The Requirements and Foundations Group

Bridging the gap between the complexity of the real world and that of software systems

Software systems form an important part of all aspects of modern living: economy, leisure and entertainment, education, research, work and organisation. Each one of these systems interconnects the rich complexity of real world practices, with relatively more abstract and formal software systems also characterised by intricacy and complexity. The main challenge faced by Requirements Engineering today is to bridge the gap between the complexity of the real world and that of software systems.

A failure to address this challenge may lead to highly sophisticated and well executed software systems which are either difficult to use or  do not meet the needs of users. They may also have unforeseen and, in some cases, grave consequences when implemented in real human and social situations. Successfully meeting such a challenge results in systems design attuned to the environment in which the system is to be used, and to the evolving needs of users.

The research of the Requirements and Foundations Group aims to contribute to successful systems design by:

  • Providing better understanding of socio-technical interactions through empirical and conceptual studies
  • Developing tools, methodologies and techniques for gathering, analyzing and specifying system requirements;
  • Developing capability in undertaking embedded evaluations;
  • Improving the process of project management and design.

Our approach is interdisciplinary, combining social science, anthropology, philosophy, science and technology studies, human computer interaction, software engineering and computer science.


  • Usability and embedding applications
  • Ethics
  • Law
  • Organisations
  • Institutions
  • Knowledge management
  • Epistemology
  • Work practices