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Nevena Balezdrova is a first year PhD researcher at Brunel University London. After completing an MA in Design Strategy & Innovation, Nevena decided to develop her disseration research topic further, with excellent supervision by Dr Youngok Choi and Dr Busayawan Lam. 

Nevena's previous research focused on elderly disabled users and social care system integration, whereas her current work solely focuses on building systems for elderly migrants. The project covers case study comparison on social care systems & service initiatives aimed at older ethnic migrants from around the world, understanding the impact of migration on system and user, social ontology and social identity, as well as means of using co-design to help build better, more appropriate services for older ethnic users.  

Working Title: 

'Invisible Minorities' Improving Social Care Service Engagement of 'Young Old' Migrant Elders Using Co-Design Principles

Research Aim:

To reflect upon four key areas: governance, systems impact, social care policy and social identity, to determine elements that inhibit service use for elderly migrants in the UK. The study focuses on how social care can help serve as a platform of social integration for this group, forming a definitive understanding derived from the perspective of the state, charitable sector and the users themselves. Through a systematic literature review and key stakeholder interviews, as a means of combining perspective, the research considers some of the ways in which communities are able to develop support services for social integration of elderly migrant citizens and support their family members. This will also help identify how design-thinking and codesign principles can support overall statutory services and systems design.

Professional Development: 

- Nevena has attended several design and design research events: EAD Design for Next 2017 Conference, Design Research Society Conference 2018 and Academic Design Management Conference 2018

- The Department of Design at Brunel University London has granted Nevena funding in support of her attendance for Social Care Reform Forum 2018 (Improving Care & Support for Older People) in support of her career development, on the basis of exemplary conduct 

- Awarded the Vice Chancellor Travel Prize for her acceptance to present at the International Association of Societies of Design Research Conference 2019, held at the Manchester School of Art on 2-5th September 2019

- Presented paper at ServDes 2020/2021 

- Awarded a scholarship visit to the Cumberland Lodge's Life Beyond PhD 2021 Conference

As activities outside of her research project, Nevena was her cohort's representative. She also works as a Graduate Teaching Assistant for the MA Design Research course and the BA UI/UX Design course. She was also selected to conducted research in the field of Co-Design for the development of Artificial Intelligence applications and assistive technology for impaired users. This is a collaborative project between Brunel University London and CitiMaaS, a tech-based start-up in 2019/2020.