Given the demographic trend and rapidly changing environments, building and maintaining health and well-being amongst European citizens is a paramount societal challenge European countries will face in the decades to come. Subjective well-being (SWB) is associated with a large array of important health outcomes. To sustainably facilitate and build SWB, a thorough understanding of the underlying processes is required, that include an individual’s genetic makeup, physiology, psychological processes, and behaviour. Although the OECD views real-life methodology (Ambulatory Assessment; Kubiak & Stone, 2012) encompassing electronic diaries, physiological and behaviour monitoring as the gold standard for assessing affective dynamics underlying SWB, it is rarely implemented in research on SWB.
The project Well-Being, Health and Quality of Life in Europe (WHALE) will address this gap with a comprehensive research agenda to foster our understanding of processes underlying SWB. The agenda builds heavily on innovative Ambulatory Assessment methodology in a range of domains including affect and emotion regulation, physical activity and sedentary behaviours, diet, and sleep. Strong intersectoral collaborations between leading European academic experts in Ambulatory Assessment and pioneering SMEs from the computer science and device development, food industry, private-public partnership initiatives and a science exhibition centre form the backbone of WHALE research and training. WHALE combines advanced methodology to gain novel insights into the processes and determinants underlying SWB with hands-on research training, non-academic placements, and workshops on scientific and complementary skills. In doing so, WHALE will build a next generation of highly trained early-stage researchers with a unique set of skills necessary for thriving careers in a burgeoning area that underpins innovative technological development across a range of diverse discipline.