Margot Brereton researches the collaborative design of new humanitarian technologies and their interfaces. She co-designs with real user communities in selected challenging contexts, focused on underrepresented groups: older people, people with intellectual disabilities, endangered species, and indigenous communities. Prototypes aiming to meet community aspirations are deployed within communities over significant periods of time (6 months to years) and evolved in response to characteristics of use (or non-use) and growth or non-growth of participation.

Margot’s approach recognizes that technologies are always embedded within networks of relations and her research seeks to understand those relations and how relations and technologies co-evolve. She focuses on emerging technologies such as tangibles, AI, IoT etc., leading to innovative designs, methods, and theories, with varying degrees of success, uptake, failure and learning. Her group’s co-designs include: the messaging kettle which connects older adults in a delightful way through the routine of boiling the kettle; the ambient birdhouse which helps people to discover nature; and bilingual community digital noticeboards supporting endangered languages.

Margot is Professor of Engineering and Interaction Design at Queensland University of Technology. She is Joint Editor in Chief of the journal, CoDesign (Taylor & Francis). She is a Chief Investigator in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for the Digital Child. She holds a PhD in Mechanical Engineering Design from Stanford University, a Masters in Technology Policy from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a BSc.Eng(Hons) from University of Bristol, UK.

Syed Ishtiaque Ahmed is an Associate Professor of Computer Science at the University of Toronto and the founding director of the ‘’Third Space” research group. In the last fifteen years, he has been studying the “voices” of marginalized communities in the design and development of technologies. He studied and developed successful computing technologies with various marginalized communities in Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Canada, USA, Turkey, and Ecuador. He received the International Fulbright Science and Technology Fellowship in 2011, the Intel Science and Technology Fellowship in 2014, the Fulbright Centennial Fellowship in 2019, the Schwartz Reisman Fellowship in 2021, the Massey Fellowship in 2021, and the Connaught Scholarship in 2023. He also won the Microsoft AI & Society Fellowship in 2024, the Google Inclusion Research Award in 2023, and the Meta (Facebook) Faculty Research Award in 2021. He has published more than 100 peer-reviewed research articles and has received multiple best paper awards in top computer science venues.

His research has received generous funding support from all three branches of Canadian tri-council research (NSERC, CIHR, SSHRC), USA’s NSF and NIH, the ICT Ministry of Bangladesh, and various national international organizations and industry partners, including Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Intel, Samsung, the World Bank, UNICEF, and UNDP, among others. Ahmed has been named the “Future Leader” by the Computing Research Association in 2024.


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