My Life in Data CDT: University of Nottingham

Case Study 1: Consent Receipts: The future of data sharing?

Tatiana Styliari, CDT student of the first My Life in Data 2014 cohort, gained three academic supervisors from different disciplines when she joined the CDT (Film Studies, Computer Science, and Human-Computer Interaction), as well as two  CDT industrial partners; the Broadway Cinema & Media Centre in Nottingham and Digital Catapult in London.

During the summer of 2016, she completed her CDT internship at the Digital Catapult Centre in London.  During her three months at the Catapult, she focused on the role of personal data receipts could potential have in the future of data sharing, due to an idea received from the Digital Catapult’s Personal Data and Trust Network.

The internship project, entitled ‘Researching transparency in data sharing practices: The case of a consent receipt’ was supervised by Michele Nati, the Digital Catapult’s Lead Technologist in Personal Data and Trust.  Tatiana’s work involved using a range of technical skills in areas including UX design, prototyping, qualitative research privacy, personal data, and digital identity.

As a result of Tatiana’s internship, the Digital Catapult have now adopted the outcomes as an official Digital Catapult Project, which is now being piloted internally at the Centre. Tatiana emphasises:

“This experience not only gave me a successful project to add to my CV and helped me develop necessary and relevant skills and knowledge, it also introduced me to many people from different backgrounds and departments at the Catapult”.

The Digital Catapult’s, Chief Technology Officer, Marko Balabanovic, spoke of the benefits to the organisation:

“It was extremely valuable that Tatiana was able to spend several months carrying out research and exploratory work on the idea of personal data receipts, which originated from the Catapult’s Personal Data & Trust Network”.

Case Study 2:  Investigating the attitudes of adolescents and healthcare professionals towards electronic monitoring devices for Asthma

Dr Sam Howard was the first CDT student complete from the 2012 cohort in October 2016. His Horizon CDT research drew on an identified need to accurately monitor how adherent asthma patients are to their inhaled medication, in order to detect when patients are at risk, when they require intervention, and the impact of different interventions in clinical trials to understand how adherence can best be improved.

Sam’s decision to focus on the use of Electronic Monitoring Devices (EMDs) in Asthma for his PhD research was as they offer the most precise method for recording inhaler use and have shown to improve adherence when they contain a reminder function or adherence data is fed-back to the patient. However, in 2012, there had been little to no research to date investigating how EMDs can be designed and developed to ensure they meet the needs of both patients and healthcare providers.

His novel research resulted in various international collaborative publications and speaking engagements including in acceptances for the BMJ’s Open Respiratory Research journal, the European Respiratory Journal and the International Symposium on Human Factors and Ergonomics in Healthcare. Research and data collection methods included questionnaires, interviews, 3-way Delphi surveys, workshops, as well as tech-trials with sixth-form pupils at Long Eaton School in Derbyshire.

After completing his PhD, Sam went on to a fixed-term Research Associate role in the Horizon Digital Economy Hub, and in April 2017, co-founded a UX digital start-up, Userfy, which is based in Nottingham.

It is envisaged that research impact will result in helping inform the future development of EMDs through identifying important issues for both patients and healthcare professionals, acting as a trigger for future user-focused research in asthma care as the attitudes of other patient groups such as the elderly, or consideration of patients from different economic and social backgrounds going forwards.

Case Study 3:  Mapping the need for Third World public services

After completing his Horizon CDT PhD in September 2015, Dr Mark Iliffe is now a Research Fellow and Geospatial Lead in the Nottingham University Business School, as part of the Neodemographics Research Group, which carries out EPSRC-funded projects.  

Mark joined the CDT with a geospatial consulting background, together with experience of being in the Royal Navy.

His PhD research had a global reach and focussed on data mapping of communities in developing countries. In 2011 he completed his CDT internship with The World Bank, spending time in both the United States and Tanzania, leading the survey and data mapping of the informal development in the Tanzanian area of Tandale, Dar Es Salaam.

The data collected from this fieldwork was utilised by local government, resulting in aided decision making in the deliverance of public services in this third world country. The World Bank internship was completed in two parts, firstly on mission in Tanzania and Kenya during the Summer of 2011, followed up with time in Spring 2012 at the bank’s headquarters in Washington DC. Mark’s work was also relevant to other countries in the region, including Uganda, Kenya, Zambia and Burundi, as part of the Living Labs and Southern Africa Innovation Support Programme.

During his PhD, Mark also developed a novel mobile phone and open source sanitation app named Taarifa, designed to close citizen feedback loops and empower community users. The project won the international World Bank Sanitation Hackathon in May 2013, and received television coverage on BBC East Midlands Today in May 2014.

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