david1I am an Associate Professor in Human Computer Interaction with the School of Computer Science at University College Dublin and a founding member of the HCI@UCD group. HCI@UCD is an interdisciplinary research group bringing together computer scientists, designers, social and cognitive scientists. Our core research interests include digital health technologies, human agency and self efficacy, and ethical aspects of design for HCI. We publish regularly in leading journals and conferences, including ACM CHI, and seek to develop technologies that have positive impact on society.

I have had the good fortune to lead several large-scale, multi-institutional, and multinational research projects. I am currently a co-PI and UCD Site Director for the SFI Research Centre for Training in Digitally Enhanced Reality (d-real). From 2016 to 2021 I was the Project Coordinator and Lead-PI of the EU funded TEAM ITN, a PhD training network in digital mental health. My work has been supported through over €7 million in competitively won personal research funding, including over €5 million as PI. My research has also supported two successful spin-out companies.

Prior to joining UCD I was a Senior Lecturer at the University of Bristol and Marie Curie post-doctoral ResearchFellow at the University of Cambridge. I have led projects and research themes in many large-scale projects, funded by bodies including the SFI (Ireland), EPSRC, MRC and NIHR (UK), and EU H2020 and FP7. My research page provides further details of current and past research projects and leadership roles.

My current research focuses on two main areas:

  • Digital Health Technologies: I have active projects investigating online help-seeking, games and mobile devices, and blended CBT to prevent and treat mental health difficulties. Outside of the mental health space, I have projects focusing on technology to support cardiovascular disease and human-data interaction in health settings.
  • User Agency and Autonomy: I have a long standing interest in applying implicit metrics – derived from recent research in Cognitive and Clinical Neuroscience – to explore peoples’ experience of agency when interacting with new technologies, including intelligent, on-body and sensing interfaces. More recently this focus has broadened to address questions of human agency and autonomy in the context of human-AI collaborative systems.

Prospective PhD Students:

If you are interested in pursuing a PhD at University College Dublin in an area related to my research interests please contact me to discuss projects and funding possibilities.

Current PhD and Post-doc Vacancies:

I am not currently recruiting for any specific positions, but welcome conversations with potential PhD students. For details please see my vacancies page.

Sample projects:   (Full list here)

Online help-seeking for Mental Health
Seeking help is an important step in addressing mental health difficulties. This project is exploring theoretical foundations and provides guidelines for the design on online help-seeking technologies. Evidence suggests that positive help-seeking experiences contribute to an increased likelihood of future help-seeking and improved mental health outcomes.
TEAM was a 4 year Innovation Training Network (ITN), funded by EU Horizon 2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions. It provided PhD training in Digital Mental Health. I coordinated the overall network, which focused on developing new technologies to support the assessment, prevention and treatment of mental health difficulties in young people.
User Autonomy and the Sense of Agency
This project applies implicit metrics – derived from recent research in Cognitive Neuroscience – to explore people’s experience of agency when interacting with new technologies, such as on-body and intelligent interfaces.