Our challenge contexts— from health and wellbeing; industry 4.0 and smart manufacturing; cyber threats, ethics and law; sustainable energy; and digital economy platforms, services and innovation —are ones that are emerging as key drivers of our region’s and nation’s industrial and societal strategies. PhD researchers will work together across cohorts to interrogate their scientific methods and insights through multiple contexts and scenarios; an approach essential in ensuring complex, varied needs and values are accommodated.
We will meet the need to train researchers who can work to ensure that such systems are trustable, understandable, usable and negotiable by and with humans. Without such capability, the hoped-for benefits of these key technologies will be severely undermined. We subscribe to and will work out a computational response to the urgent need articulated in the Royal Society and British Academy principle of “human flourishing” and the problems that will occur if this is not adopted.
Our people-first perspective will drive the invention and understandings of new theories, algorithms, data, platforms and interaction devices. It will question the orthodoxy of well-established approaches by considering them from the perspective of the people, organisations and societies they are meant to serve. Our approach goes far beyond the application of systems to real-world problems; rather, it takes real-world contexts and uses them to re-form, shape and replace the computational science needed to make such systems useful, usable, satisfying, delightful and acceptable by society.