VUB VRIJE UNIVERSITEIT BRUSSEL
The Frailty in Ageing (FRIA) research department at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel is a clinical and research team that typically represents multidisciplinary competence, needed for both fundamental and clinical research on frailty in the elderly. FRIA is chaired by Ivan Bautmans and counts now 39 members (14 senior, 4 postdoc and 17 pre-doc researchers, and 4 research assistants) with many different background profiles. FRIA runs a comprehensive research program to untangle the underlying mechanisms and to develop interventions for prevention and rehabilitation of frailty in the aged. (see also www.vub.ac.be/FRIA for details). The past 5 years FRIA published 206 articles in international peer-reviewed journals (most in rank Q1) and supervised 9 successfully PhD’s and ongoing 13 PhD’s. I Bautmans conceived the muscle fatigue resistance test in the early years 2000 and his work on muscle fatigability in frailty was awarded by 6 scientific prizes among which the 3 most prestigious Belgian gerontology awards: •2013 King Baudouin Foundation’s PRIZE MARIE-THÉRÈSE DE LAVA •2010 BORGERHOFF PRIZE •2009 DE COOMAN PRIZE. I Bautmans coordinates the Gerontopole Brussels, an ongoing Interdisciplinary Research Program @VUB on Active and Healthy Ageing (funded with 105k€/year) and an ongoing Strategic Growth Research Program @VUB on the anti-inflammatory effects of exercise in the aged (funded with 94k€/year). He also obtained external funding from FWO, Willy Gepts Fund, EU (FP7 program), WCF (The Netherlands) and sponsored clinical trials. Leading WP0, VUB is responsible for the coordination and management of the FORTO project. I Bautmans will act as coordinator of the FORTO project. The FRIA team of VUB will contribute to all other WP’s with a prominent role in the development of the clinical algorithm, the feasibility study and the scientific dissemination.
For this project, FRIA’s expertise will be complemented by prof. Kurt Barbé of the research department biostatistics and medical informatics (BISI) at the Vrije Universiteit Brussel. This group works on a variety of topics ranging from fundamental problems in biostatistics to the support of research in other research departments by assisting in the statistical analyses at hand. The team supervised by K Barbé is oriented towards the advancement of biostatistics under customized data assumptions. As a result, we aim at modifying the standard statistical methodology to match these with data properties present in medical sciences. As a result, we currently hold an interest in non-parametric statistics for multiway designs for pre-clinical trials, statistical tests for fMRI under Rician noise conditions, a study of the data properties needed for the application of random forests in clinical decision support, and time series analysis under anomalous diffusion inducing long-term memory effects. The BISI group holds 2 professors, 2 postdoctoral researchers and 5 PhD students. Barbé’s team published around 48 research papers where 70% is in various Q1 journals, complemented by mostly Q2 journals. Various project funding has been obtained from the research foundation Flanders as well as private companies outsourcing statistical analyses to obtain an unbiased report. The group holds 5 international scientific prizes including two personal recognitions to K Barbé, a best paper award, and 2 decorations marking the importance of the PhD topic of two PhD researchers to the field. K Barbé’s role in the FORTO project will consist in providing expertise for the refinement and validation of the clinical algorithm, and related mathematical/statistical modelling of the data captured by the prototype device.
As subcontractor of VUB, IntoTheMinds will be provide expertise regarding market research and business case building. IntoTheMinds is a 100% privately held market research firm which has been active in Belgium for more than 10 years. It has now offices in Pairs (France) too and focuses on scientific methods. IntoTheMinds does all research in-house with a team of 8 people (among whom 2 PhD’s) and combines techniques to deliver reliable insights. The techniques used span from qualitative (individual interviews, ethnography, focus groups) to quantitative techniques. Since 5 years IntoTheMinds has also added Big Data analysis (segmentation, structural equation modelling, PATH analysis) to reveal actual consumers behaviours. IntoTheMinds is active on the Belgian market (ca. 50% of its revenues) and abroad (mainly in France, Luxembourg and Germany). It realizes approximately 20 market research assignments per year for all types of customers (large companies, small and medium enterprises) and across all sectors of activity (projects of 2019 include sport, broadcasting, cosmetics, FMCG, banking, clothing, press, hospitality, medicine). In 2018 IntoTheMinds was contracted by the UCL Hospitals to conduct a similar research to this one, investigating the adoption of a e-Health device among doctors, nurses and patients. This project was supported by the FEDER fund. For the FORTO project, IntoTheMinds will carry out a market research and build a business case showing the market potential of the developed system.