Student & ECR spotlights – Meet Louise Poppe, doing an interdisciplinary doctorate combining Movement and Sports Sciences and Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology

Please tell us about your career pathway to date (positions and institutes).  
In June 2015 I graduated as a Master of Science in Experimental and Theoretical Psychology at Ghent University. Currently, I am doing an interdisciplinary doctorate at the department of Movement and Sports Sciences and the department of Experimental-Clinical and Health Psychology at the same institution. Furthermore, I am an active member of ISBNPA’s e- and mHealth SIG.
How would you briefly describe your current research/job to someone who is not familiar with your field of study/work? What is your main research interest? 
The goal of my PhD is twofold. The first aim of my PhD was to develop a website and mobile application (‘MyPlan 2.0’) to support people with type 2 diabetes to increase their physical activity and decrease their sedentary behaviour. ‘MyPlan 2.0’ is based on self-regulation principles and helps users to translate their vague intentions (e.g. I would like to be more active) to specific plans for action (e.g. “On Sunday morning I walk for half an hour in the park”). The second goal of my PhD is to investigate the effectiveness of ‘MyPlan 2.0’ and its potential working mechanisms via a randomized controlled trial.
What are the main barriers you encounter/experience when conducting research, or what information/skills do you lack to conduct high quality research? 
I believe I have two main barriers for conducting my research. The first one is related to the characteristics of my study sample. The difficult and time-intensive process of recruiting patients often slows down my research. The second barrier is related to my own skills. I often find it difficult to coordinate the wide range of tasks (writing, mentoring students, recruiting patients, collecting data, analysing the data, etc.) involved in this project. At our department PhD students are required to make weekly action plans. This certainly helps me to prioritise the most important tasks and to keep the project running!
 What could help you as a student/ECR to further develop/grow in your current position? 
I have learned that talking to people from a different research domain definitely helps me to look further than my own project and see the bigger picture. For example, many of my colleagues work with a different target population and/or theoretical framework. Discussing their experiences and results often informs my own research.
What do you think will be the next most important development in the nutrition and/or physical activity field? 
Research in the domain of e- and mHealth is clearly booming. Advancements in this field offer both opportunities (e.g. the use of artificial intelligence) and challenges (e.g. high rates of attrition). I believe it will be of major importance to effectively integrate the input from different research domains, such as the computer sciences, psychology, communication sciences and health sciences. 

E-mail: [email protected]Twitter: @louise_poppe