Coronavirus, working from home and cybersecurity

Post by Neeshé Khan (2018 Cohort)

As coronavirus sweeps across the globe all sectors are looking towards governmental bodies to issue statements that outline the next steps to contain this pandemic. Even from its early days, coronavirus demonstrated its far reaching impact on economies through effecting major sectors such as hospitality, tourism, governmental operations, hospitals, exports, imports and education (to name a few).

Italy is on an incredible total lock-down that hasn’t been seen by any developed state in recent memory. Wuhan’s lock-down is an incredible feat albeit too late. The US takes a more relaxed stance but has seen a number of cases where businesses are encouraging or mandating employees to work from home (WFH). In the UK, the Chancellor has just announced a £50b emergency response budget to the national health services, companies with less than 250 staff will be refunded for sick pay (for a period of 2 weeks/employee) and Statutory sick pay will be paid to all those who choose to self-isolate, even if they don’t have symptoms. I have also had conversations with people in the health service who are taking an unpaid leave of up to a month during this time to safeguard themselves. So things are getting serious and business can allow employees to work remotely for at least without suffering financially.

The dilemma with many businesses is that they’re not setup correctly or securely enough to allow remote working. This is no surprise as it costs businesses a great deal of money to secure remote channels that can access their information systems and ties in closely with their existing software and hardware architecture. Plus, it’s a complex operation to roll out and debug.

If your cybersecurity is compromised whilst WFH, sure enough someone (most likely you) will be held accountable. So, what does it mean for you if you’re at small business/start-up/charity/governmental department that’s just implemented a WFH policy.

Before leaping for joy at how convenient this might be for you (cutting out commuting time, money and health risks from mouth breathers) take a beat and consider doing the following:

Safe working space at home

This is a big one. Homes have a lot of distractions so what would this mean for your productivity? Would you end up putting in more time to make up for it? Is there enough structure at your place to allow you to take timely breaks and balance out your professional and private life? Would you remember to lock your device every time you step away or risk your child hopping on and sending out an email you were drafting and cause a formal cyber incident? Would it just mean more work for you? A ‘safe’ space should be your first thought when considering WFH.

Insurance coverage

Check what your company’s insurance policy is. If you (or your cat) accidentally spills something on your company device, is it covered off office premises? You don’t want to be out of access and be out of pocket for a policy implementation that wasn’t well thought out and you didn’t know what the risks would be.

Cybersecurity when WFH

Both elements above involve cybersecurity. Insurance coverage also covers the Availability aspect of cybersecurity and working space at home covers cyber accidents and incidents. Not many people would even know what a VPN is and wouldn’t have this set up for their home broadband. And that’s OK for your personal use! But when working on your home Wi-Fi it could impact your cybersecurity levels when WFH. Before you begin, ask your employer if they have systems in place that ensure your cybersecurity levels while working remotely are equally secure as when you’re on the premises. This could entail things such as encryption that add an additional layer of security when working remotely.

Access

I found out through experience that while small companies offer a ‘basic version’ of working remotely it can come with a lot of lag (you have a portal you go through via a personal device to access your work computer’s desktop). If systems aren’t set up correctly (well configured) your access can hang or crash. This could mean you’ll end up doing the same task for the tenth time! If you’re using your personal device to remotely access your computer and are frustrated with the system not working, you might be tempted to move files to your personal devices (so it all ends before you enter your kill zone) – don’t! This becomes more hassle than it’s worth and it’s much easier to get in touch with your IT department to report the issue to fix before you can begin your work on that task again – so sip some tea in the meantime.

In some cases the drives can be separated so while it all appears normally on your work computer this might not be the case for when you’re working remotely. Check with your employer if there’s a specific drive you need to move your documents to (while on premises) to ensure you have access to them remotely.

If you have a company provided computer such as a laptop then you’re clear of most of the headaches that come with lag, crashing systems and availability of documents – hurrah!

Prefer conversations instead of emails or texts

Try to have as many skype/video/call conversations as possible. This ensures that you are actually speaking to the person who you think you’re speaking to so your communication has what is known as Integrity in cybersecurity. Access through an insecure connection (such as your home Wi-Fi even if it has a strong password) can mean your account gets compromised and you have a man-in-the-middle intercepting and responding to your confidential company communications.

These are just some of the things that came to my mind when thinking about WFH cybersecurity and I hope it helps! If you’re a team leader encourage your team to adopt these practices. If you’re an employer, certainly consider these aspects prior to enforcing remote working. It would be good for companies preparing to have their employees WFH, to have a session that outlines best practice scenarios, remits of liability and answer any concerns or queries while we wait for coronavirus to pass.

–originally posted on Neeshé’s blog

Reflection of a Colloquium

post by Peter Boyes (2018 cohort)

As part of the programme with my industry partner Ordnance Survey (OS), each year I attend what they call a Research Workshop. It’s a multi-day trip down to their headquarters in Southampton, where they host all their sponsored PhD and Post-Doc students for a colloquium from their partner universities and programmes, both in the UK and a couple from abroad. The days consist of presentation sessions broken into themes of research, these presentations are given by each of the sponsored researchers to an audience of the other colloquium attendees and OS staff who drop in to relevant and interesting themes or talks over the days. In the breaks between presentation sessions there are poster sessions, each student presenting a poster of their work and able to talk with staff or other attendees there. These posters are also displayed over the course of the event to enable staff to drop by and take a look while they may be unable to attend a full presentation session, note questions and get in touch by email or later on in a break when the researcher is free. In addition there’s often a keynote speaker that kicks off the morning session talking around the general theme for each day.

As an annual event I have been able to attend at different stages of my PhD, and see progression across the visits. My view of the purpose of the event changed over appearances, and so did my confidence in my topic and myself. The conference-style event, presenting a poster, giving a talk, handling a Q&A with OS staff and fellow postgraduate researchers gave me a chance to learn from people going through the same process and some advice from them at their different stages of the postgraduate timeline. Over multiple poster sessions I honed the elevator pitch of my research for that year, and developed an understanding of my blind spots, the recurring questions that obviously I hadn’t anticipated or covered well enough in the poster, while developing my communication skills to multidisciplinary audiences. This was an opportunity to see others’ work that was similar to my field in different ways, and to practice communicating the research I was hoping to do or had done at the time of the workshop.

There is something to be said for not having any supervisors there, a little bit of a shock for me in my first year still settling into the doctoral training program at Nottingham. The student-supervisor relationship is a valuable one when navigating a PhD, but at this event I felt truly independent. At similar style events such as our Horizon CDT retreat I feel like even if they don’t contribute in my presentation, my supervisors are there in the background in the room or on the Teams call and may step in with comments or questions to jolt me along or help, but this wasn’t like that. This was more akin to what I expect conferences to feel like as I prepare to attend one and present later this year. Their contribution is there in the work, but I must be able to present and discuss the research as an independent researcher.

The event and this write-up gave me an exercise in reflecting on what stage I am at in my research. My first time attending, I was in the first year of the course, 5 months or so into my PhD and hadn’t exactly done an explicit research activity or carried out a study to talk about, I was still finding my feet. In that year, I talked mostly about my higher education background, my interests in a wide scope, essentially proposing questions I could explore and using the session to gauge some feedback on areas others thought could be interesting. This included areas to explore or advice on going down those paths, suggested literature or studies. Helpfully at this OS workshop there was an industry perspective on the applications and not just the theory or literature side or presentations.

In the next year, I could see for myself when making my presentation that my scope was narrowing, I was settling into an academic area, research questions were emerging less fuzzy, more defined even if not settled on at that point still. With the audience I was more engaged in discussion of conducted or planned studies and details of these, and looking towards potential research output goals and again the applicability to other sectors and industry.

With one of these trips to Southampton left to attend in my final run to thesis submission I will hopefully be in early write-up stages, and will be able to demonstrate some really interesting findings from this last year and my final study, and engage with those in their first years attending the workshop about their experiences in the PhD journey to that point.

To bring this to a conclusion, I would encourage postgraduate research to look for these colloquiums/consortiums even if not offered by your industry partner as they can help you engage with your research in a different way. These are an opportunity to participate without the same pressure or work of preparing a paper and submitting to a journal or conference, those are different experiences, both highly beneficial. I would also recommend in the way writing this has been for me, to engage with reflective exercises for your journey to recognise, even if for just yourself, the work you have been doing, the changes and narrowing of scope, and your understanding of a field or concepts. I would also encourage industry partners with multiple postgraduates across the country to try and organise events like these to support their development, and help to establish academic and industry networks they may be struggling with confidence or opportunities to build beyond their own centre or institution.

 

 

 

Self-Care Game Jam

post by Alexa Velvet Spors (2017 cohort)

Hi everyone,

I’m currently recruiting for my last PhD study, a research game jam!

Please see details below – maybe it might be interesting for you, or you know someone who might enjoy it?

If you have Twitter, I’d massively appreciate a retweet or like to gain some visibility in the algorithmic soup 😊!

https://twitter.com/caringsystems/status/1412053592106799107

Thank you!!


Self-Care Jam

    • A week-long research game jam
    • 2nd to 8th August 2021
    • Let’s think, make and research games, mental health and caring technologies together.
    • £100 in Amazon vouc​hers + 2 tickets to the NVM for your time!

Register your interest here: 

https://forms.office.com/r/nSNz7wx6FB


Huh? What’s this project all about?

    • Do you have interest in mental health and/or self-care?
    • Are you someone who enjoys video games?
    • Do you think games can be more than just entertainment?
    • Do you enjoy making and designing things with other people?

Infomercial introduction aside: Hi, we are Velvet Spors and Imogen Kaufman, PhD students at the University of Nottingham. Together with the National Videogame, we are researching how mental health, self-care,  and games can come together to create new, exciting, and meaningful technology.

Games connect us, make us cry or laugh (or both at the same time!). They also allow us an open, safe space to explore feelings and make sense of ourselves. For this very reason, Velvet brought people together to create a community resource that other people can use as a starting point for designing and making self-care tech that is open-minded, genuine, and maybe different in its approach: The Caring Systems toolkit.

We are interested in testing out this toolkit with critical, curious people who enjoy gaming and who think technology can support our everyday lives and mental health. Does it work at all? What needs to be improved? Which changes should we make?

What would I have to do?

Monday-Thursday: Explore the toolkit in our own time + fill out a survey. (You can join us for optional 1h activities!)

Friday: Join us for a 2h kick-off event.

Saturday-Sunday: Spend 4h each day making and thinking with others.

Afterwards: Fill out a survey + an interview about your jam experience.


Receive a £100 Amazon shopping voucher for your time (or the equivalent in your country’s currency) + 2 tickets to the NVM!


Who are we looking for?

– Game jamming/making things collaboratively with other people is your jam (literally or figuratively).

– Exploring the potential of games and self-care technologies sounds fun to you.

– You enjoy making games and/or technology (or you have thought about making or designing it!).

– You have somebody local to you, who could check in on you during the game jam.

– You are 18+ years old and you are currently not experiencing a mental health crisis.

– You can commit to the game jam times (~10h over the week 2nd to 8th August 2021, especially 6-8th August 2021).


You do not have to be able to code or design — everybody is welcome, regardless of skill level.

The jam is open internationally.


Sounds cool! Sign me up!

Register your interest here:

https://forms.office.com/r/nSNz7wx6FB

 

All the best,

velvet

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Call for Participants: Sharing online profiles study

Do you share online profiles or accounts with others such as friends, family members, housemates, neighbours, acquaintances, or others?

If so, our University of Nottingham study is exploring how this happens right now, and how this experience of sharing can be improved in future technologies.

If you are interested and willing to take part in a 1.5hour online focus group session and complete a couple of surveys, you would be contributing to cutting-edge research to improve the online experience of sharing accounts and profiles with others.

If you participate, we would like to thank you with a £30 Amazon voucher for your contribution to this research. 

If you are interested, please contact:
Neelima.Sailaja@nottingham.ac.uk 
or 
Abigail.Fowler@nottingham.ac.uk

Please tell us who you currently share with (as many as apply): friends, family members, housemates, neighbours, acquaintances, or others.

Focus groups will run on a weekday evening at 7pm during July. Participants will be allocated to one focus group. Once you’ve been in touch we will offer you dates to attend.

If you know anyone else who may be interested, please share our information with them. 

 Thank you so much! 👋

Abi Fowler – PhD Candidate, Horizon CDT 2016 Cohort

Journal Paper accepted to EAI Pervasive Health 2020 Doctoral Consortium

post by Shazmin Majid (2018 cohort)

Accepted paper: Designing For the User, With the User: Self-tracking Technology for Bipolar Disorder

Conference: EAI Pervasive Health 2020 Doctoral Consortium, Atlanta USA, October 2020

This paper was written for the purposes of showcasing the findings of my first work package which consisted of a series of workshops and interviews in 2020. This was a novel piece of work as I found that despite the growing number of technological products to help those with severe mental health conditions, only a few have carried out in-depth qualitative work with users to understand the user-device relationship with this type of technology. I was motivated to share this notion with the panel group of experts at the doctoral consortium to gauge feedback on the position of my work. Specifically one member had a published track record of technology for bipolar disorder which proved useful for the development of my PhD work. The paper was received well at the conference. In particular, the field expert described it as a “needed piece of work” and wanted to follow the updates of the project.

In terms of writing this paper, it was written alongside my supervisors who all equally contributed towards the work. Firstly, I prepared a presentation with the main premises of the paper (introduction, methods, results and discussion) and received feedback from the team and iterated the plan as needed. I wrote the first draft of the paper based on the agreed plan and then shared this with my supervisors for rounds of feedback and iteration. The final paper was then signed off by the team and submitted for consideration to the conference organisers. Also, this paper had a significant role within my PhD as it summarised my initial findings which were then subject to peer-review. This in turn prepared me for the next work package which consisted of the design of the digital self-tracking tool. The paper highlighted that the gap that I have found in the literature is valid and it is important to consider the unique needs of users in the design of mental health technology.

The findings of this paper have resulted in another paper which has been submitted to the Journal of Medical Internet Research for consideration. The full results of this paper including the design process will be submitted for consideration to CHI 2022. The process of writing and submitting this paper was insightful, as my background is in traditional psychology, this paper gave me my first experience of submitting to the field of computer science. Overall, it was an enjoyable and welcoming experience and look forward to future submissions of my work.

The paper’s abstract can be found here.

Call for Participants: Affect Recognition Using Passive Data

Hi everyone!

We are running a study exploring patterns of passive phone and PC usage associated with different emotional states. We are aiming to gather subjective emotional levels, as well as phone and PC data, during one or two weeks. All of the data collected is anonymised and follows GDPR guidelines.

The study is funded by Horizon DER, and it is open to anyone above 18 years who has an Android phone or Windows PC. Participants will be offered £50 Amazon voucher for participating one week, with additional 30£ for a second week if they wish to continue.

Before the study begins, you will have to attend a 30-min online call to set up the experiment.

For more information or to participate in this study, please contact:
Dr Mercedes Torres Torres or Jimiama Mafeni Mase at emotion.study.uon@gmail.com

Thank you!

Jimiama Mafeni Mase (2018 CDT cohort)
PhD candidate

Dr Mercedes Torres Torres (2010 CDT cohort)
Assistant Professor
Computer Vision Lab and Horizon Research Institute

Calling for Participants interested in influencing the design of the internet

                                           Interested in influencing the design of the internet?

Are you 12-16 and interested in influencing the design of the internet?

Join the Testing for Transparency workshops!

What is Testing for Transparency?

  • A workshop that focuses on privacy policies and other tools for informing internet users about their privacy.
  • The workshop is run by researchers at the University of Nottingham. The goal of the workshop is to consult young people about how they think the presentation of privacy information on the internet could be improved.
  • The workshop will include a recorded discussion about young people’s experiences with privacy tools, and an opportunity to share design ideas about how they could be done better.
  • As a thank you, all participants will receive a £15 Amazon voucher at the end of the workshop!

When is Testing for Transparency?

  • Testing for Transparency workshops will take place over Zoom / Microsoft Teams on a range of dates between the 5th of April and 1st of August, 2021.

To Sign Up, E-mail: Ephraim.Luwemba@nottingham.ac.uk

For more information and an overview of the Research Project click here.

Virtual organisations, virtual internships

post by Vincent Bryce (2019 cohort)

This is a brief reflection on the part-time, virtual internship I carried out as part of my first year at the Horizon CDT, with Orbit RRI. ORBIT, the Observatory for Responsible Research and Innovation in ICT is a spin-out company of Oxford and De Montfort Universities resulting from an EPSRC project, and aims to promote a culture of responsible research and innovation in information and communications technology and other areas of technology, research and innovation.

Image (c) Pablo Amargo, New York Times 2019

As a mature student, a virtual internship with a virtual organisation provided an interesting opportunity to reflect on the question, ‘what is an internship?’, by contrast to internships I had carried out earlier in my career, including in the Royal Navy (as an officer cadet) and in the investment bank JPMorganChase. As a Human Resources practitioner, it was also an opportunity to experience life as a ‘virtual new starter’, in common with an increasing number of employees who have been prevented by lockdown from meeting colleagues in person in the office.

The Cambridge Dictionary suggests, for ‘internship’

a period of time during which someone works for a company or organization in order to get experience of a particular type of work

Merriam-Webster gives us the following, for ‘intern’

an advanced student or graduate usually in a professional field (such as medicine or teaching) gaining supervised practical experience (as in a hospital or classroom)

The OED gives us, variously

A student or trainee (originally, a trainee teacher) working, sometimes without pay, in order to gain practical experience in a particular field of employment, or to satisfy requirements for a qualification.

Of or situated on the inside

Of or belonging to the inner nature of something; intrinsic, essential

Which of these best describes the experience, and just how intrinsic and valuable an internship ends up being, will often depend on the terms we can establish with the organisation (with the help of the CDT)!

As is often the case with internships, a project gave mine focus – in this case, a study into the potential effect of ‘RRI intensity level’ (a combination of Technology Readiness Level and relevance to the UN Sustainable Development Goals), based on original Orbit research and its increasingly widely used self-assessment tool. This was an interesting area for study that aligned helpfully with my PhD – should organisations consider different responsible innovation practices for different situations, depending on (for example) the developmental stage of a technology?

To carry out this project, I worked up a plan and objectives with the Orbit management team, carried out a scoping review, and organised research through an online workshop and pre-event questionnaire, with the support of the Orbit team. I sought and was fortunate to receive involvement from three blue-chip organisations who provided engaging speakers for the event to provide a sparking point for discussion.

The event in November 2020 saw 34 delegates from a variety of backgrounds engaging in discussion of the issues relating to responsible innovation assessment at earlier, or later stages of technological development and provided valuable material for my report. In planning and publicising the event through various networks and social media channels, we took care to make the event appealing, and with just the right duration to balance presentations, discussion, and comfort in the context of mid-pandemic ‘webinar fatigue’.

Following the event, I analysed the questionnaire data and workshop transcript to evaluate the overall research question relating to the potential significance of RRI intensity level for responsible innovation activity. My findings highlighted the relevance of the knowledge inputs to responsible innovation assessment alongside tailoring to the object of assessment, and the need to enable ongoing rather than one-off assessments. A presentation back to the management team confirmed that these would usefully inform a wider review of the organisation’s self-assessment methodology.

The following helped make the internship a valuable experience for me:

—making efforts to identify high-profile speakers for an event and early, broad spectrum publicity yielded a strong turnout for an online event

—integrating the participant information sheet and consent questions for research purposes into the online signup workflow for a workshop required care and ethical approval, but minimised barriers for participants while ensuring ethical rigour

—attending and reviewing material for management and Board meetings provided a valuable insight into the organisation’s priorities

For other Centre for Doctoral Training students, I would encourage careful consideration at an early stage, before and while confirming details of internships, of the personal objectives you want to achieve through the experience. If your aim is first-hand experience of what it’s like to work in a particular organisation, you will need as much contact as you can get with your supervisor and relevant teams working there. If interning with a virtual organisation, in a remote work setting, the value you gain from it may depend on how proactive you are in organising regular meetings, attendance at team or higher-level meetings, and potential in-person contacts. It is also valuable to negotiate an achievable project scope that benefits the organisation, utilises your skills, and potentially contributes to your wider PhD study. In this case, things came together and having interned previously, a ‘remote’, ‘virtual’ internship was an interesting and useful experience that contributed to my learning for the PhD.

I am grateful to Serena, Paul, Bernd and Martin on the Orbit team for their support, and to Microsoft, Arm Holdings and BSI for their proactive engagement with the responsible innovation assessment event.

originally posted on Vincent’s blog

Internship as a Cybersecurity Specialist

post by Neeshé Khan (2018 cohort)

I carried out my internship with Connected Places Catapult (CPC) between February to April 2021 on a full-time basis. I worked as a Cybersecurity Specialist in the Cyber Security Team within the Applied Data and Technology Directorate. I did this during the third year of my PhD – thanks to the efforts of my (super) supervisor who aligned the stars for me after my industry partnership lapsed.

My overall set up:

CPC provided me with ideal conditions that allowed me to get comfortable and take things at my own pace. This meant that I was able to work autonomously, trusted to perform my job to the best of my abilities and proactively look for and choose to work on projects that interested me. To discover projects of interest, I started off by speaking to a lot of people about their work and their vision for the projects to understand if there would be added value by adding in a cybersecurity element. This discovery effort was helped tremendously by my line manager (and some Urban Technology team members) who directed projects my way which made for good introductions and built my confidence.

I had regular catch-ups with the Director and weekly check-ins with my line manager to discuss how I was doing, projects that I found stimulating and my overall progress. Although my line manager worked at CPC three days a week, we quickly built a strong rapport with each other where we could just talk about things on my mind, seek her guidance on various aspects and have a relaxing conversation. She was also very responsive on messaging platforms and emotionally intelligent which meant that I knew she’d be there if I needed her, providing me with a lot of reassurance and making me feel safe in a new, remote environment.

As I was the only member in the Cyber Security team, I collaborated with the Software Engineering team but was primarily hosted by the Urban Technology team during my placement. There were the expected 9.30am morning catch-ups on alternating days that provided me with a valuable opportunity to learn about some of the other projects the team were working on. Team meetings on Mondays were one of my favourite things as it incorporated brainstorming using an online collaborative board and was one of the best applications of Action Research Methodology in a real-world setting that I’ve seen. Being a part of this team and the wider Directorate was really enjoyable and I’m hoping to see everyone in real life once offices re-open and maybe we can find ways to continue this collaboration.

My projects:

I worked on a range of projects with various teams. I mapped cybersecurity stakeholders which was a landscape scanning exercise to record entities within cybersecurity and the various resources they provide to the wider public. I also reviewed existing and potential projects pertaining to Critical National Infrastructure to identify aspects linked to cybersecurity that would be potential sources of collaboration. I fed in to CPC’s response to the governmental consultation on the cybersecurity of 5G Private Networks.

CPC was also engaged with ‘Homes for Healthy Aging’ that involves assistive technologies to help the aging population stay in their homes for longer. I advised on the cybersecurity elements of this project to help incorporate cybersecurity proactively in the early stages of their testbeds.

I produced a detailed report on Cybersecurity of Future Air Mobility and Digital Twins through a consultation with two leading SMEs in the digital twin space. This was a very exciting project with a 2 week turnaround (including the consultation with the SMEs). This report is due to be published on their website in the coming months.

And finally, my passion project which was suggested by the Urban Technology team was designing cybersecurity resources for local authorities and SMEs. This excited me as these segments are cybersecurity poor with limited resources and often struggle to get acquainted with the fundamentals of cybersecurity in a meaningful or practical way. I designed a game which explored privacy within data and two resources exploring the themes of Spear Phishing and Strong Passwords. The aim of this series is for the audiences to explore how cybersecurity is linked to the technologies they invent, implement and utilise for their clients. This would be a great resource page for start-ups and local authorities if it’s developed further.

Overall, I was surprised by how much of an impact remote working has if you’re starting a new position but I think I was very lucky to get an amazing line manager, a wonderful team (who made every effort to pronounce my name correctly and conquered it) and a really wonderful working environment that allowed me to feel connected despite never having visited their offices (which look really cool)!

Reflection on Writing and Presenting a Conference Paper

post by Laurence Cliffe (2017 cohort)

The Audio Mostly 2019 conference provided me with a relevant and convenient platform through which I could present an outline of my PhD research activity to date. Convenient, and also economical, as this year it was hosted by the University of Nottingham’s Department of Music, but also highly relevant, as many papers from this particular conference’s previous proceedings have presented themselves as being important points of reference though my PhD work to date. Having followed particular research projects of specific relevance to my PhD, Audio Mostly not only presents itself as an appropriate platform for the publication of my work, but also as springboard for other publishing possibilities. This is made evident by many projects being initially presented at Audio Mostly, and then having additional work included within them and then being published and presented as journal articles or at other conferences as the projects progress and evolve.

The published paper presented a synopsis of what I considered as the most pertinent points of my research so far. Rather than presenting specific research data from the results of studies, the paper presented the results of my practical lab-based activities in the development of a working technical prototype, and outlined my methodology and approach, and two proposed study environments, the latter being the subject of currently ongoing and future plans for the development of the project.

All of my supervision team had input on the paper, from proofreading to practical advice and providing some written introductory content. Another academic, involved in one of the proposed studies, also provided some written content specifically relating to the introduction of this specific part of the project. I wrote an initial draft and then sent it to the relevant parties with a specific request on how I thought they may be able to contribute and help with its authorship.

One comment from a particular reviewer proved very useful and centered around the use and definition of a specific acronym. This prompted me to investigate the issue further and, as such, has enabled me to focus my research to a much greater extent and to communicate more effectively the subject of my research to others. It has also provided a much clearer definition of the place of my research within its specific sphere of study.

As well as presenting the paper, I also had the opportunity to demonstrate my technical prototype at the conference. Having been scheduled to present my paper before my demo gave me the perfect opportunity to engage with people whilst demonstrating, answering questions, and continuing discussions as a result of my presentation, and also answering some of these questions practically via the technical demonstration. Generally, the feedback was complimentary and demonstrated an interest in my work, especially in relation to its study through practical application.

Authors whose papers were successfully accepted to the conference have since been invited to contribute to a special edition journal on audio interactivity and to build on the papers initially presented. This seems like a logical next step, as I have since completed some of the proposed studies, and therefore can include the findings and conclusions from these studies in the paper, with a view to formulating a journal article, and providing me with an opportunity to publish the subsequent stage of my PhD research.

On reflection, there are two particular challenges that sprint to mind as a result of this publication and presentation process. The first was the practical task of synthesising a 7000-word paper into a 20-minute presentation. What content to include? What content to leave for discussion? How much detail do I need to include on specific points to get the points across? These were all questions I was asking myself. Another challenge was the problem of presenting ‘live’ research. By the time I actually presented, my research had moved on. I’d changed some of the technology within the prototype and another study opportunity had presented itself which I hadn’t included in my future work section. This led to a bit of back peddling during the presentation, but I did have the opportunity to discuss these points with individuals during my demonstration.

Link to my paper.

Originally posted on Laurence’s blog.