AI at Nottingham


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Helena Webb

Transitional Assistant Professor, Faculty of Science



I studied Social and Political Sciences for my undergraduate degree (University of Cambridge) and my PhD (University of Nottingham) explored interactions between practitioners and patients in healthcare consultations. During these studies I gained a thorough grounding in substantive and conceptual issues connected to the social, legal, ethical and cultural implications of science, medicine and technology, and developed my own research interests in the conduct of granular analysis to observe the ongoing accomplishment of social order.

My first post-doc position was in the Work, Interaction and Technology research centre (WIT) at King's College London (KCL). WIT is an international centre of excellence in video-based field studies and in particular focuses on the ways in which artefacts, tools and technologies feature in workplace conduct and collaboration. Whilst at WIT I worked on a number of research projects on topics including optometry, obesity and robotic surgery.

In 2014 I joined the Department of Computer Science at the University of Oxford. I was based in the Human Centred Computing (HCC) theme and worked as a Senior Researcher on a number of interdisciplinary projects that combined social science and computer science approaches. These included: Digital Wildfire on the spread of harmful content on social media; UnBias on the user experience of algorithm driven online platforms; ReEnTrust on mechanisms to foster user trust in algorithmic processes; RoboTIPS on developing responsible robotics for the digital economy; and Lab Hack, a novel open science initiative to address resource scarcity in STEM in the global south. Whilst working at Oxford I also became involved in various teaching activities in the Department of Computer Science. I co-convened modules on Requirements, Computers in Society, and Ethics and Responsible Innovation. I also tutored undergraduate and postgraduate student projects and dissertations, and co supervised four doctoral students in the Department.

I joined the University of Nottingham in August 2021. I will be involved in research projects that explore the social impacts of innovation, and that seek to identify effective and novel means to embed ethics and responsibility into processes of technological design, development and implementation. I will also take part in teaching in the School of Computer Science.

Expertise Summary

I am an experienced socio-technical researcher with expertise across responsible research and innovation (RRI), human-computer interaction (HCI), science and technology studies, and the sociology of technology. I am interested in the ways in which users interact with technologies in different kinds of setting and how social action both shapes and is shaped by innovation. The projects I work on typically seek to identify mechanisms for the improved design, responsible development and effective regulation of technologies. I specialise in the application of qualitative research methods and am also very interested in the ways in which detailed, granular analysis can be combined with larger scale computational work.

I have a multidisciplinary publication record (e.g., ACM CHI, TOIS, CSCW, Social Media and Society, Discourse and Communication) and have been awarded funding from ESRC, EPSRC, the University of Oxford, and the Foundation for the Sociology of Health and Illness.

Teaching Summary

At UoN I have co-convened COMP2012 Software Specification and COMP3013 Software Quality Assurance.

I also supervise students (UG and MSc dissertation and PhD) undertaking various socio-technical projects.

I teach Responsible Research and Innovation within the Horizon CDT and elsewhere.

I am a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy

Research Summary

Current projects include:

Trustworthy and Useful Tools for Mobile Phone Extraction

EFRESH - Effective, Responsible and Safe Research on Online Communities

Trends and Challenges for the moderation of end to end encrypted communication in Zimbabwe (2022 to 2023)

HoRRIzon/TAS RRI 1 and 2 (2022 to 2023)

Recent Publications

  • ORITSETIMEYIN ARUEYINGHO, DAMIETE ONYEMA LAWRENCE and HELENA WEBB, 2024. Navigating Afrocentric Human-Computer Interaction Research: A Scoping Review and Proposition of Afro-Postmodernism for Decolonial Praxis. In: Extended Abstracts of the CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI EA '24). Association for Computing Machinery, New York, NY, USA, Article 560,.
  • INGLESANT, P, WEBB, H, TEN HOLTER, C, JIROTKA, M and PATEL, M, 2023. The Responsible Innovation of Disruptive Technologies. In: HOUSLEY, W, EDWARDS, A, BENEITO-MOTAGUT, R and FITZGERALD, R, eds., The Sage Handbook of Digital Society Sage.
  • ALBURY, CHARLOTTE, TREMBLETT, MADELEINE, WEBB, HELENA, BEGH, RACHNA, BARNES, REBECCA, LAWRENCE, WENDY, WALMSLEY, NICHOLA, GROENEWALD, DEBORAH, CAUNTER, MARISE and PATEL, DIPTI, 2023. Clinician-patient communication about emergency aerial medical evacuation in case of infectious disease JOURNAL OF TRAVEL MEDICINE.
  • BENFORD, STEVE, HAZZARD, ADRIAN, VEAR, CRAIG, WEBB, HELENA, CHAMBERLAIN, ALAN, GREENHALGH, CHRIS, RAMCHURN, RICHARD and MARSHALL, JOE, 2023. Five Provocations for a More Creative TAS In: Proceedings of the First International Symposium on Trustworthy Autonomous Systems.

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The University of Nottingham
University Park
Nottingham, NG7 2RD

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