HEI: What’s new?

Always on the move!
These are HEI-Lab’s latest developments.

HEI methodological pipeline

Having on board researchers with diverse scientific backgrounds is a competitive plus, but requires us to work on building common ground.

HEI-Lab embraces both qualitative and quantitative approaches and the pipeline we present here offers a methodological overview on how to link research based on different methodological assumptions.

New action points
Transdisciplinary kick-off!

Avatar Task Force

Leader: Pedro Gamito

ATF meeting

The Avatar Task Force (ATF) is an “open doors” structure working on the definition of the use of avatars for psychology and design purposes.

There are four ongoing lines of action: forensic psychology, social psychology, and clinical/health psychology and neuropsychology.

  • Forensic psychology: we are creating a 3D immersive experimental paradigm aimed at capturing juvenile offenders’ affective and emotional responses during exposure to critical events, encompassing physical and emotional threat
  • Social psychology: we are defining the movements and characteristics of Avatars in close interpersonal interactions, with a focus on immediate facial/emotional and gestural responses and on intergroup effects
  • Clinical/health psychology: we are developing a responsive avatar to be integrated on our VR biofeedback system to guide patients in relaxing exercises to help managing anxiety disorders
  • Neuropsychology: we are working in the development of an interactive avatar to aid the patients in their daily routines of cognitive training within virtual reality environments

Online Studies & Interventions 

Leader: Inês Jongenelen

This action will incorporate ‘system thinking’ flow of action and some of the digital contextual PPS designed, developed and validate on action 2, aiming at developing and validating online intervention protocols to be use by our community of researchers and therapists.

For the period of 2018-2019, we will focus on:

  1. the examination of technology-based and psychological factors associated with individuals’ intentions of use of internet-based psychological interventions
  2. the examination of therapists’ attitudes and behaviors regarding the internet-based psychological interventions
  3. the development of research protocols of interventions to promote individuals’ and therapists’ positive attitudes and behaviors toward internet-based psychological interventions
  4. the development of applications for promotion of psychological and social well-being in adolescents
  5. Digital instruments for psychological assessment can help to overpass inherent limitations found in the traditional “paper and pencil” testing. Therefore, new digital versions (standalone or web-based) can be developed,  tested in terms of feasibility, acceptability and psychometric qualities such as validity and reliability, refined, and further used as part of the psychological testing

Education of the Future

Leader: Américo Mateus

Education for the Future session.

This action intends to implement a research model based on methodologies: (a) Research in Action and (b) “Model building”, characterized by a “Quali-Quanti” approach, ie a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods and instruments.

The differentiating factors of other Future Classroom projects underway by other groups and / or research teams involve the creation of a “Rich and INTEGRATED Research Environment”. In complementarity with other existing projects, it is intended that the environment be complex and integrated, by integrating more areas of knowledge into research design.

The classroom object of this study should not only be seen as a Project Based Learning approach, collaborative, modular, prepared for experimentation and where purely and simply a set of “disciplines” will be taught in a different way from “Traditional” through the use of new active pedagogical practices, for example. That example of context of research we call it “poor research environment”, whose result is the validation of hypotheses by means of inductive or deductive.

CCIEC – Centro de Competências para a Inovação em Educação e Cidadania

Parallel to these actions, and with the focus of knowledge/technology transfer (through Models, Processes and Tools) we created, along with ULHT’s CEid – research centre of the ULHT School of Education, the CCIEC: Centro de Competências em Inovação para a Educação e Cidadania.


SHAFE: Smart Healthy Age-Friendly Environments: SHAFE is coordinated by Cáritas Coimbra and AFEdemy, in close cooperation with main partners, such as the European Innovation Partnership on Active and Healthy Ageing (EIP-AHA), European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities (EIP-SCC), Reference Sites Collaborative Network, European Covenant on Demographic Change, Eurocities, Utrecht University (as former partner of the European Framework for Age-Friendly Housing), European Centre Social Welfare Policy, European Health Telematics Association (EHTEL) and ECHAlliance.

Porto4Ageing network. This consortium brings together more than 90 organizations, most of them established within the Porto Metropolitan Area, in the Northern Region of Portugal: https://www.porto4ageing.up.pt

R3iAP – Public Art Information, Research and Intervention Network: Research network committed to academic research, monitoring and provision of services on all aspects related to the promotion, study, conservation, preservation and restoration of public art in Portugal and in Portuguese-speaking countries or communities, provided that it is mandated for this purpose by official and / or scientific institutions of their countries and communities. The proponent institution is UCP-CITAR (Catholic University of Porto) and the partners of this network are, by cities, Porto: UCP-CITAR; FAUP-CEAU; FBAUP- i2ADS; Lisbon: FBAUL-CIEBA; FCSH-IHA; VICARTE-FBAUL / FCT; ULHT-HEI-LAB; Évora: UE-HERCULES; Covilhã: UBI-CIES; Caldas da Rainha: MJM


HEI-Lab researcher Joana Carvalho’s R&D project “FEMOFFENCE – The myth of innocence: A mixed methods approach toward the understanding of female sexual offending behavior was funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation with € 127.993,70.

HEI-Lab researcher Pedro Gamito’s R&D project “AUTOMOTIVE: AUTOmatic multiMOdal drowsiness detecTIon for smart VEhicles” was funded by the Portuguese Science Foundation. The consortium is led by INESC TEC, with the participation of HEI-Lab, ISEL and CARDIOID, having been funded with 238.786,63€.

In collaboration with Centro Social Paroquial do Campo Grande, we won the second prize of BPI Seniores (https://www.bancobpi.pt/responsabilidade-social/solidariedade/premio-bpi-seniores) for the project ‘Combater a demência com Realidade Virtual’, with a value of 32.000€.


HEI-Lab Director, Pedro Gamito, was awarded with the Life Achievement Award at the  23rd Annual CyberPsychology, CyberTherapy & Social Networking Conference. “This award has a tradition of honoring a person who has demonstrated outstanding lifetime achievements in the fields of advanced technologies and healthcare. It is the highest honor given by our community.”  (source: http://interactivemediainstitute.com/cypsy23/awards-honors/)