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Dr Katarzyna Stawarz

Dr Katarzyna Stawarz


School of Computer Science and Informatics

+44 (0)29 2251 0037
2.59, Abacws, Senghennydd Road, Cathays, Cardiff, CF24 4AG
Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Lecturer (Assistant Professor) in Human-Computer Interaction (HCI). I am part of the Human-Centred Computing research group and Centre for Artificial Intelligence, Robotics and Human-Machine Systems. My teaching is linked to National Software Academy (NSA).

My research interests and expertise are in the use of ubiquitous technologies to support health and wellbeing. I am interested in how mobile devices, distributed systems, and smart materials could be used to support healthy habits by leveraging people’s environment and routines, and how technology could be used to support martial arts training and contact sports that require full body movement. In a broader sense, I'm interested in ethical design, the "dark side" of digital health and unintended consequences, and building inclusive digital health technologies.

Before moving to academia, I worked as a freelance UX Designer and Business Intelligence Analyst at a large media company. I also co-founded Knry, an innovation startup that worked together with firefighters to develop an interactive wearable safety system.


Education and Qualifications

  • 2017: PhD, Human-Computer Interaction, University College London, UK.
  • 2012: MSc, Human-Computer Interaction with Ergonomics, UCL, UK.
  • 2009: BSc, Computer Science, AHE, Łódź, Poland

Research and Industry Experience

  • 2020-present: Honorary Lecturer, University of Bristol
  • 2019-2020: Senior Research Associate, University of Bristol. Leading the co-design of interactive machine learning interfaces for diabetes self-management.
  • 2016-2019: Senior Research Associate, University of Bristol. Part of the INTERACT project. Leading user research, design, and testing of an integrated platform for delivering CBT for depression.
  • Jan-Mar’15: Visiting Researcher, Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexicali, Mexico.
  • Apr-Sep’13: UX Designer/Human Factors Specialist, Knry, London
  • 2006-2012: Business Intelligence Analyst, Haymarket Media, London

Honours and awards

  • Honorable Mention to our paper on co-designing ML solutions for Type 1 diabetes, awarded to top 5% of best papers submitted to CSCW (2021)
  • Honorable Mention for our paper on developing mental health intervetions, awarded to top 5% best papers submitted to the CHI conference (2020)
  • Exceptional Reivewer award, CHIPlay conference (2015, 2016, 2017)
  • Nominated for the UCL Student Choice Teaching Awards (2015)
  • Ulf Aberg Award for the best postgraduate student project in Ergonomics and Human Factors, Chartered Institute of Human Factors and Ergonomics (2013)
  • Joint first prize for the best research project, Orange HCI-E MSc Project Prize 2011/12 (2012)
  • Semi-finalist, CHI 2012 Student Design Competition: “Silka: A Domestic Technology to Mediate the Threshold between Connection and Solitude” (2012)
  • Finalist, Institute of Human Factors and Ergonomics, Student Conference 2011: Mobile App Competition (2011)

Professional memberships

  • Association for Computing Machinery (ACM)
  • ACM Special Interest Group on Computer-Human Interaction (SIGCHI)
  • Chartered Institute of Human Factors and Ergonomics (CIHFE)

Speaking engagements

Invited Talks and Seminars

  • Nov 2021: Active at home: Supporting health and wellbeing with ubiquitous technologies. Invited seminar. Human-Computer Interaction Group. University of York. Remote presentation.
  • Aug 2021: Involving end-users in the development of digital health interventions. Opening plenary at the workshop on Medical Informatics for Health and Wellbeing (Taller de Informática Médica para la Salud y Bienestar), ENC 2021, Morelia, Michoacán, Mexico. Remote presentation.
  • Nov 2020: Integrating the Digital and the Traditional to Deliver Therapy for Depression: User-Centred Design Study. UCL Interaction Centre Seminar. Remote presentation.
  • Jun 2018: Designing a platform for delivering integrated therapy for depression. Challenges and… more challenges. Active Minds Workshop. Queen Elizabeth Teaching and Learning Centre, Glasgow.
  • Dec 2017: Reviewing health and wellbeing apps: approaches and challenges. 1st International App Evaluation Workshop. UCL, London.
  • Nov 2017: Designing for obsolescence: How to support the formation of healthy habits with technology. HCI seminar. Birmingham University, Birmingham.
  • Oct 2017: Designing for obsolescence: How to support the formation of healthy habits with technology. HCI seminar. University College Dublin. Ireland.
  • Apr 2017: Designing adherence apps that support everyday remembering, Joint Medicines Use & Safety and Community Health Services Meeting, NHS Specialist Pharmacy Service, Leeds.
  • Jul 2016: Supporting medication adherence by facilitating the formation of medication habits, UCL Behaviour Change Clinic with Department of Health Behavioural Insight Team, London.
  • Sep 2015: Forming healthy habits and leaving the app behind, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, London.
  • Sep 2015: Supporting medication adherence with smartphone apps, UCL School of Pharmacy, London.
  • Jun 2015: Health apps: easy to build, hard to do right, Cambridge Usability, Microsoft Research, Cambridge.
  • May 2015: UX and Theatre. Digital Shoreditch. London. Co-presented with Calliope Georgousi.
  • Dec 2014: Designing smartphone apps that support habit formation, UCL Centre for Behaviour Change, London.
  • Sep 2014: Evaluating smartphone apps, UCL eHealth Unit, London.
  • Aug 2014: “Did you take your Pill after breakfast?” How smartphone apps can support the creation of medication-taking habits, Health Informatics Seminar, BCS Scotland & University of Edinburgh.
  • Apr 2014: Medication reminder apps: The Bad and The Ugly, UX Brighton - The Health Check, Brighton.

Public Engagement and Outreach

  • May 2019: The Dark Side of Digital Health. Future of Healthcare event during the Pint of Science festival. Bristol.
  • Oct 2018: Ethical web design. Panel discussion organised by Tech For Good Live` at Bath Digital Festival. Bath.
  • May 2018: Wearable technology and Digital Health. #WomenInSTEM conference. Redmaids’ High School for girls, Bristol. Co-presented with Ian Craddock.
  • Nov 2015: Designing Health Apps, popular press article for .NET Magazine.
  • Nov 2014: Habit Cookbook: Helping people develop good work habits, Focus On The Positive public engagement event, UCL and U3A.
  • Feb 2014: Safer medical devices and number magic for children, Brighton Science Festival, Brighton.
  • Jul 2013: Errors during medicine use, public engagement workshop with older adults organised by UCL School of Pharmacy, London.

Committees and reviewing

Organisation of Scientific Meetings

  • 2019/2020: Data Chair, CHI 2020 conference; managing the submission process; handled 4000+ submissions; Honolulu, USA [conference cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic]
  • 2018/2019: Assistant to Technical Programme Chairs, CHI 2019 conference; duties included organising the conference program and scheduling 724 papers into 23 parallel session tracks; about 3000 attendees; Glasgow, UK
  • 2011 - 2013: Co-organiser of UXCampLondon, an “unconference” for UX Designers

Reviewing Activities

  • Associate Editor, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies (2021)
  • Grant Reviewer, Medical Research Council (2019)
  • Associate Chair for DIS 2019, 2021 conference
  • Associate Chair for CHI 2017 Late-Breaking Work track
  • Since 2014: Paper reviews for journals (e.g. Journal of Internet Medical Research, International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, BMC Psychology
  • Since 2013: Paper reviews for conference proceedings (e.g. CHI, Interact, CHI Play, DIS, Pervasive Health, Mobile HCI, IMWUT, Digital Health)










Research interests

My research interests include human-computer interaction, ubiquitous computing and designing interactive systems to support health and wellbeing. My work is grounded in psychology research, including theories of behaviour change and habit formation, and how these theories can be applied in practice using emerging technologies (mobile devices, wearable devices, IoT etc.). I specialise in using qualitative research methods, including interviews, co-design workshops and role-play sessions.

Behaviour change and healthy habits
I am interested in how mobile devices, distributed systems, and smart materials could be used to support healthy habits by leveraging people’s environment and routines. This includes encouraging people to move and exercise more, taking longer screen breaks, etc.

Digital health
I am interested in exploring how emerging technologies could be used to support prevention, treatment and rehabilitation, as well as self-management. My prior work includes projects related to depression, diabetes and medication adherence.

Sport and exercise
I am interested in how how technology could be used to support martial arts training and other physical activities as well as contact sports that require full body movement, mainly in the context of self-directed training.

Ethical design
I am also interested in ethical design, the "dark side" of digital health (mainly behaviour change and self-tracking technologies) and unintended consequences of using emerging technologies. This is also related to inclusive design, accessibility and human factors.

Selection of current and past projects

  • GamEngage (PI: Feng Mao) – Co-developing opportunities of serious games in stakeholder engagement for climate change adaptation in the new normal. The project is a collaboration between researchers from the School of Earth Sciences and Computer Science & Informatics at University of Cardiff.
  • Wearables for rehabilitation (PI; £26,129 awarded by GCRF via Cardiff University) – developing affordable wearables for upper limb function rehabilitation in Bangladesh. The project is a collaboration with researchers from North South Univeristy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • GAMO Exercise Snacking (PI; funded by EPSRC via GetAMoveOn Network+) – exploring how everyday objects (such as cushions or mats) embedded with sensors could support and encourage short bursts of exercise at home amongst pre-frail older adults. The project is a collaboration with researchers from University of Bath, Robert Gordon University Aberdeen and Ulster University.
  • GAMO EMA (PI: Dr Cindy Forbes, University of Hull) – using Ecological Momentary Assessments (EMAs) to understand the impact of wearable technology on physical activity initiation and habit formation among people living beyond cancer. The project is a collaboration with researchers from University of Hull, University of Bath and Northumbria University.
  • PunchLearn (PI; University of Bristol funding for summer interns) – a short collaborative project with Dr Asier Marzo (Universidad Pública de Navarra Pamplona, Spain) and Juan Quintero Ovalle (summer intern) on testing the feasibility of punch recognition using inertial sensors and a microphone.
  • ML4Diabetes (PI: Dr Aisling O’Kane, University of Bristol) – exploring how co-design could be used to develop machine learning algorithms for supporting Type 1 diabetes decision-making.
  • INTERACT (PI: Prof Nicola Wiles and Dr David Kessler, University of Bristol) – the development and evolution for an online platform for developing an integrated treatment for depression that involves face-to-face and remote contact with the therapist, as well as interactive worksheets and other resources the patients can access in their own time between therapy sessions.
  • Medications and older adults (PI: Dr Marcela Rodríguez, Universidad Autónoma Baja California, Mexico) – exploring the strategies and cues older adults use to remember their medications and reasons for their forgetfulness.


Current students:

As primary supervisor:

  • Ms Sunbul Muneeb Ahmad – researching the use of social robots in preventing intentional medicaion non-adherence amongst older adults

As co-supervisor:

  • Ms Michelle Bufton

Supervision opportunities:

Overall, I am interested in supervising PhD students in the areas of:

  • Technology for behaivour change and healthy habits
  • Digital health
  • Technology for sport and exercise
  • Ethical design

Please see my Research section for more details.

Current supervision

Sunbul Ahmad

Research student