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Themes: Assistive & Accessible Technology

Professor Catherine Holloway recognised by UCL for globally leading role in building the disability innovation movement

Dr Cathy Holloway has been promoted to Professor of Interaction Design & Innovation by UCL’s Faculty of Engineering, recognizing her world-leading status as an expert, teacher and researcher, it was announced this week.

Cathy is Co-founder & Academic Director of GDI Hub and only joined UCL in 2006 as a PhD student, progressing fast through the ranks to become a lecturer in Accessibility Engineering in 2012 before joining the UCL Interaction Centre in 2016.

Cathy’s promotion reflects the dedication, commitment and hard work she has put in since starting GDI Hub, to make it a global success. In the four years since GDI launched at the Rio 2016 Paralympic Games, Cathy has:

  • Established the world’s first MSc in Disability Design and Innovation, delivered by UCL, Loughborough University London and the University of the Arts London. The MSc is interdisciplinary bringing new ideas and thinking together; already the first cohort of students are winning awards
  • Developed a pioneering Disability Interaction framework designed to forward co-design and bring inclusive innovations to market which enable disabled people to live in a fairer society.
  • Been a Principle Investigator on the UK Aid funded AT2030 programme for Assistive Technology, which has already reached half a million people directly and almost two million people indirectly with access to life-changing assistive tech.

Cathy’s research portfolio includes the development of new prosthetics for both the UK and lower-income countries; the use of the Internet of Things to automate the creation of city-level accessibility maps for wheelchair users in Delhi and London; and the development of inclusive innovation methods.

All of Cathy’s work has an ethos of co-development. She has published over 80 peer-reviewed papers and is a member of the Expert Advisory Group for the World Health Organization WHO’s Word Report on Assistive Technology and sits on the EPSRC, Healthcare Technologies SAT where she is also the Big Ideas Champion.

Cathy did not come from a background where academia was a natural route and overcame several barriers to get where she is today. She continues to put the needs of GDI Hub and the global movement for disability innovation before her personal advancement and is a real example of a leader-led by their values and keen to enable participation from the least often heard.

Congratulations Cathy, from everyone at GDI Hub!