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Alex Bowyer

CDT Student

Alex Bowyer

I believe that computers can do a much better job of making our lives easier.

Today we all have lives that are intertwined with the digital, but they are far too fragmented across different silos, platforms and providers, and if computers are really to live up to their potential, we need to build interfaces that reflect this, software with a better understanding of our data and of the scattered nature of our online existence. This is my research interest.

I have a Master’s degree in Computer Science from Sheffield University, as well as over 15 years’ commercial experience as a software developer in large companies (IBM, OpenText), startups and freelancing. Most recently as a staff researcher at Oxford University, I explored user behaviour and motivations at the Zooniverse, the Internet’s largest citizen science platform.

In my research I aim to draw on all these experiences, and the ideas of the Semantic Web, Personal Data Lockers and User-Centred Design, to explore and build systems to empower people to take control of their digital lives, and to allow communities to collaborate with fewer artificial barriers. You can read some of my ideas in my articles “Why Files Need to Die” and “We Deserve the Time and Space to be Human”.

Outside of work, I’m a dad of three, an improv player, movie geek, board gamer, half-marathon runner, writer and podcaster. I’m also a North-East native, born and living in Hexham.

Thesis Title

Understanding and Improving Human Data Relations

After the PhD

Senior UX Designer at BBC Newcastle


An Exploration of Usefulness in Smartphone Applications

onTrack: Mapping Trains Within an Urban Metro Network Through Crowdsensing

What does recent research in ethnicity and communication tell us about the theory and practice of communication in contemporary societies?

The Digital Civics CDT is made possible by EPSRC funding under the project code EP/L016176/1