June 2009 HITLab Australia Director Designate

I'm very excited to announce that I am going to be the inaugural director of the Human Interface Technology Laboratory Australia (HIT Lab AU) and an Associate Professor in the School of Computing and Information Systems at the University of Tasmania. The HITLab consists of three international research laboratories. The first is now a leading research lab formed in the University of Washington USA over 20 years ago and the second laboratory was started in New Zealand in 2002. This is the third research lab.

Since working at MERL (Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories) Cambridge Massachusetts USA in '01/'02 it's been my long-term ambition to develop and lead a research lab such as this. The guidance I received from Joe Marks, then director of MERL, made me realise his was the type of job I would one day aspire to. He showed me the positive influence, excitement and vision a director can offer a lab and the type of creative environment that one can build. I hope to build just such an environment in the HITLab Australia for undergraduates, postgraduates, postdocts, researchers, collaborators and all our industry partners.

The process of applying for and getting this role is a long one and I want to thank Mark Billinghurst, the director of the HITLab New Zealand for first pointing me at this role and then giving me great feedback before and after I was made the offer. Our lab will be collaborating closely with Mark and the HITLab New Zealand over the next few years. My involvement in a number of major SFI funded activities here in Ireland has helped lay the ground work for my move into this role. As such, I want to thank all my colleagues in UCD and all my colleagues in Lero - The Irish Software Engineering Research Centre (SFI CSET), CLARITY - the centre for Sensor Web technologies (SFI CSET) and Clique the research cluster for network analysis and visualization (SFI SRC) for their collaborations over the past 5 years. The HITLab Australia will be developing linkages to some of these and other international groups over the coming years.

In the international hunt to find someone to fill this post the Vice-Chancellor Professor Daryl Le Grew said: "I am looking for the inaugural Director to provide strategic leadership of the HIT Lab AU and its inter-disciplinary undergraduate and postgraduate courses and research higher degree programs. The Director will oversee exciting, cross-disciplinary collaboration in teaching and research activities with other UTAS schools and faculties; the development of consulting activities and commercial projects with business and industry; and the establishment of national and international partnerships with our partners the HIT Labs US and NZ, the Virtual Worlds Consortium, and other organisations.

The inaugural Director will have an exciting and unprecedented opportunity to shape and guide the HITLab AU as a major research and teaching centre on the national and international stage."

I am really looking forward to this challenge over the coming years and the opportunity to connect and collaborate with colleagues in Tasmania and across Australia while developing new and innovative undergraduate and postgraduate programs within the lab. My aim is to make this a major research and teaching centre on the national and international stage.

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