Embedding e-Science

Embedding e-Science Applications: Designing and Managing for Usability

The UK e-Science programme has enabled large scale, multidisciplinary research to be carried out across academic and commercial institutions, and across institutional and national boundaries. The outputs of these projects are generally new technological capabilities or methodologies whose uptake often requires some transformation in work practices. The complexity of these projects has given rise to a new set of challenges in project management and design for usability.

Our project examines communication and collaboration practices in e-science in the context of growing scale, increasing complexity and distributed nature of e-science teams. We seek to understand the critical challenges and opportunities to the uptake of new e-Science technologies and the newly emerging work practices related to the use of these technologies. Our project has two components. The first one comprises ethnographies of several e-science projects (IB, OMII, CARMEN,and PRAGMA) focusing on management and organisational practices that may impact on designing for usability. This is conducted by Dr Dimtrina Spencer, a social anthropologist. The second component of the project is a doctoral project conducted by Grace de la Flor who aims to identify, develop and evaluate existing and novel design techniques. The rest of the members on our interdisciplinary team, Dr Marina Jirotka, Sharon Lloyd, Professor Anne Trefethen, Dr Andrew Warr, Dr Ralph Shroeder, Mustafizur Rahman and Professor Monica Shafarel contribute with further case studies, expertise and insights from their extensive experience in e-science or related fields.