kind of information may be held by individual organisations, or is not accessible in the public domain. Moreover, high quality data and evidence is needed to draw accurate conclusions and make solid plans for the provision of AT in different contexts across the world.

Supporting organisations

In response to this, Dr Dafne Zuleima Morgado Ramirez is handling requests from external organisations and from academics, to support the development of high quality data and evidence to support AT provision.

“It’s a win-win situation, It enables us to access data that has been gathered by organisations working in the field, which helps with our overall aims of the GDI Hub and AT2030. And for the organisations we work with, they need the skills of us as academic researchers, for example, to research project planning, to perform data processing and analysis, or to do scoping reviews and critical analysis, among other skills.”

The organisations Morgado Ramirez works with go on to use this jointly developed data and evidence to write papers, policies, and journal reports. The purpose of these documents is always to push forward the provision of AT in some capacity.

In order to request data and evidence support from the GDI Hub team, organisations must submit a request explaining what they need assistance with, and what they are trying to achieve. If this fits with the skills and capacity of the GDI Hub, the request is accepted and the teams collaborate for an agreed amount of time. In some instances the support lasts for a short amount of time on a specific project; in other cases, the GDI Hub team may provide regular support over a number of years.

So far, a diverse range of organisations have requested data and evidence support through this project. This includes a social enterprise in South Africa, who needed help to capture and analyse their model of wheelchair provision in relation to collective systems change.

Next steps

Morgado Ramirez says that data and evidence is a vital area that needs to be continually invested in within the AT world. “Without data and evidence, I cannot see any improvements in the provision of assisted technology,” Morgado Ramirez said. The work done under this project feeds into making the AT space more effective, which ultimately helps more users with AT needs.

Prior to joining UCL and the GDI Hub, Morgado Ramirez obtained a PhD in Biomechanics and Sports Science, an MSc in Biomedical Engineering, a Postgraduate Diploma in Rehabilitation Engineering and an undergraduate degree in Biomedical Engineering. Having formerly worked in industry as a Clinical Engineer, and now working as a Senior Research Fellow at the UCL Interaction Centre (UCLIC), Morgado Ramirez brings a wealth of experience to each of the data and evidence projects run through the GDI Hub.

Funded by: UK Aid, through AT2030 programme