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Athena SWAN lecture: Empowering people through computer science



My aim in this talk will be to explore ways in which we, as computer scientists, can make positive changes to people's lives. I will focus in particular on current and future roles for digital health technologies in improving health and wellbeing. From "Big Data" solutions that can or might address important questions in personal and population health through to personal technologies that can support the individual in managing their own health and wellbeing, there is a plethora of systems that are more or less effective in informing and supporting care and wellbeing. How (and whether) these technologies are used depends on how they fit into people's work and lives. In this talk, I will present studies on how and why people adopt digital health technologies, and propose some computing research challenges for future systems. I will also talk briefly about my own career, which is probably best characterized as ignoring implicit "rules of the game" while making and taking opportunities.


Ann Blandford is Professor of Human–Computer Interaction at University College London and Director of the UCL Institute of Digital Health. Her expertise is in human factors for health technologies, and particularly how to design systems that fit well in their context of use. She is involved in several research projects studying health technology design, patient safety and user experience. She has published widely on the design and use of interactive health technologies, and on how technology can be designed to better support people's needs. She is currently Chair of the UK Computing Research Committee and a Suffrage Science award holder.


1pm A buffet lunch

2pm Athena Swan Lecture