Fully-funded PhD scholarship in Health Data Visualisation

The School of Computer Science at the University of St Andrews has a fully-funded scholarship available working with Dr Areti Manataki. The PhD topic is “Shedding light on patient flow through advanced data visualisation”. Applications must be received by 1 March 2023.

Project Overview

In modern healthcare systems, millions of patients are admitted to hospital every day. Managing patient flow through hospital, to ensure that patients are at the right place at the right time, can improve quality of care and health outcomes, while saving money and time. However, managing patient flow in a way that is safe for patients and cost-efficient is a challenging task, and requires a deep understanding of the complexities associated with patient flow.

This project involves employing advanced data visualisation techniques to shed light on patient flow and its many important dimensions: temporal and spatial patterns, patient characteristics, clinical expertise, hospital capacity and associated cost. Drawing inspiration from visualisation approaches to astronomy and transportation, and working closely with healthcare professionals, we will develop interactive visualisations that allow for the exploration of large and rich patient flow data. Our aim is to build visualisations that are powerful enough to capture the complexity of patient flow, and, at the same time, simple enough for clinicians to easily use to draw conclusions towards improving care.

Eligibility Criteria

We are looking for highly motivated research students willing to be part of a diverse and supportive research community. Applicants must hold a BSc or MSc in Computer Science or a related area (e.g., Data Science, Engineering, Mathematics, etc.). Experience in data visualisation, enthusiasm for research at the intersection of data science and health, an ability to think and work independently, excellent programming and analytical skills, and strong verbal and written communication skills are essential.

International applications are welcome. We especially encourage female applicants and underrepresented minorities to apply.

To apply

Informal inquiries can be directed to Dr Areti Manataki at A.Manataki@st-andrews.ac.uk. Formal applications can be made through the School’s postgraduate research portal.

The deadline for applications is 1 March 2023.

Funding Notes

We have one fully-funded scholarship available, which will be awarded competitively to the best applicant. This scholarship covers all tuition fees irrespective of country of origin and comes with a stipend (currently £17,668 per annum full-time equivalent). Additional scholarships may be available from other sources.

The School welcomes applications from under-represented groups, and is willing to consider part-time and flexible registrations. The successful applicant will however be expected to conduct their research in St Andrews and not fully remotely.

Philippe Palanque (University of Toulouse): Harnessing Usability, UX and Dependability for Interactions in Safety Critical Contexts

Abstract: Innovation and creativity are the research drivers of the Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) community which is currently investing a vast amount of resources in the design and evaluation of “new” user interfaces and interaction techniques, leaving the correct functioning of these interfaces at the discretion of the helpless developers. In the area of formal methods and dependable systems the emphasis is usually put on the correct functioning of the system leaving its usability to secondary-level concerns (if at all addressed). However, designing interactive systems requires blending knowledge from these domains in order to provide operators with enjoyable, usable and dependable systems. The talk will present possible research directions and their benefits for combining several complementary approaches to engineer interactive critical systems. Due to their specificities, addressing this problem requires the definition of methods, notations, processes and tools to go from early informal requirements to deployed and maintained operational interactive systems. The presentation will highlight the benefits of (and the need for) an integrated framework for the iterative design of operators’ procedures and tasks, training material and the interactive system itself. The emphasis will be on interaction techniques specification and validation as their design is usually the main concern of HCI conferences. A specific focus will be on automation that is widely integrated in interactive systems both at interaction techniques level and at application level. Examples will be taken from interactive cockpits on large civil commercial aircrafts (such as the A380), satellite ground segment application and Air Traffic Control workstations.

Speaker Bio: Dr. Philippe Palanque is Professor in Computer Science at the University Toulouse 3 “Paul Sabatier” and is head of the Interactive Critical Systems group at the Institut de Recherche en Informatique de Toulouse (IRIT) in France. Since the late 80s he has been working on the development and application of formal description techniques for interactive system. He has worked for more than 10 years on research projects to improve interactive Ground Segment Systems at the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales (CNES) and is also involved in the development of software architectures and user interface modeling for interactive cockpits in large civil aircraft (funded by Airbus). He was involved in the research network HALA! (Higher Automation Levels in Aviation) funded by SESAR programme which targets at building the future European air traffic management system. The main driver of Philippe’s research over the last 20 years has been to address in an even way Usability, Safety and Dependability in order to build trustable safety critical interactive systems. He is the secretary of the IFIP Working group 13.5 on Resilience, Reliability, Safety and Human Error in System Development, was steering committee chair of the CHI conference series at ACM SIGCHI and chair of the IFIP Technical Committee 13 on Human-Computer Interaction.


Event details

  • When: 3rd February 2020 11:00 - 12:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33a
  • Series: SACHI Seminar Series, School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Need new software or an interface? Our students can help you design it for free! First deadline Friday 20th December

We are looking for five projects from within the University that have to do with creating new software and/or hardware. Suitable projects can come from individual researchers, practitioners/companies, Schools, or any Departmental Unit that is thinking about building some software or hardware system that will be facing humans (this includes the public, but also experts of any kind or any type of populations, such as children).

The MSc students of our module CS5042 – User Centered Interaction Design – will be performing a contextual analysis of the environment, extracting user interface requirements and providing up to a medium level fidelity design prototype, with the option to further taking this on to working prototype stage during their MSc project during the summer.

In the past, our students have successfully completed designs for the following types of systems:

  • Interactive exhibitions for museums and Edinburgh City of Culture
  • A health smartphone application interface for CIGNA, a health insurance provider
  • An integrated public display messaging system for the library
  • An interactive entrance welcoming system for the entrance of the School of Computer Science
  • An interactive laterality testing tool for the School of Medicine
  • An interface design for a system which measures peoples vital signals at a distance using cameras for Beyond Medics Limited
  • Novel web-based and mobile applications to explore literary collections

If you think your project could use this kind of help, please send to us by e-mail (cs5042.lec@cs.st-andrews.ac.uk):

  • Your name, e-mail address, and phone number
    A sentence or two about what kind of project you have in mind

We will then get in contact with you to briefly explore the options. No commitment necessary at this point. Everything is, of course, free, and this could be a great opportunity for you to explore a tentative system, even if you are not sure that you will need it.

Thank you very much for considering this.

Please feel free to forward this far and wide to other colleagues who may find this useful.

Many thanks,

Uta Hinrichs and Kenneth Boyd


Max L. Wilson (University of Nottingham): Brain-based HCI – What could brain data can tell us HCI

Please note non-standard date and time for this talk


This talk will describe a range of our projects, utilising functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS) in HCI. As a portable alternative that’s more tolerate of motion artefacts than EEG, fNIRS measures the amount of oxygen in the brain, as e.g. mental workload creates demand. As opposed to BCI (trying to control systems with our brain), we focus on brain-based HCI, asking what brain data can tell us about our software, our work, our habits, and ourselves. In particular, we are driven by the idea that brain data can become personal data in the future.

Speaker Bio:

Dr Max L. Wilson is an Associate Professor in the Mixed Reality Lab in Computer Science at the University of Nottingham.  His research focus is on evaluating Mental Workload in HCI contexts – as real-world as possible – primarily using functional Near Infrared Spectroscopy (fNIRS).  As a highly tolerant form of brain sensor, fNIRS is suitable for use in HCI research into user interface design, work tasks, and everyday experiences.  This work emerged from his prior research into the design and evaluation of complex user interfaces for information interfaces. Across these two research areas, Max has over 120 publications, including a Honourable Mention CHI2019 paper on a Brain-Controlled Movie – The MOMENT.

Event details

  • When: 25th October 2019 14:00 - 15:00
  • Where: Cole 1.33b
  • Series: School Seminar Series
  • Format: Seminar

Professor Aaron Quigley new SICSA Director

Congratulations to Professor Aaron Quigley who has been appointed as the new Director of SICSA. Aaron, the Chair of Human Computer Interaction co-founded SACHI, the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group and served as its director from 2011-2018.

In his volunteer roles he is the ACM SIGCHI Vice President for Conferences (on the ACM SIGCHI Executive Committee), member of the ACM Europe Council Conferences Working Group, a board member of ScotlandIS and an ACM Distinguished Speaker. Aaron will be general co-chair for the ACM CHI conference in Asia in 2021.

For more information about Professor Quigley, please see https://aaronquigley.org.

PhD viva success: Evan Brown

Congratulations to Evan Brown, who successfully defended his thesis today. He is pictured with Internal examiner Dr Tristan Henderson and external examiner Professor Chris Marsden, Professor of Internet Law at the University of Sussex.

Evan’s PhD research on using corpus linguistics to build collaborative legal research tools was supervised by Professor Aaron Quigley.

Distinguished Speaker: Australia, Columbia and Thailand

This Saturday Professor Aaron Quigley will deliver a keynote talk on Global Human Computer Interaction at the Thai SIGCHI Symposium in Bangkok. This is the first symposium of the Bangkok ACM SIGCHI Chapter which aims to connect the Thai UX and HCI communities together with those beyond their borders. This talk is part of the Distinguished Speaker Program (DSP) of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

In May, Professor Quigley will travel to Melbourne and Sydney Australia as part of the ACM DSP program. First, he will deliver a talk on the Future of Interaction at the Melbourne Knowledge Week followed by a “fireside chat” and panel in the University of Melbourne and finally a seminar in the University of Sydney. His talks will cover a number of areas of research he explores with his colleagues and students in SACHI, the St Andrews Computer Human Interaction research group.

In August, Aaron has been invited to deliver a keynote at the 5th Workshop on ICTs for improving Patients Rehabilitation Research Techniques in Popayán, Colombia. This talk will focus on some of Aaron’s more recent, and unpublished research, in augmenting interactions in AR and his older work on technology for rehabilitation and older people.

Professor Quigley is currently on sabbatical in the National University of Singapore but he will attend the CHI 2019 conference in Glasgow this May with SACHI colleagues and graduate students presenting their latest research.

Professors Quigley and Kitamura to co-chair ACM CHI 2021 in Asia

Professors Quigley and Kitamura

Professor Aaron Quigley and Professor Yoshifumi Kitamura (Tohoku University, Japan) have been appointed the general co-chairs for the ACM CHI conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems in Asia in 2021.  CHI is hosted by the ACM SIGCHI, the Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction

The ACM CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems is the premier international conference for the field of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). This flagship conference is generally considered the most prestigious in the field of HCI and attracts thousands of international attendees annually.


CHI provides a place where researchers and practitioners can gather from across the world to discuss the latest HCI topics. It has been held since 1982 and this is only the second time CHI will be held in Asia.  CHI 2020 will be held in Hawaii while CHI 2019 will be held in Glasgow next May. The location for CHI 2021 will be announced to the global research community during CHI 2019.

This week Professor Quigley was invited to present at the Third ACM SIGCHI Asian Symposium hosted in the Research Institute of Electrical Communication at Tohoku University, Sendai. The ACM SIGCHI Asian Development committee organised this event to bring together early career researchers, students and more from multiple countries in the Asia-Pacific region to discuss ideas that can lead to innovations and to inspire us all. The event served to  develop connections and regional/local societies through promoting collaboration among Asian-Pacific HCI researchers and practitioners. Professor Quigley will be spending his upcoming sabbatical in Asia.  

PhD viva success: Julian Petford

Congratulations to Julian Petford, who successfully defended his thesis today. He is pictured with internal examiner Professor Aaron Quigley and external examiner Dr Jason Alexander, from Lancaster University. Julian’s PhD research in Full Coverage Displays for Non-Immersive Applications was supervised by Dr Miguel Nacenta.

Image courtesy of Wendy Boyter