D²iCE researchers contribute to research and innovation project around use of machine learning for mental health in the €3 million Innovation Fund Denmark Personae project

Posted on April 13, 2023 


D²iCE researchers Dr. Pepijn van de Ven and Dr. Eoin Martino Grua will start a new project, called Personae with a consortium of Danish partners funded by the Innovation Fund Denmark. In this €3 million project, Dr. Van de Ven and Dr. Grua will be responsible for the machine learning components that will allow automatic screening of patients in mental health interventions and the personalisation of treatments based on patient needs.

This new research and innovation project will provide easier access to digital treatments for patients with depression. An investment from Innovation Fund Denmark will enable the use of artificial intelligence in the process of screening patients and in the delivery of digital treatments. Consequently, the treatments are adapted to each specific individual. The Personae project is a collaboration between Region of Southern Denmark, the company Monsenso and the D²iCE research group at the University of Limerick, Ireland.

More than one million people suffer from mental disorders according to the WHO. In Western Europe only half of the people suffering from anxiety or depression receive adequate treatment. At the same time, the health care systems are challenged due to shortage of health care workers.

Therefore, a new research and innovation project will develop a digital treatment for people with depression, where artificial intelligence matches the treatment to the individual patient’s needs. The Innovation Fund Denmark has supported the project with 22 million Danish Kroner.

Today, digital programs provide evidence-based treatment for people with depression, for example in the Danish clinic Internetpsykiatrien.dk. Research has shown that digital treatments with therapist support can achieve the same clinical effect as traditional therapy for people with mild to moderate depression. With thousands of citizens on waiting lists or with no contact to the mental health services, the potential is huge. However, it is a challenge to deliver a personally tailored intervention this way. Some persons benefit from a fully automated treatment program, others need a treatment program supported by a psychologist, and finally, persons in complex life situations need physical meetings with a therapist.

"The Innovation Fund Denmark's donation makes it possible for us to develop an artificial intelligence, which in conjunction with, for example, the Danish national digital clinic Internetpsykiatrien.dk or Monsenso's digital health solution can ensure that more people quickly get access to the right treatment. The next generation of digital treatments will make it much easier to offer a fully or partially digital treatment, which matches the needs of the individual", says Kim Mathiasen, head of research at the Center for Digital Psychiatry, who leads the Personae project.

"We see a huge potential in this project. It enables further development of our digital health solution, so that we utilize the patients' own data on symptoms and life situation to engage them, adapt efforts to the individual, and support clinical decisions on a large scale", says Thomas Lethenborg, CEO of Monsenso. ”The unique, patient-reported data that will be generated from the screening and continuous use of Monsenso’s solution in Internetpsykiatrien is a fantastic foundation for development, training and validation of algoritms for automatisation of decision support and optimisation of treatment pathways”, says Pepijn Van de Ven, Senior Lecturer at the University of Limerick.

The primary ambition of the project is to develop an intelligent individualization of treatment content and delivery to match the patients' symptoms and life situation. Among other things, the algorithm will predict risk of premature treatment drop-out and support both patients' and clinicians' treatment decisions. The new intelligent treatment will be embedded in the public clinic Internetpsykiatrien.dk, which is operated by the Centre for Digital Psychiatry on behalf of the five Danish regions and in the digital platform developed by the Danish welfare tech company Monsenso. Their platform is already in use in 15 countries.

The project is led by Center for Digital Psychiatry, Region of Southern Denmark, which in a Danish and International context, is a frontrunner of Internet-based therapy in relation to both research, development and operation. This project links their research and extensive clinical experience with competences and commercial platform at Monsenso and the unique skills with artificial intelligence at University of Limerick, Ireland.


Innovation Fund Denmark’s Investment: 16.506.991 mio. kr.  

Overall budget: 22.133.718 mio. kr.  

Duration: 4 years  

Official title: Personae: Personalised Digital Treatment of Depression  

About the partners

Centre for Digital Psychiatry, Region of Southern Denmark aims for all Danish citizens to have easy and equal access to mental health care. Centre for Digital Psychiatry is, both national and international frontrunners in development, research and operation of digital treatment of mental disorders.

Monsenso's evidence-based digital health solution contributes to more persons getting better help for their mental conditions and delivers treatment at lower costs. Monsenso has developed a scalable product, which utilize data driven intelligence for diagnosis, prevention and treatment within mental health care. Their product is delivered to more than 15 countries around the world.

University of Limerick, Department of Electronic & Computer Engineering, Faculty of Science and Engineering are experts in research and teaching in IT. They are leading in research in artificial intelligence in the field of Internet-based therapy.

Depressionsforeningen is a national patient organisation based on volunteers. Their aim is to achieve the best possible conditions for people suffering from depression, bipolar disorder and their relatives. The organisation works on improving knowledge of the disorders and destigmatisation. It lobbies for this group of people politically and in the health care system.

Is It A Bird is a strategic innovations bureau, which translates deep human understanding to new business concepts, opportunities and innovation skills. They employ methodology from the political sciences, behavioral economy and design thinking.