4 April 2017 13:06

One of the world’s most prominent computing academics has been appointed as a Visiting Professor at Lancaster University.

Vicki Hanson, an American computer scientist whose research interests focus on improving access to technology for older adults and disabled people, will join Lancaster’s Data Science Institute (DSI) becoming the institute’s first visiting professor.

Professor Hanson is President of the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) – the largest international professional society for computing professionals and students. She will collaborate with researchers in DSI to help develop approaches that widen access to the next generation of data-intensive applications.

Professor Nigel Davies, Co-Director of Lancaster University’s Data Science Institute, said: “We are absolutely delighted that Vicki is joining Lancaster’s Data Science Institute as a Visiting Professor. Much of our work is about using data to deliver real benefits to society, from entirely new types of health data systems for augmenting cognition, to sophisticated tools for understanding our local environment. Vicki will be able to help us ensure these benefits are accessible to the widest possible cross-section of people and we are really looking forward to collaborating with her.”

Professor Hanson has served on multiple agenda setting research advisory boards in both the United States and the United Kingdom, and on multiple editorial boards. Her research aims include creating information technology that is easily used and useful to all, regardless of their perceptual, motor, or cognitive abilities.

She said: “I’ve long been a fan of the work done by researchers at Lancaster, and this is a great opportunity for me to collaborate with them on projects of mutual interest, adding a new dimension to my research and, hopefully, proving beneficial to those in Lancaster’s Data Science Institute.

“Our goal is to develop new ways of thinking about how people can take advantage of technology, particularly looking at people whose values and abilities have traditionally not been considered in technology development,” she added.

Professor Hanson is a Distinguished Professor at the Rochester Institute of Technology and is a Professor at the University of Dundee, holding a personal chair in Inclusive Technologies.

She has been named an ACM Fellow, a Fellow CITP of the British Computer Society, a recipient of the Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She has received the ACM SIGCHI Social Impact Award, the Women of Vision ABIE Award for Social Impact, and the ACM SIGACCESS Award for Outstanding Contributions to Computing and Accessibility. Most recently, she was elected to the ACM CHI Academy.