Policy sessions

At AAATE 2019 the following policy sessions are scheduled:

  1. Quality in AT Research: Re-Evaluating Use of the Medical Model
  2. EU Accessibility legislation and implementation
  3. Global challenges in AT education and training
  4. Global challenges on Assistive Technology Transfer: from basic research towards the end user.
  5. Standardisation
  6. Assistive Technology Best Practices and Challenges in Higher Education in Europe
  7. Challenges in implementing IoT based person-centred care services

1. Quality in AT Research: Re-Evaluating Use of the Medical Model

Traditionally, Assistive Technology (AT) research has been approached from a medical model – with the application of AT as an intervention akin to medication prescription. Research quality frameworks in evidence-based medicine prioritize RCTs, single ‘active ingredient’ interventions, and outcomes which are sensitive to change and easily measured. AT research is challenged by this model due to heterogeneity of populations, need for individualized approaches, and application of a social model of disability. AT interventions often include multiple ‘active ingredients’, and complex outcomes (e.g., community participation). This discussion focuses on re-framing our approach to research design and quality in AT.


Dr. Krista L. Best: Researcher, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration; Adjunct Professor, Universite Laval, Canada

Dr. Francois Routhier: Researcher, Centre for Interdisciplinary Research in Rehabilitation and Social Integration; Associate Professor, Universite Laval, Canada

Prof. Mac MacLachlan: Professor of Psychology and Social Inclusion, Director, Assisting Learning and Living (ALL), Maynooth University, Ireland, Research and Innovation Lead, WHO GATE Initiative

Dr. Roger Smith: Professor, Director, Rehabilitation Research Design and Disability Center, University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee

Dr. Katerina Mavrou: Associate professor at the European University of Cyprus and President elect of AAATE

Chair: Emma M. Smith (University of British Columbia, Canada; ALL Institute, Maynooth University, Ireland)

2. EU Accessibility legislation and implementation

Policy development and legislation has been the initiating and driving force for the social change towards inclusion. They support and facilitate (digital) Accessibility and Assisitve Technology awareness, R&D, implementation, training and use by all stakeholders. This session will outline and discuss the state of the art and ongoing activities in policy, legislation and implementation at European level as a globally harmonised and major driving force for national/local developments. The session will call for active involvement of all stakeholders to take up the opportunities for support and cooperation to strengthen a more inclusive society.

Chair: Klaus Miesenberger (University of Linz, Austria)


Inmaculada Placencia-Porrero (The European Commission)

Alejandro Moledo (European Disability Forum): “Accessibility in EU ICT legislation + a tip for implementation”

Gudrun Stock (The European Commission): “Raising the bar on Digital Accessibility across the EU – Policy measures and research funding”.

 3. Global challenges in AT education and training

Key for successful outcomes in AT is the presence of competence among the stakeholders involved, first among those that have to advice on the adoption of specific technologies. Although there are examples of certification programmes or accredited training courses across the globe, there is no overall model or global approach to AT education and training. The International Alliance of AT Organisations (IAATO) will discuss the pro’s and con’s of having such a model and how it should or could look like.

Introduction: Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf (Co-Chair of the IAATO)

Round table discussion with Norman Gift, Silvana Contepomi, Lori Richard, Natasha Layton, Elli Kafritsa and other invited experts moderated by Roger O. Smith (Co-chair of the IAATO)

4. Global challenges on Assistive Technology Transfer: from basic research towards the end user. 

Technology Transfer (TT) is still a challenging task when it is confronted with Assistive Technology (AT). Due to its peculiarity, Assistive Technology Transfer (ATT) requires a coordinated system in order to provide innovative solutions to the end user. However, different challenges emerge within this process, influencing the roles of involved stakeholders. Universities, industry and the government, therefore, should be constituents of a holistic process which will foster innovation from basic prototypes until the final product, reaching the end user.  

Chair: Osorio Neto (RMIT – Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology/Ministry of Science, Technology, Innovations and Communications from Brazil) 


Luca Fanucci (Director of the National Lab on Assistive Technologies of the CINI consortium) 

Pasquale Fedele (CEO and founder of LiquidWeb)

David Banes (Director of David Banes Access and Inclusion Services and was formerly CEO, at Mada the Qatar Assistive Technology and Accessibility Center)

Beatrice Lucaroni (European Commission, DG Research & Innovation)

5. Standardisation

The fact that AT in several of its subfields have reached a high level of maturity and that AT increasingly is or should be integrated into larger system environments (cross-border portals, clouds, eHealth systems etc.) the need for higher recognition in existing standards, more AT-focused standards and possibly new standards is imminent.

AAATE/SIG “Standardisation” would be a good collaboration platform of experts to start an initiative to this extent. For this purpose, the establishment of a collaborative system platform is indispensable.

During the session e report will be given of the work of the SIG workshop held in the pre-conference programme on Tuesday.

6. Assistive Technology Best Practices and Challenges in Higher Education in Europe

The session is proposed and organized by CNUDD (The Conference of Italian University Rectors)

This session will present and discuss best practises and challenges in Assistive Technologies in Higher Education in different European Countries including discussion about teaching methods, teaching environment (rooms, labs, etc.), e-learning, AT tools, ecc.. for student and/or professor with disability. The topic will be addressed from both the professor and the student perspectives.

Session Chair: Rabih Chattat: Rector Delegate for Disability at the University of Bologna


John Gilligan: Technological University of Dublin, Ireland

Klaus Miesenberger: University of Linz, Austria

Dominique Archambault: University Paris 8, France

Luca Fanucci: University of Pisa, Italy

Followed by a round table discussion moderated by Alberto Arenghi: Rector Delegate for Disability at the University of Brescia

7. Challenges in implementing IoT based
person-centred care services

This session is organised by the ProACT consortium with support from the European Commisson’s Horizon 2020 funding programme.

The European Commisison is not responsible for the content of the session and neither for the use that maybe made of the information provided.


Part 1. IoT based applications and services: technologies, (big) data treatment and ethical issues

An increasing amount of institutions responsible for welfare, as well as public and private service providers, look at opportunities offered by the Internet of Things (IoT) to gather data of clients, basically to anticipate their  needs, prevent critical events and increase their autonomy and safety;  in other words to better remain in contact with clients and provide them with services that are more effective and more efficient.

In this first part of the session we will look at some of the most relevant ethical implications of IoT based services. Central questions are:

-Are the actual IoT, Cloud and Analytics technologies ready and mature to support digital based care services?

-What are the opportunities and risks of collecting large quantities of personal and environmental data?

-How to protect collected data and prevent their misuse?

-How to inform users that the privacy of their data is guaranteed? How to do if large numbers of citizens will refuse digital services because they are unwilling to authorize data treatment?

Introductory speakers: Mirko Orsini (Datariver), Paolo Ciampolini (University of Parma)

Panel discussion: Klaus Hoeckner (EC High level expert group on Artifical Intelligence), Laura Lecchi (University of Bologna), Filippo Lupo (Cooperativa Sole), Andrea Monteriù (AitAAL), Sergio Duretti (Lepida ScpA)

Chair: Massimiliano Malavasi (AIAS Bologna onlus)

Part 2. Removing barriers to upscaling and transfer of digital based integrated care platforms

Notwithstanding the existence of significant experiences in supporting persons with disabilities and older adults with IoT based technologies, many of these find difficulties in surviving experimental phase, scaling up or in being transferred to other contexts.

In this second part of the session we will look at the most relevant barriers to the successful transfer of digital solutions for integrated care from one context to another and how these barriers can be addressed by applying more universal and user centred design principles.

Introduction: Maite Ferrando – (AAATE/ProACT Consortium)

Experiences: Lisa Cesario and Arianna Gherardini – (WeCareMore, AIAS Bologna onlus), Giovanna Camorali (IBM Italia S.p.A.)

Panel: Beatrice Lucaroni (European Commission, DG Research & Innovation), Lorenzo Chiari (University of Bologna), Marco Franchini (President of ASP Terre di Castelli), Irene Bruno (ASP Città di Bologna)             

Chair: Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf (AIAS Bologna onlus/ProACT Consortium)