Research and Development Department of PLOES

Welcome to the Research and Development (R&D) department of PLOES

The R&D department provides vital support in the implementation of innovative programs and trainings in the field of mental health, as well as  a field of action and support to young and experienced researchers.

We have a track record in providing research at national and international level based on robust research management and practical implementation  processes, as well as a strong commitment to quality of service.

The above is reinforced by our active participation in the European network of health service providers (EASPD), as well as in the “DIKTYO” (Network) of organizations providing services in the field of disability and mental health in Greece.  The R&D department operates in collaboration, and having common goals with the Kapodistrian University of Athens, Panteion University of Athens and the European University of Madrid (Universidad Europea de Madrid) to form a single  research and development network, with the ultimate recipient being the end user of mental health services.

We have launched a series of actions to create programs based on our commitment to research; these include development and internal restructuring to shape multiple horizontal research themes.


Research investment

A key objective of the PLOES organization is to increase the number of users of our services who have the opportunity to participate in research and to enhance the attractiveness for research.

The department is primarily responsible for maintaining quality and fidelity in research, guarantees which are often  reviewed by the Management Board of the organization and are available to anyone.


Participation in current or future researches of the R&D Department of PLOES


Having the above as a guide, PLOES has received approval for the implementation of two (2) projects that have already begun since March 1, 2022.

The first project that was approved and the PLOES lead the project consortium as the implementing body is :

Call: KA220-VET – Cooperation partnerships in vocational education and training

Title: Autism Friendly Spaces Employability twist:  ASD friendly environments guide and checklist for creating and supporting a working environment

Proposed project duration:  March 2022 – February 2024 (24 months)

Applicant organisation:


Partner organisations:




YOUTH DAY CENTRE Lithuania Panevėžys County



The main idea behind the project is to:

develop an individually tailored method to promote participation in the labour market for people on the autism spectrum. A guide to employability in autism-friendly environments that lead to social inclusion and financial independence. A detailed description of the requirements and peculiarities of the autistic spectrum, so that people on the autistic spectrum have the choice to find and have access to the labor market, places, places, services, etc. under conditions that make workplaces hospitable and manageable for the target population.

The Programme for the Employability of People with ASD and the creation of Friendly  Working Areas for Autism is based on the current situation, in which people with ASD face significant difficulties in finding and maintaining meaningful employment, adapted to their own preferences and skills. What was evident during the bibliographic research is the lack of understanding by them  employers and staff, as well as the inability to adapt to the workplace (Lopez & Keenan, 2014). In a study by Scott et al. (2016), facilitating communication between asd workers and employers to ensure a clear understanding of the needs of both populations is essential.


The main objectives of the Autistic Friendly Spaces-Employment project are:

  1. Customer engagement: Providing all the information to allow employers to make an informed decision on whether they wish to use the supported employment process
  2. Creation of a Social Hub for people with ASD who are actively looking for or interested in work
  3. Professional profile and training: practical help for individuals to identify their skills and preferences for work and an opportunity to participate in pre-professional skills training (social skills, behaviour in the workplace, organisational competences, etc.).
  4. Finding a job: Looking for a job taking into account the needs of all parties involved through a website that will be created during the process
  5. Commitment and training of employers on the needs of autistic workers: Cooperation with employers and jobseekers in various fields, including terms and conditions of employment, required skills, support required by service providers and/or available in the workplace, etc.
  6. On/Off Job Support: Support to the customer and the employer according to their needs for a period of three months after the job placement
  7. Creation of a policy plan report on the current employment situation of people with autism at European and national level
  8. Raise awareness of the needs of populations with ASD by organizing seminars for people with autism, their caregivers, as well as relevant stakeholders and stakeholders.

The above-mentioned parts of the Project on the Employability of Friendly Professional Spaces for Autism are to be implemented with the main objective: to take a step further towards social inclusion.


The second project approved and PLOES participates in the project consortium as a partner is:

Call: KA220-VET – Cooperation partnerships in vocational education and training

Title: VIRTUS Upscaling Vocational Pathways

Proposed project duration:  March 2022 – February 2024 (24 months)

Applicant organisation:


 Partner organisations:




ARCIL Slate Portugal


PLOES, Gewerksttat and ARCIL provide therapeutic services and support to people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities, many of whom have been diagnosed with autism. Thus, the services provided are intended for the development of social, emotional, cognitive and everyday living skills of autistic people, aiming at social inclusion in all areas of everyday life.

This training programme is closely linked to the services already provided to the VET organisations participating in the consortium, taking things a step further, completing vocational training with pre-professional and interpersonal skills required for autism beneficiaries to have access to meaningful employment and by making it interactive and attractive to users by adding VR to the equation.

Unfortunately, although the services provided cover a wide range of skills and the training programmes are designed on an annual basis to meet the needs of the beneficiaries, there is a huge need for an integrated work on vocational training tailored to the needs and challenges of autistic people. Young people affected by autism or autism spectrum disorder (ASD) do not actually have equal access to VET and work. Even if they have the ability and intellectual property, they face obstacles on the way to VET and the labour market.

The objective of integration into the European labour market will be supported by the entire partnership project team, which is why this consortium wants to work on this project to develop ways for the needs of autistic people for full access to VET and the labour market.

This project aims to create an educational program that includes vocational training tailored to the needs of autistic people through the integration of in vivo training seminars and virtual reality technology.

The training that will be created will include:

  • Training of mental health professionals in the methodology that will combine Virtual Reality and a complete program of social, pre-professional and professional skills.
  • Education for beneficiaries with autism who are interested in finding work
  • Evaluation and certification in accordance with EU standards

The project aims to fill the gap between schooling and employment for autistic people who do not have access to higher education.

 Faithful to the objectives of the field of  action of the research & development department  of the organization “PLOES” E.PSY.Me. it is important to inform the submission for approval of the following action plans:


 Program: Erasmus+

Provisional Title: aRtmoshere


Proposed project duration: 24 months

Partrners from: P1 – Ireland

       P2 – Greece

       P3 – France

       P4 – Belgium

       P5 -Hungary

The ARTmosphere project aims to develop the socio-emotional skills of people with developmental challenges.

It will carry out the following activities:

– Literature review and cutting-edge research

– Creation of a curriculum and development of educational material

– Roadmap report on cogeneration methodologies in the arts and disability

– Training for professionals who are going to implement the project

– Art workshops for adults with developmental challenges.

The activities of the ARTmosphere project are going to lead to the following results:

– Curriculum and instructor’s guide on the project’s methodology on the arts, disability and co-production

-Roadmap report on disability and cogeneration

– Easy-to-read guide for participants with development challenges

-Final performances of art workshops in 4 countries

– The documentary “Becoming ARTmospheric” to highlight the overall experience of the participants with developmental challenges


Program: Erasmus+

Provisional Title: SWIS (See What I See): adolescence matters through educational comic strips

Proposed project duration: 24 months

Partrners from: P1 – Italy

       P2 – Greece

       P3 – Romania

       P4 – Hungary


The main objective of this research project is to explore the ways in which educational comic strips could provide support in the recognition and acceptance of feelings and attitudes towards adolescence but also by referring to adolescents, everyday living conditions, improving the understanding of self-perception, sense of belonging, issues of trust,  of real information about sexuality. Identifying the positive impact that comics can have as a means of information can become the means of recognition on the one hand, and information on the communication of the issues that the target group chooses to deal with, on the other hand aiming at the well-being of mental health.

The objectives of the SWIS Project will be achieved through the following activities:

Explore existing files and tools for the target group.

Drawing and development of weighted question marks

Language adaptation to the languages of transnational partners

Create a group

Education in educational comic book creation

Production of a series of educational comics

These activities will lead to the Creation of:

Instructions – toolbox

Pre – Med – Exit questionnaires of emotional, perception and self-awareness

Language adaptation to the languages of transnational partners

Certification of participants for the acquisition of educational comic book creation abilities

Educational material adapted to the needs of adolescents that was tested and evaluated during the project

A series of comics about Adolescence on topics that matter to teenagers

A roadmap guide to the steps of the project


Program: Erasmus+

Provisional Title: Feel, Address, Contemplate, Talk, Share (F.A.C.T.S) about sexual identity & gender: informed practices for Professionals working with autistic individuals

Proposed project duration: 30 months

Partrners from: P1 – Italy

       P2 – Greece

       P3 – Bulgaria

       P4 – Belgium

       P5 – France

       P6 – Cyprus


Our goal is to create a Guide and training on Sexual Issues for Professionals who work with people with ASD.

Through the educational program that will be developed throughout the F.A.C.T.S., mental health professionals will:

-Be trained in issues related to the sexuality of autistic people

-Awareness  and understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression of autistic individuals

-Enhancing the promotion of the sexual well-being of people with ASD.

The activities that will be implemented during the FACTS project  include:

-Literature and cutting-edge research on gender identity and sexual behavior of autistic individuals.

-Development of curriculum and educational material

-Guidelines for professional and administrative service providers for people with ASD

-Creation of an online platform and video

-Certification scheme

-Dissemination and awareness-raising activities

The F.A.C.T.S project aims to create and project a positive impact on the pressing issue of sexuality and gender identity of autistic adults, providing high-quality education to professionals working with them.

The results and deliverables of the FACTS project are:

-An innovative training program for professionals working with autistic adults

-Guidelines for professional, administrative and autistic peers

-Online platform and videos accessible to be provided after the completion of the project


Program: Erasmus+

Provisional Title: Green Enough: Educational program to raise ecological behaviour through an inclusive methodology using Augmented Reality Technology

Proposed project duration: 24 months

Partrners from: P1 – Greece

P2 – United Kingdom

       P3 – Belgium

       P4 – Poland

       P5 – Cyprus

The Green Enough Program  aims to increase the ecological behavior of people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities by creating a customized training program for the professionals who work with them in combination with an AR application  that will help professionals train their beneficiaries in an independent environmentally friendly everyday life that will  is supported by an easily accessible and customized application on their mobile phones devices. The curriculum and training to be developed will be certified in line with EU quality standards.

The objectives of the Green Enough Project will be achieved through the following activities:

-Research on ecological behaviour and disability, existing tools and methodologies

-Curriculum development

-Development and use of AR applications, including an authoring tool

-Certification scheme for adaptation and results to EU quality standards

-Pilot activities to ensure the impact of training on the ecological behaviour of participants

-Dissemination activities

These activities will lead to the development of the following:

-A Handbook for professionals

-Educational material adapted to the needs of people with developmental and/or intellectual disabilities to be tested and evaluated during the pilot activities

-An application for augmented reality mobile devices with accompanied authoring tool

-An easy-to-read guide to applying augmented reality


Also, the organization PLOES, having the responsibility of the basic idea and writing, participates as a partner in the following projects submitted for implementation approval.

Program: Erasmus+

Provisional Title: Social Learning Platform Project

Proposed project duration: 24 months

Partrners from: P1 – Italy

       P2 – Greece

       P3 – Spain

       P4 – Belgium

P5 – United Kingdom


The main idea behind the project is to…

It offers a high level of online, mixed format (live & online), accessible to all. In this context, the project focuses on the exchange of good practices and aims at working with digital technology providers to develop quality and flexible digital educational content, which will be adapted to the needs of learners. In conclusion, its goal is to develop a social learning platform for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are supported and operated by both the physical and digital presence of trained mental health professionals.


Program: Erasmus+

Provisional Title: eVeRsafe

Proposed project duration: 24 months

Partrners from: P1 – Lithuania

       P2 – Greece

       P3 – Belgium

       P4 – Cyprus


The main objective of the project is to create an integrated approach for the development of preventive measures for significant difficulties and adverse experiences for people with ASD through technological developments in virtual reality

Participating organisations from all over Europe will work together to create an educational programme for people with ASD, which will include a methodology for responding to disasters and adverse experiences, such as:

  • Earthquakes
  • Fire
  • Extreme weather conditions (snow, heatwave, storms, etc.)
  • Power outages
  • First aid

The training program is to be implemented using virtual reality, as the IT specialists participating in the consortium will create relevant interactive scenarios. Emphasis will be placed on the required social skills, emotional adjustment skills, change of handling skills as well as the ability to respond in a timely manner with respect to the safety of the participant and others. The creation of guidelines for technological equipment with regard to this use is also considered necessary.

Another objective of the project will be to raise awareness among stakeholders about the autistic sensory experience and the additional safety challenges faced by people with ASD in terms of safety during disasters.


Program: Erasmus+

Provisional Title: Motivation and re-motivation of e-educators

Proposed project duration: 24 months

Partrners from: P1 – Italy

       P2 – Greece

       P3 – Belgium

       P4 – Cyprus

The main idea behind the project is

the pandemic situation has forced many education providers and teachers to switch to online sessions and courses. Different textbooks, teaching resources and tools have been developed to support them how to keep students engaged in the digital environment. However, many teachers admit that they often struggle to keep their own motivation high when providing long-term online courses and educational programs. Often,  even very experienced instructors and teachers share that providing thematic content or performing effective teamwork in an online environment is quite different from performing these in offline settings. As a result, they end up with students’ cameras closed, dark computer screens with only people’s names, but no faces, deep silence when they start or hold discussions in virtual chatrooms, inability to understand whether students are following them or even if they are not at all present during class, and so on. All this affects teachers’ confidence and they may feel exhausted and discouraged with their work. With this work, we want to shift the focus from maintaining students’ motivation in education to keeping teachers motivated and re-motivated to effectively deliver long-term online courses and programs.

The overall objective is to enhance the digital readiness and resilience of adult educators and education professionals to maintain their long-term incentives in e-learning environments to interact effectively with their online learners and achieve their learning goals.

The specific objectives are:

  1. Improve teachers’ awareness of the different profiles and skill sets needed to maintain their long-term motivation to provide courses and trainings in different digital environments by developing a self-assessment tool for e-trainers.
  2. Increase the knowledge, skills and resilience of instructors on how to keep their motivations high and become re-motivated when conducting long online sessions and workshops and working with different age groups and generations of students through the creation of an Interactive E-Trainers Manual with animated and recorded videos/vidcasts and comic book tips.
  3. Create a network of educational professionals and training providers in the field of formal, non-formal and informal education who know how to maintain higher levels of motivation of teachers in long-term online courses and educational programs.
  4. Promote transnational and cross-sectoral cooperation and the active exchange of experiences and lessons learned between partner countries and education providers from the formal, non-formal and informal fields.


EASPD (European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities)

The Research & Development Department will represent the “PLOES” organization and will participate in the conference (5 – 6 May 2022)  of EASPD in Zagreb, Croatia.

Α. Louloumari  –  Head of mission (All Forums & PR)

Th. Mytakidou – Arts

  1. Vasalos – Supported Employment


At the upcoming international conference: The future of the right to work: What role for the social economy? This year’s conference, co-organised by EASPD and the OSVIT Union, will take place on 5 – 6 May 2022 in Zagreb, Croatia. The conference will bring together key stakeholders to explore the role of the social economy in improving labour market outcomes as well as to identify how to maximise its potential.

Contact us

To learn more about our research, see www. ploes. org. gr or contact us via e-mail at dserras@ploes. org. gr, or phone: +30 2104635391.


We can advise you on issues such as:

Apply for ERASMUS+ approval.

Methodological advice on qualitative and/or quantitative research and statistical analysis.

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