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JOINclusion #2

  /  JOINclusion #2


The collaboration between the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering at Maastricht University, Odyssea, the Natural and Artificial Cognition Lab at the “Federico II” University of Naples, the Fondazione Mondo Digitale and the University of West Attika has given rise to a project dedicated to game-based learning for the development of soft skills.

Social inclusion

Innovation in education

Psychological and cognitive science

Collaborative games

Artificial Intelligence for personalization and recommendation engines

Affective computing

JOINclusion – Joint problem-solving strategy toward social inclusion of children with a migrant background, funded as part of the Erasmus+ Programme, will promote the social inclusion of students in primary and first-degree secondary schools (ages 7-12) through the use of a mobile app. The tool, designed in collaboration with psychologists, aims to develop scenarios that will allow the students to train their empathy, strengthening pro-social behavior.

The scenarios are designed to promote dialogue between participants and facilitate the comprehension of feelings and views. The game scenarios are designed based on the needs of schools through teachers and students from the initial phases of app development.

The game is also powered by machine learning techniques that have been conceived to personalize and improve user experience. Interaction with the game is designed to drive self-reflection and interaction.

Professors teaching classes in the 7-12 age range can communicate their interest in participating by completing the following online form.

For further information on the project, please contact the Odyssea Coordinator: loukas.oikonomakis@odyssea.com



  • Systematic literature review and analysis of good practices
  • Development of the prototype and game scenarios
  • Pilot application in collaboration with the classes
  • Evaluation to validate the tool
  • Training course to support teachers for the integration of play in teaching


Universiteit Maastricht (UM) is the youngest University in the Netherlands. It is rapidly expanding and has developed a strong international presence, while it is placed in ninth place in the 2022 Times Higher Education (THE) 200 Under 50 ranking for best young universities in the world. UM’s participation is through the Department of Data Science and Knowledge Engineering (DKE).  The DKE department is being top-ranked in the demanding Keuzegids and Elsevier ratings over the years. The research group has its main focus on machine learning, personalization, human-machine interaction, computer vision and bio-inspired methods in single and multi-agent systems, and robotic applications. Its researchers have strong experience in the design and implementation of AI-endowed interfaces for education and health applications, emotion recognition, adaptive computing, as well as autonomous systems (software or robots). Their experience in automated human behavior recognition using the latest advanced in deep learning, has been recently applied within multiple EU projects (MaTHiSiS, ICT4Life, Procare4Life) in real operational settings in education, vocational training and e-health.

Odyssea is a nonprofit organization that supports young vulnerable people to have access to employment opportunities in society. We provide tailored vocational and life-skills training combined with employability services that bridge young people with the world of work.

Our vision is to build a world where all young people thrive by realizing their full potential.

Our mission is to ensure that young people have equal opportunities in society by harnessing the power of knowledge for employment and personal development.

The University of Naples Federico II is the main university of Naples and one of the most important in Italy and Europe. Established by Frederick II (Emperor of the Holy Roman Emperor and King of Sicily) through a generales licterae, it is the oldest state secular university in Europe. The NAC Laboratory (Natural and Artificial Cognition Lab) of the University of Naples NAC, has long and extensive experience in the development of technologies for learning. Within this sector, both from a theoretical and practical point of view, the laboratory conducts research in different areas of the psychological and cognitive sciences. The lab has a multidisciplinary nature, where collaborate psychologists, philosophers, engineers and computer scientists. UNINA brings its expertise in the areas of TEL, psychological and cognitive sciences as applied to education, as well as curriculum development from the participation in several (European) projects such as INF@NZIA DIGI.Tales 3.6, ENACT (Enhancing Negotiation skills through on-line Assessment of Competencies and interactive mobile Training), ACCORD (Attain Cultural integration through COnflict Resolution skill Development) or DoCENT (Digital Creativity ENhanced in Teacher Education).

Fondazione Mondo Digitale (FMD)  is a private-law body with non-profit legal personality. The Foundation has been founded in 2001 through a public-private partnership between the Municipality of Rome and 6 large ICT companies.  FMD headquarters are located at “Città Educativa” in Rome, a public center of best practices for innovation in education managed by FMD. In accordance with the objectives stated in its statute, FMD works for an inclusive knowledge society by blending innovation, education, inclusion and fundamental values. Its mission is to promote social innovation, social inclusion and innovation in education, with special attention to categories at risk of social exclusion. FMD concentrates its efforts on 6 transversal macro-areas of critical systemic importance for society: (i) Education for Life; (ii) Innovation in education and training; (iii) Social Innovation; (iv) Active Ageing & Intergenerational Solidarity; (v) Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees; (vi) upskilling/reskilling for employability and entrepreneurship. FMD develops and pilots innovative pedagogical models and tools in education and training, based on the use of technologies, researching in partnerships with companies, schools, NGOs, local and national authorities, at European and national level with a deeply-rooted presence in the community. It counts on a multi-skilled and multilingual staff experienced in both EU project management and high-level communication and dissemination activities.

UWC Maastricht brings together young people from all directions of life to work together towards a peaceful and sustainable future.

We offer a state-of-the-art international education for students from age 4 in our primary school until age 19 in the Diploma Programme in our secondary school.

The University of West Attica (UniWA) was founded (in 2018) as the result of merging two Technological Institutes (TEI of Athens and Piraeus University of Applied Sciences) in the country. UniWA now has 5 Schools and 26 Departments, constituting the third biggest university in Greece in terms of enrolled students.
UniWA participates in JOINclusion through two departments: the Industrial Design and Production Engineering and the department of electric and electronic engineering and more specifically, the CoNSeRT (CoMPUTER Networks & Services Research Team). Its main objectives include research and teaching at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, the establishment of appropriate infrastructures, participation in research programs, provision of services and interconnecting with social, scientific and productive organizations on subjects related to the research focus of the Lab. CoNSeRT has been active in research focusing on the design and implementation of computer network and application solutions. The team that participates in JOINclusion is supervised by Dr Helen (Nelly) Leligou assisted by professor Charalampos Z. Patrikakis, both with more than 20 years of experience in research and in European and national research projects where they act either as project managers, technical or scientific managers and participants.