By Keri Heath | Oct 13 2016UNIVERSITY College Dublin has announced that it will lead a new European training initiative to improve the lives of cancer patients. Cancer: Activating Technology for Connected Health (CATCH) programme seeks to advance research on improving the lives of cancer survivors. This research will focus on incorporating technology and connected health programmes.Professor Brian Caulfield leads University College Dublin’s Connected Health Programme and is co-coordinator for the CATCH project.“More and more as advances in the treatment of cancer are made, we see more and more people surviving cancer,” Caulfield said. “That’s a wonderful thing, but one of the problems associated with that is a lot of the times, the treatments associated that people have to undergo for cancer are very aggressive, and that can leave the person… physically very deconditioned.”The programme will provide training and research opportunities for eight PhD students from across Europe, as they study ways to improve cancer survivors’ lives. The new €2.1 million innovative training program (INP), headed by UCD, partners six organizations from across three European companies.CATCH also includes the Universidad de Deusto in Spain and the University of Southern Denmark. Spanish companies Salumedia Techologías and Oncoavanze, as well as Irish healthcare provider Beacon Hospital, are also partners in the programme. The student researchers will spend half their time in academic settings and half in industrial sites, with four completing their university work at UCD.“This CATCH programme is part of a wider… series of digital or connected health research programs that are going on here in UCD,” Caulfield said. “UCD would be… it’s fair to say, leading this research in Ireland and we’d be one of the leaders on a European level.”The programme is funded by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 initiative. Each of the eight students is focused on short-term projects of incorporating digital supports into cancer rehabilitation. However, Caulfield said that the programme also hopes to create the leaders for the next generation of researchers in this area.The CATCH project is part of a larger Connected Health European programme which UCD is holding. Projects similar to CATCH that focus on other health areas are already underway and soon to launch. Caulfield said that this sort of research has been significant in UCD since 2007. The CATCH programme is set to last for four years, with the hopes of continuing the program after the current eight PhD students graduate in three years.