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Research Initiative for Activity Studies and Occupational Therapy

Activity is central to everyday human existence and the conduct of a good life. Activity also encompasses participation in communities and social life. Researchers and students affiliated with RIAS aim to understand how activity in its various forms is related to individual and social well-being, broadly construed to include developmental trajectories as well as psychosocial and health outcomes. Activity may be both a mechanism of change as well as an important outcome itself.

Research orientation


RIAS faculty and students seek to develop cutting-edge theory, empirical research, and interventions for different populations using this perspective on activity. We aim to develop knowledge that is descriptive, interpretive, and explanatory by using various methodological approaches to address individual, community, and population-based problems. Goals are to directly and indirectly improve individual and societal well-being, especially through translation among theory, empirical evidence, and clinical practice.

Who we are


Faculty associated with RIAS have a connection to the disciplines of occupational therapy and occupational science, but faculty and collaborators also have roots or connections to the social sciences, humanities, and other health sciences. Activity studies demand a trans-disciplinary approach to address the complexity of human activity and its effects, and RIAS welcomes collaborators and students who can bring new perspectives to the initiative.

Education and collaboration


We offer doctoral education for students from different backgrounds who want to study activity. Seminars on theoretical and empirical topics are offered on a regular basis. We are located within the Health, Man, and Society unit in the Institute of Public Health at SDU, and faculty at RIAS teach as part of the Faculty of Health Sciences and the PhD School. RIAS is an educational partner in the European Masters of Occupational Therapy program. RIAS includes faculty from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, USA, the Danish Center for Assistive Technology, and the Hammel Neuro Center, Denmark.