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Research and Innovation for Health: Metabolic Syndrome 2

During the minor students will work according Design Thinking principles. But first (week 1-3) they will start an orientational phase by studying the general aspects of the problem MS: What is the problem on (inter)national level, for who is it a problem, why is it a problem and how big is the problem?

At the end of these three weeks students will chose a line of research[1] and an assignment/client. Students will search for solutions within the themes of the Research Lines.

Students will become part of a team of 6-8 students. To complete the assignment student will work on the phases of Design Thinking.


Students will work on each phase for 3 weeks, before continuing to the next phase.

Phases of Design Thinking:

·       Empathize: gain insights and needs of the target groups/users

·       Define: defining the specific problem

·       Ideate: create solutions from different perspectives

·       Prototype: designing a physical solution for the problem

·       Test: testing, improving and retesting the prototype within the team and with future users

NB: the last phase in Design Thinking ‘the implementation phase’ is a small part of the minor: students have to make an advice for implementation and disseminate it to the client/stakeholder.



[1] The Nutrition and Dietetics programme has three research lines: Health Assessment Technology, Digital Behaviour Change and New Tech Foods



After following this course students have the ability to:


Oriental Phase:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of metabolic syndrome and its consequences for on quality of life and society;
  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the pathophysiology of metabolic syndrome;
  • critically analyse national and international guidelines relating to prevention and management of metabolic syndrome;
  • critically appraise the evidence to support strategies as a solution for the problem;

Empathize Phase:

  • to select the best available evidence (from scientific literature and uses the relevant information to gain insights and need of the specific target group;
  • prepare and conduct open and semi-structured interviews with the target group and stakeholders about personal values and perspectives on health;



Define Phase:

  • demonstrate how choices are made for the design of a practice based study and demonstrate the choice for the most suitable (research) instruments;
  • to communicate their understanding of the problem;



Ideate Phase:

  • phrase several different perspectives with regard to a formulated solution and can communicate possible dilemma’s which go along with the chosen solution’
  • use brainstorming as an ideation technique to facilitate concept creation;


Prototype Phase:

  • students can analyse and use data gained from the ideate phase to design a prototype;
  • students can use physical and paper prototypes and storyboard to make their design vision tangible and visual;
  • explain why the prototype has to be tested by the end-user;
  • use insights gathered by testing the prototype by the target group;


Implementation Phase:

  • are able to demonstrate understanding of the needs of the end user in relation to implementation of the product/service in the organisation of the client/stakeholder.


Studying in the second year or higher


The first 3 weeks will be tested individual:

·       position paper (5 ECTS); result of the introduction phase


In each phase of the Design Thinking method student teams (6-8 students) will deliver a professional product:

·       business canvas (5 ECTS); result of empathize phase

·       analysis of the problem (5 ECTS): result of the define phase

·       design/ design alternatives (5 ECTS): result of the design phase

·       prototype (5 ECTS); result of the prototype phase

·       evaluation and definite design (5 ECTS); result of test phase

Each product consists of three different parts:

·       product

·       evidence

·       reflection

Each product will be assessed with a rubric.

Student will hand in their products at the end of each phase. Resits will be handed in in week 10 or 20 of the minor


The minor consists of two parts of 15 ECTS. The first part of the minor ‘Metabolic Syndrome 1’ consist of the orientation, empathize and define phases. The second part of the minor ‘Metabolic Syndrome 2’ consists of the Ideate, prototype and Test phases.

Students can chose to participate in only the first part. They can follow the entire minor of 30 ECTS. It is also possible to start in the second part of the minor (15 ECTS).


Articles will partly be provided by the lectors. Students are motivated to search for evidence based information themselves or collect information by talking to expert or interviewing target groups.


In general every phase of the minor will contain the following teaching methods:

  • Students will prepare themselves for every lesson by making preparation assignments. Besides reading or watching literature/information, every assignment consists an active learning component: f.e. student will make a mindmap, instructional video or do an interview.
  • Thematic lessons. In these lessons relevant expertises will be integrated in specific themes (f.e. the prevention or treatment of MS). The assignments during the lessons always have an active component (learning by doing). Preparation assignments are discussed.
  • Guest lectures: real-life or using Skype.
  • Visiting the client. Aim: to discuss the assignment.
  • Project groups: the project groups will work during guided (supervised by a tutor) and unguided project groups on the different phases of Design Thinking and the different products.
  • Workshops: for example a workshop Business Canvas Model.