addition, we are part of the new Intel Collaborative Research
Institute (ICRI) for Sustainable and Connected Cities ( www.cit-ies.io). We have been moving our research more into the wild
and have been using our building as a test bed. Our projects
and installations in the building change frequently, so visitors
coming to our lab can always expect to see something different. We also have access to the new Institute of Making that is
a cross-disciplinary research club for those interested in “the
made world: from makers of molecules to makers of buildings,
synthetic skin to spacecraft, soup to diamonds, socks to cities.”
How many people are in the lab, and what is the mix of backgrounds and roles? There are more than 40 people in our
lab, and it is continuing to grow— 11 faculty, 12 post-doc and
research associates/fellows, and around 20 Ph.D. research
students. People in our lab come from a wide variety of backgrounds, including psychology, computer science, design,
social sciences, engineering, ergonomics, media, and industry.
Each year, UCLIC also houses about 50 master’s students.
Briefly describe a day in the life of your lab. Every day is different. Some days we are very loud and busy, with everybody
working toward a deadline (the recent CHI papers submission
saw a record number of us frantically submitting papers just
before the 1 a.m. deadline, local time); other days are considerably quieter. Being in the heart of London, we get many visitors
passing through our lab, which is fantastic for networking at
work and afterward. Right now we have visiting researchers
from Korea, Mexico, and Europe. We also get visitors from North
America, Japan, Australia, and Europe who drop in on their
way to conferences in other parts of the world. We try to give
them an opportunity to present their work and be subjected to
UCLIC’s special style of feedback and audience participation.
What is the one feature of your lab you would not do without? The heart of our lab is the “fishbowl.” It is a social space
located in our main open-plan office, surrounded by glass,
enabling people to see both in and out. It is a hive of activity,
and where all the gossip, lab photos, etc. can be found. Members
of the lab, staff and students alike, congregate for lunch, brown-bag meetings, and other discussions. We also have a tradition of
bringing cakes in for birthdays and sweets/candy from our trips
abroad. As the lab grows, we’re eating a lot more cake, and more
unusual and exotic sweets are appearing every week!
What is the one feature of your lab that you want and don’t
have? While we make the most of our limited space and the
facilities at hand, we would love to have more space in which
to spread out—for example, a design studio, more labs to run
studies in, and more social spaces to hang out in. But who
doesn’t want more space?
Describe how people interact in your lab. One great thing
about UCLIC is that we talk to each other a lot and regularly
socialize as a group. Throughout the year you will see Ph.D.
students, postdocs, and professors eating lunch together in
the fishbowl and going out after work to have a drink or a bite
to eat in one of the many local pubs, restaurants, or bars. Our
main office is open plan, so we see a lot of each other throughout the day and share a fair amount of banter. This can sometimes feel too noisy when writing, concentrating on analysis
of data, or finding that last bug in a piece of code, but the buzz
and vibe are viewed as a positive thing that helps foster the
very friendly atmosphere in our lab.
What is the one thing you see as most important about what
you do here? Our interdisciplinary research is core to who
we are. We have lots of collaborations with researchers in
other UCL departments, U.K. and worldwide universities, and
industry. Our research feeds directly into our teaching. We
are also very proud of our strong links with industry. It is not
surprising that our M.Sc. graduates are very much in demand,
as increasingly local, national, and international companies
understand the importance of UX for their businesses.
DOI: 10.1145/2533768 Copyright held by authors i n