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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V027263/1
Title: SERVICE: Social and Emotional Resilience for the Vulnerable Impacted by the COVID-19 Emergency
Principal Investigator: Price, Professor B
Other Investigators:
Levine, Professor M Gooch, Dr D Bennaceur, Dr A
Stevenson, Professor CP
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr D Katz Dr A Stuart
Project Partners:
Department: Faculty of Sci, Tech, Eng & Maths (STEM)
Organisation: The Open University
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 August 2020 Ends: 31 March 2022 Value (£): 400,243
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EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
No relevance to Underpinning Sectors
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Summary on Grant Application Form


The social distancing imposed by COVID-19 is likely to effect unprecedented psychological impacts. This proposal responds to this need, applying our research on socio-technical resilience to:

- Investigate the lived experience of the pandemic on older adults and their support networks.

- Support the resilience of these networks in meeting ongoing emotional needs through the development of an adaptive digital platform which enables the recording, sharing, and analysing of wellbeing within a secure and privacy-respecting environment.

We will also produce critical data and resources:

- Multimethod public datasets on the social implications of COVID-19 and social distancing, the lived experience of social isolation, and the relationships between social support structures, digital engagement, and wellbeing over time.

- Methods for software adaptivity in response to an individual's psychological requirements.

Our work will address these research questions:

1. What are the benefits and shortcomings to socially distanced older people and their support networks of digitally recording, sharing and analysing psychological states?

2. How can a digital platform support the social support dynamics (requesting, offering and accepting) that were previously face-to-face?

3. What are the real-time relationships between social behaviours, loneliness, and emotion regulation for socially distanced older people?

4. How can we predict trends and trigger system adaptivity to encourage interpersonal engagement and thereby reduce the negative impacts of isolation?

This project seeks to contribute to understanding of and response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its impacts due to social isolation, by digitally facilitating support/carer interactions and gathering critical data to assist personalized interventions.

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