Professor Annalu Waller, Chair of Human Communication Technologies at the University of Dundee, has been awarded an OBE for her services to people with complex communication needs. Professor Waller has been based in Computing at the University since 1989 and has helped established Dundee’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centres for research into augmentative and alternative communication technologies for people with severe communication difficulties. She works closely with children and adults with disabilities, involving service users in the development of innovative technologies.
“I am delighted to receive this Honour, which I feel really puts complex communication needs on the map,” said Professor Waller. “The reason I came to Dundee in 1984 to do my PhD was that the University was at the forefront of developing predictive communication aids for non-speaking people.
“We have remained a world leader in this field, principally I think because we have always involved people who need to use these aids in the development of new tools. We are working with the most severely disabled people in society and giving them a voice in reearch.”
Professor Waller’s work brings together various academic disciplines, including medicine and dentistry, the charitable sector (Capability Scotland), and many private sector company partners.
Annalu is an Honorary Chaplain within the University’s Chaplaincy team. Annalu trained part-time for the ordained ministry at the Theological Institute of the Scottish Episcopal Church (Anglican) in Edinburgh from September 2001 to June 2004, gaining a Diploma in Theology for Ministry. She was ordained Deacon in 2004 and was priested in 2005 – she served her curacy at St Margaret’s Church from 2004 to 2007. She served as a team priest on the ministry team of the linked charges of St John the Baptist, St Margaret and St Martin in Dundee until Epiphany 2014.
Dana O’Dwyer, Chief Executive of Capability Scotland, said, “Annalu is a truly inspirational figure who has made a tremendous contribution to Capability Scotland’s work over many years and made a real difference to the lives of disabled people. She has given our customers a voice through her research, as a Trustee she has helped guide the organisation for many years and as a disabled person who has achieved so much in her own life she is an inspiration to the children, young people and adults who use our services. This is a richly deserved honour for Annalu.”